Half Marathon Training
"The body does not want to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop, but you must be strong. It is the will to succeed."
- Jacqueline Gareau, Canada's 1980 Boston Marathon Champ
Goals for this Phase
Become more mentally comfortable with the longer workouts.
Stay committed to your routine of training, rest and good nutrition.
Prepare for completing your distance with mental positivity and event rehearsals.
Successfully complete one of your longest training sessions of the program.
might be feeling
At this point, hopefully you're feeling great… But you may feel strangely tired and emotional. It’s common to experience an unexpected roller coaster of emotions and it’s most often directly proportional to your level of fatigue.
If you can, try to get some extra sleep and make sure you include down time in your week. Reading or watching a movie with your family is just what you need right now.
You may have some aches, pains and general fatigue, but hopefully they are minor (mostly a 2-4 on your personal discomfort scale, and certainly no more than a 5 and not growing).
You should be enjoying your increased confidence and seeing yourself as a distance runner with that Half Marathon distance becoming a reality in your near future.
This is the most demanding training phase in your program. For many of you, the volume on your long run days will be the hardest and longest you have ever pushed yourself, both mentally and physically.
Stay comfortable and don’t worry about your pace. If you push too hard, it will be too demanding and you are less likely to stay with the program.
Stay positive – “I can do this!” It’s hard sometimes and some days are better than others, but again, if you’ve completed the sessions progressively, I know you can do it.
Here are a few tips to help you stay committed:
Run with friends.
It helps to have the camaraderie of a group… the loneliness of the long-distance runner is very true.
If you are on your own with this commitment, try to find a friend or family member to ride a bike with you so that you have company to chat and pass the time with out there together.
Your Event Day Dress Rehearsal
In this phase, you'll have 2 big volume weeks and will be reaching the maximum mileage you need to in preparation to safely – and comfortably – complete your Half Marathon distance.
In order to mentally prepare yourself for the big event, do a little research on the course that you will be completing by reviewing the website. Find out the number of water stations that will be set up along the route and the approximate distance between each station. It would be a good idea to chart out the water stations on your longest training run to mimic event day.
Charting out the water stations in advance will give you a focus while you run. Start with a plan to run from one water station to the next, with breaks at each station.
A good plan might be to drink water every 2km and/or a diluted electrolyte solution every 5-6km.
If you've entered an official event, their website should list what will be provided at the water stations – like water, sports drinks, and sometimes fuel replacement bars.
It's always good to find out ahead of time!
Take breaks when you need
Remember, this is fun! Our goal is about covering the distance, and if you find you need to walk sooner than the water station, no worries! Take breaks when you need them.
You are truly reaching a new level of fitness!
When you complete this phase, the physical work is done. All that's left is (very important) REST. You've put in a lot of work and should be feeling very good about how far you've come.
Take time to treat yourself!
Every workout you complete is a celebration. Indulge yourself after your successful long session each week! After all, every building week is a milestone.
Celebrate after your long run with a massage, glass of wine or piece of chocolate cake, and have some fun. Moderation is the key, but at the end of every training week, you deserve a celebration!
Final thoughts for Phase 2
How you feel when you run can ebb and flow – both daily and within the runs themselves. Sometimes you will feel great, and other times not so much. Stay strong in your mind. Physically you are working through the sessions, but it's the strength in your mind that is your driving force.
Think about your rhythm – your cadence – and focus on your arms to help you keep your turnover. Sometimes it helps to take a walk break or stretch break. Even a few minutes can make a big difference to settling your system and finding your rhythm again.
Avid runners, remember you can always go to magical 10-and-ones or take a walk break at any time if it might feel better. Remember too that the purpose of brisk intervals is to take you above your "talking pace" so that you'll be able to relax and be more efficient at your Half Marathon pace.
Some of you will take a very methodical approach, sticking to a set amount of running – 10, 15, 20 or 30-minute stints with a 1-minute walk break. What’s important is finding what works best for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to approach the finish line.
Smiles and enjoy!
Alright, let's get moving!
All done Phase 2?
When you've finished week 8, you're ready to move ahead into Phase 3!