Want to know how to make yourself feel better about the fact that you spent 6 hours on a beautiful day indoors eating greasy, fried Italian-American (I can’t bear to call it actual Italian) food? Come home and make your half marathon training plan.

Is it odd that I had a smile plastered on my face the whole time I was making this? I’m assuming that’s because making the plan is the easy part. We’ll see where that smile is 5 weeks from now when tackling a 9 mile long run…

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Plan

Isn’t she purrty?

I have a few goals in mind for my 2nd half marathon.

1. Cut my running back to 3 days a week.

2. Incorporate legitimate speed work to make each run count.

3. Incorporate more cross training.

4. Continue with NROLFW (stage 2 update coming this week!)

5. Try and improve my current PR (1:57:16)

6. Have fun!

I used Hal Hidgon’s intermediate half marathon plan as a guide but made my own personal tweaks from there to come up with the final version. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I think I’ll be able to avoid running burn out by limiting it to 3 days a week and still be satisfied with 2 bike rides a week as cross training.

The two highlighted areas signify a wedding and an extended work trip that I know I’ll have to be flexible for. I tried to move around workouts for the wedding (the first highlighted area) and think I came up with something that works, but the work trip is tough to make any decisions on right now. That will be more of a play by ear kind of thing. I purposely put my mileage step back on that week so I don’t have to worry about running 10 miles on a hotel treadmill. I honestly don’t think there could be a worse kind of torture.

I’m excited to see how the speed work will (or won’t) pay off in the end. Thursday’s are obvious speed work days and Sunday’s “pace” means I’ll be running those at my half marathon goal pace. Honestly, my goal is anything faster than my current PR (8:56 pace) but, I’m going to aim to run those between an 8:20-8:25 pace. That would be around a 1:50 half marathon. I’m not sure I could maintain that pace for 13.1 but I know I can for 3-5 miles, so that’s my goal.

Regardless of the outcome on race day, I’m just excited to train and race again for the half distance. It’s really the perfect balance of a serious accomplishment without being completely overwhelming.

Bring it on!

How many days a week can you run before getting burned out?

How do you set goals for yourself in races?

Do you find it hard just to run for fun without a goal in mind?

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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20 Comments

  1. I am too training for a half and I am running 3 days a week with spinning class, elliptical, weight lifting, kick boxing all mixed in there so I don’t get burnt out. Do you find it hard to find somewhere to run when you have to do the over 5 mile runs? I know I can’t do more then 5 miles on the treadmill and when I have to do a loop twice I often don’t.

    1. I’m lucky enough to live 2 miles from a great bike/running path that is over 6 miles long one way so I take advantage of that A LOT! When that gets boring, I’ll map out a run on roads (trying to stay on lighter traffic ones) to keep it fresh and get some hills in there. The bike path is almost completely flat which is nice of course, but not great in preparing for the race! I can’t do runs over 5 miles on a treadmill either. It’s like a slow torturous death!

  2. 4 days a week running is my max! Any more and I get burned out. When I first started running, I would run at least 6 days a week. Even though they were short runs, it just made me so tired of running!

  3. I like Hal Higdons plans as well, but I always tweak them a little bit. I feel best running 4-5 days a week and I like to loosely follow a training plan. I’ll usually do all the long runs on Sunday but switch around the days of the shorter ones during the week depending on what’s convenient that week.

  4. I am running my second half this year too on Oct 2 the Smutty Nose Half Marathon at Hampton beach. Last year I did the baystate which is literally down the street from my house in 2:06:36. My goal is to get under 2 this year and I think I have a decent shot as I just finished a 10 miler a couple weeks ago in 1:34.
    I look forward to reading more of your blog good luck with the training