Ok, so finding the perfect half-marathon training program is a little harder than it seems. Last week I registered for my first ever half-marathon and it without a doubt terrifies me. However, according to most of my research, if you can already easily run 4 miles, in less than 14 weeks you can build up to a half-marathon- I have four months.
When looking for any good training program it’s important to stay realistic. For example, if you have a full-time job and a fluctuating schedule like myself, running every day is probably not a very realistic goal. Most of the training programs I found have you running three or four days a week with strengthening exercises and rest days in between.
After asking around and posing the question in the Sub-30 Club on Facebook, I found a good training program for me. I chose to use the Runner’s World Smart Coach (free version). This training plan allows you to insert your information- including gender, miles logged per week and your latest race time- to develop a specialized plan to fit your schedule. This is important for me because I am a full-time reporter so sometimes I have to cover late meetings and can’t fit in my run, but the smart coach allows you to adjust the plan at any time.
Also, the smart coach, like many other half-marathon training program, has you run an easy run, a “tempo” run (speedwork) and a long run each week. As your training continues it adds in an extra easy run to help you build endurance to last those 13.1 miles.
This program might not be for everyone so some other suggestions I received were:
- Runmeter GPS Running Stopwatch– this app for iPhones is not only a GPS stopwatch to help you track your runs but it has good training programs for a 5K, 10K or Half-Marathon
- Amateur Endurance Half-Marathon training program– This 16-week program is great because it also tells you what to do for strength training on the days you’re not running.
- Hal Higdon’s Half-Marathon training– This can be personalized based on your running experience level which is great for those who are just starting out or for those who are looking to get a better time.
- If these don’t work for you, it’s always good to check Runner’s World, Livestrong, or Active.com to see what they offer for programs.