8 Week Half-Marathon Training

My husband approached me in April about signing up for a half marathon. We had already had plans of visiting our families in June and the Utah Valley Half Marathon was happening on June 10. I had a few thoughts run through my head. First, are you *bleeping* crazy? Second, Maybe this would actually get me to run. Third, the most I have ever run is a 5K, what makes you think I can do 13.1 miles?! Last, back to the *bleeping* crazy part. The race was only 8 weeks away!! Admittedly, I have always wanted to run a half marathon. I have wanted to prove to myself that I have the courage and the discipline to accomplish something so amazing! Once I calmed my thoughts, I suggested maybe let’s try training for it and see if it’s doable for us, then we can pay the money to sign up. In the end, we both agreed that paying the money upfront would possibly be what we needed to motivate us to stick with training. So, we paid the entrance fee and started researching best methods.

Most half-marathon training programs (for people who are not in shape at all) start you 12-16 weeks out. We only had 8 weeks to deal with. We couldn’t help that, so we tried modifying the programs that we found to meet our constraining time limit. We found a lot of helpful tips and tricks along with workout schedules that we could modify to our needs. We trained separately during the week and together on our big Saturday run. Here is what a typical week looked like for me:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Short Run Cross Train Short Run Short Run Cross Train Long Run

Rest

It seems to be the consensus that combining short runs with cross training allows your body to heal between runs but also keeps your heart rate up with consistent exercise. We found it was only necessary to do one long run every week. (To be honest, this was the biggest part of my “oh crap” feeling I got when I agreed to run a half marathon. I thought I was going to have to commit to running 10+ miles multiple times per week. However, that is definitely not needed.) Eventually, we got into a groove that worked for us and allowed us to keep living life to its fullest. (Another concern of mine would be it taking over our lives!)

Here is a breakdown of the distances we did throughout the 8 weeks:

Seeing those miles go up was one of the most empowering things I’ve experienced!

Week One:

  • Short Run- 2 miles (M,W, TH)
  • Cross Training- Indoor cycle, yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 3.5 miles (S)

Week Two:

  • Short Runs- 2 miles (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- Strength Training. yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 4.75 miles (S)

Week Three:

  • Short Runs- 2.5 miles (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- Elliptical, yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 6.5 miles (S)

Week Four:

  • Short Runs- 3 miles (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- High Intensity Intervals, yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 7 miles (S)

Week Five:

f I wasn’t motivated to get up and run 8 miles, I am now. (Josh is the tiny speck in the middle of the picture trying to keep up with me! haha)

  • Short Runs- 3 miles (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- Outdoor Cycling (T, F)
  • Long Run- 8 miles (S)

Week Six:

  • Short Runs- 2.5 miles (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- Strength Training, yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 9 miles (S)

Week Seven:

  • Short Runs- 3 miles (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- High Intensity Intervals, yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 5 miles (S)

Week Eight (Race Week):

  • Short Runs- 1 mile (M, W, TH)
  • Cross Training- Yoga (T, F)
  • Long Run- 13.1 miles!!

Essentially, I got to the point where I was running 2-3 miles for my short runs, three times per week. It’s not necessary to run more than that. Just a few miles keeps you in shape and allows your body to move without getting injured by overuse. Our long runs went up in mileage about 1-2 miles every week. By the time the race was here, we were only up to 9-10 miles on our long run. It ended up being sufficient to get us through 13 miles on the day. Had we been better about our training (starting earlier), we could have gotten to 13 miles before actually running the race. One week before the race, I needed to rest my body a bit. I was having hip issues (from overuse). I only ran 5 miles the Saturday before race day.

Cross training varied from week to week. There are so many ways to do cross training. You have to decide what you prefer and with what equipment you have available to you. I stuck with my 4 regulars (cycle, strength, high intensity intervals, and yoga). I rotated cycle, strength, and intervals week to week. But I did yoga every cross training day every week. I even did it a lot on running days as well. I noticed a significant difference in my body on the days I did yoga versus the days I didn’t. Yoga allowed me to connect my body and mind. I was able to better feel where I needed to rest, stretch, and work. Not only does yoga keep you flexible, it also keeps you in-tune to what your body feels where. It’s amazing the healing powers of yoga.

Cross Training Activities: swimming, strength training, Zumba, rollerblading, high intensity intervals, dancing, organized sports, yoga, kayaking/rowing

There are so many ways to cross train while training for a marathon. Really anything that gets your body moving and your heart rate up will work. Have fun with it!

A family who cross-trains together, stays together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, I had the plan down. Now how did I get through 9 mile runs (about 10 minute miles) without tearing my hair out? Everyone finds what works for them. Some people don’t like to listen to anything, they let their minds wander. I tried a few different things. I tried listening to “pump you up” music. Music with a great beat that I could run to. I easily got bored. After a while, individual songs were giving me much. I then tried to listen to audiobooks. I thought that if I was listening to a story, it would keep my mind busy. I found that they didn’t “pump me up” enough. I settled on listening to upbeat musicals. That way, I get the beat of the music and the story. I tried several musicals, from Les Miserables to Newsies. I finally found the two musicals that fit the time frame I needed for 13.1 miles and could keep me going through it all. Hairspray and Hamilton were funnily enough the ones that got me through it. Sure, they are nothing alike. But at least they can forever remain together on my Spotify marathon playlist, rubbing amicably side by side on my 8 week adventure.

Dragging the babe around for 7 AM rainy morning runs!

Altogether, I loved my half-marathon experience. I loved being able to tell myself that I am strong enough. I find solace in the fact that I never gave up. It was not always easy. I had to drag a one year old in a stroller through the running trails of Tualatin. I dealt with going back to work (at 4 AM everyday), remodeling our house, and keeping our family running throughout this whole process. There were days that the last thing I wanted to do was get those running shoes on. But I did it. I found the will. I found the drive. I surprised myself with my capability. I exploited the best parts of my physical self and found that I was strong. And the best part is that my sweet hubby and I were able to do it together. If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend you put yourself out there. Don’t listen to your *bleeping* head that tells you you are crazy! Be strong!

Happy Training!

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One thought on “8 Week Half-Marathon Training

  1. Abby says:

    I love this one!!! Great training schedule and I love how you talked about how hard it was to train. Yet, you stuck with it and accomplished the marathon.

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