My Next Crazy Idea: Run A Half Marathon

On Christmas Eve eve (Dec 23), I went to the gym to get a run in. I didn’t have a plan. When I hopped on the treadmill, I decided I wanted to do 3 miles. The first mile was great, but then I had to take a few breaks and I ultimately stopped at 2.5 miles.

Disappointed after 2.5 milesWhile this is better than sitting on the couch, I was disappointed in myself. While I was training for my first 5K, I met my daily training goal every single time. I thought about this when I got home, and realized that I didn’t really have any goals right now, except to run 3x per week. I need schedule that tells me what I need to do every single day. I had a few options; I could shoot for a faster 5K, train for a 10K….or go balls to the walls and train for a half marathon. The more I looked into it, half marathon training didn’t look too bad. The weekday runs seem totally doable, and the long run steps up no more than a mile at a time.

I looked into races, and there’s a half marathon in early May just a few miles from my house. The course looks fairly flat except for a big hill at mile 7. I figured wrapping up my long runs in May would allow me to re-evaluate my running goals for the summer, when I’ll have more on my plate (my ambitious back yard garden, resuming writing and an elective course for my dissertation, etc).

So, I’m going to run a half marathon. Along the way, I’ll run my first 10K. A friend pointed out that this would be excellent prep for me to join her Ragnar Relay Chicago team in June, and I might consider doing that as well.

I’m going to follow Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice program, with some slight modifications. I have more than 12 weeks to prepare, so I’m going to stretch out the second part of the training as I get used to long runs, and I’m going to add in an 11 miler so I get closer to the ultimate race distance. I’ve also flipped Sat/Sun on his schedule, as I prefer to do my long runs on Saturday. Here’s what my modified program looks like.

My Half Marathon Training Schedule

The 5K race is a local St. Patrick’s day race about 15 minutes from my house. It looks like just over 200 people ran it last year, so it will be a good race to actually run competitively (and hopefully PR). The 10K race is approximate. I will run that on one of the first three weekends in April, but I haven’t yet found one that fits into my schedule. I’ll be guaranteed to PR since it will be my first one :). For cross training I’ll probably do the bike or elliptical in the gym while it’s still snowy outside, and transition to hiking in our local state park or biking (once I get a bike) as the weather warms.

I’m currently running 3x per week, which usually works out to Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I’m going to spend January trying to get accustomed to the Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule. I’m currently capable of doing the distances in weeks 1 & 2, so I’ll just need to get my body used to not having a rest day after every run. This plan will kick off with my next 5K on Tuesday, December 31. The forecast just keeps getting more and more grim—right now the high is 8 degrees. But unless the race director advices otherwise, I’ll suit up and gut it out.

I’m looking forward to this journey and reaching this goal. I welcome any advice, but I can’t guarantee I’l take it ;).

And for those of you that celebrate…Merry Christmas. We’re off to see a movie, and then I’ll go for a run and cook some lasagna. Just a quiet day with me and my husband.

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