Couch to Half Marathon Plan

Editor’s note:
A lot of people are finding this post through search engines and finding it useful….I assume 🙂
Also if you want to ask me any questions about my training feel free to ask through the comments and I’ll answer them. This training got me to a 2:08:25 half marathon time May 30,2010

Here’s the original post:

Now that I’ve signed up for and paid for my second half marathon I figured I better have a plan. A plan to number one finish the race and number two do it with decent time. Coming up with this plan was easy as it’s the same plan I used for my first HM. I’m using Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon Schedule. The reason I’m going with this plan rather than someone else’s like Hal Higdon for example is the number of running days required. In previous training I found my knees don’t like more than 3 days running each week. Well Jeff Galloway’s schedule is just three days so it works great for me. Hal Higdon’s and others require 4-5 days so that’s a no go.

Each week I’ll be running 30-45 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday while my long runs will be on Sundays. Like last time I will be jumping into the training schedule late. I’ll be starting with week 5 which means another 6+ mile long run this Sunday. Once spring arrives I’m going to make either Tuesday or Thursday’s run into a speed workout. I could do them now on the streets but I like doing them on the local track. One thing I’ll have to remember is to bring water with me when my long runs start getting really long.

Today I took the day off from working out. Since I ran and played badminton yesterday I figured it was a wise move.

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8 Responses to Couch to Half Marathon Plan

  1. Pingback: Week 08.2010 Training Review « Aric In Training | Triathlon Leisure Knowledge

  2. Erin says:

    Sounds like you have a good plan going. Good luck!

  3. I hope to do this one day too.. don’t know if Im ready to sign up yet. Good for you.

  4. Kim says:

    Ok, I am almost ready to commit to a 1/2 marathon in Pgh, PA.. I need some advise… Daily routines, etc. I do best with a plan.. Can you help?

    • John says:

      When is your HM? I can help you the best I can. Let me know when it is and how far you run now. Then I’ll give you my opinion.

      P.S: Sorry for taking so long to respond!

  5. Heather Arnwine says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you could help me with these questions.
    I’ll be doing my first half marathon on April 3rd. This is my first week of training. I’m also doing the Jeff Galloway training. But I’m not really sure about my Tuesday Thursday runs. This Tuesday I did a tempo run on my treadmill with 3 x 5 minutes of ‘comfortably hard’ at 7 mph and my in between ‘easy jog’ at 4 mph. My normal pace is 6 mph. with a warm up and cool down of 10 minutes each My question is this: should I do tempo runs on both tues. And thurs? Or just one day a week? I normally do 3 miles without much stopping 3 or sometimes, 4 days a week. I’m thinking of doing 5 or maybe 6 miles on my long run on Sunday but I wonder if that’s too far to go for my first week, first ever long run. My long run will be outside each week. Plus, since my pace is about a 9 minute mile, how much should I slow down my speed on my long run? Sorry for so many questions, but I’m a rookie.

    • John says:

      Hello Heather,

      If you’re already running 3 miles with not much of a problem then I’d say you should be able to do 5 miles and possibly 6. Just make sure to listen to your body as you normally shouldn’t increase your mileage by more than 10%. I’d go for the 5 and if that seemed to go alright try for the 6th mile. You don’t want to injure yourself the first long run!

      If you make 6 miles then I’d consider yourself having completed week 5 of Jeff Galloway’s plan I linked to in my post. For the long runs I’d continue from there so next Sunday(Jan.30) you’d run 3 miles and the following you’d be going for 8 miles,etc.

      Since you’re HM is April 3 you won’t make it through his normal schedule. I found once I had completed my 10 mile long run I knew I could finish the HM. So you’ll want to play around with his schedule and get in at least a 10 mile run before race day. IF you were up to it you could skip one of the short long runs and do the next long run and continue with the normal schedule after that. That would leave you having completed a 12.5 mile run 2 weeks before your race which would leave you in great shape for the HM.

      As for your pace on the long runs. You should run it at least 1-1.5 minute/mile slower than your estimated race pace. I always find it hard to do but the main thing you’re trying to do is get your body use to the distance and not injure yourself in the process.

      Tempo runs- I honestly don’t know whether you can/can’t do more than one a week. I do know you definitely want to keep doing at least one/week as it will help you improve your overall pace. You also want to do it earlier in the week. This run is the toughest on your legs and you want to give them time to recover before your long run.

      I asked a well known triathlete/triathlon coach what order to do my runs and he said the way I already was…SPEED/Tuesday… HILLS/Thursday ….LONG RUN/Sunday. That’s because you have 5 days to recover from your speed run. I’ll admit sometimes those Speed/Tempo runs are tough at the start after a particularly long long run but it seems to work.

      I think that answers all your questions. I’d just suggest doing some hill work as well. It’ll help with your pace as well and strengthen your legs. And get you use to hills in case your race is hilly. You can do hill “repeats” where you run/sprint up a hill and jog down and repeat this a number of times or you can just pick a hilly route and run the route. Either way works. I personally run a hilly route 6-10 miles depending on what race I’m training for.

      If you have any more questions let me know. What HM are you doing?


  6. Sarah says:

    Hi, i am a healthy 17 year old and im doing the half marathon in march.
    this is my first year but i am a regular 3/4 mile runner, and run longer on the weekends.
    i am doing 9:30/10 minute miles, and im aiming to get it down to 9 for the half marathon.
    i am continuing to run short 3/4 mile runs in the week (with rest) and have no idea how far to run on the weekend, what do you reccomend?

    (and do you have any other diet/exercise tips which will help?)

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