When training for a race (half-marathon, duathlon, what have you), I’ve always followed a training plan. For my first few half marathons, I used trusty Hal Higdon. I love Hal. He has 3 levels of training programs free on his web site and his plan got me through my very first half-marathon. Last year, I followed No Meat Athlete’s Half-Marathon Roadmap. I also really liked this plan. It was flexible and it started getting me more into speed-work. This year, I’m going a little more intense.
I’m following the book, Run Less Run Faster. Now, you may think, “How is that more intense if you’re running less?”. Well, for me, it’s actually running more. I’ve always been a 3-day a week runner (thank you crappy knees), so I’ve adjusted training plans accordingly. This plan is 3-days a week running and 2 days of cross training. This is perfect for me since I’m not only training for a half-marathon in October, but my first Triathlon in August. This plan is very specific on what you need to do on each of your runs.
- Run #1 – Track repeats – Shorter intervals of running at a very specific pace (there are many charts in this book). So far, I’ve done one and it was an ass-kicker and it was awesome at the same time. This run is built to improve your VO2, and increase your speed. Amen to that.
- Run #2 – Tempo Run – This run is meant to improve your endurance by raising your lactate threshold. You run longer distances at a comfortably hard pace. They range from 5-7 miles per run.
- Run #3 – the Long Run – Built to improve your endurance by raising aerobic metabolism. The long runs in this plan range from 8-15 miles and they too, have specific paces perscribed.
So, this plan is more intense for me for a variety of reasons.
- It is 18 weeks long. Most other plans I’ve followed are 12.
- The long runs are…well…long. I had to start out of the gate with an 8-mile run where my other plans started with 5. This has me build up to 15 miles, where in the past, I haven’t gone past 12.
- The pace. You are asked to run a very specific pace for every run. The pace is based on your 5k time. Like I mentioned, lots of charts in this book. It is extremely scientific, which is not a word used to describe yours truly.
- Required cross-training. That is a huge part of the plan. They really push for at least 2 days of cross-triaining - and not lazy cross-trainng either. This is what I really liked. It will push me to do stronger swim and bike workouts which I know will make me a stronger runner.
I made a few minor adjustments to the plan. I replaced 2 of the long runs with BRICK workouts (two disciplines back to back) in prepearation for the Tri and then of course, there is the tri itself – I will not be doing a long run that weekend.
So far, I’m one week into the plan. I know this will be a challenging schedule, but I’m really excited about it. I’m ready for a challenge and I’m ready to reach a new PR at my next half. And kick butt at the tri, of course.
Do you follow a strict plan? Or do you take a grass-roots approach to training for a race?