I’ve noticed over the past month, my 13 week marathon training plan has really been popping. I’ve also gotten a ton of questions about tips on training for your first half or full marathon so I figured it was time to share this with everyone!
I have put together a basic training plan for a half and full marathon for your reference. It can obviously be adjusted to your schedule, personal preference, and running level – feel free to reach out if you need help figuring out what is right for you! Also, apologies in advance, I don’t know why the boxes are so small but I’ve included links to the GoogleDocs for easier viewing!
View the Half Marathon training plan on GoogleDocs here.
View the Full Marathon training plan on GoogleDocs here.
Tips & Tricks
While everyone will have a different opinion on how to correctly train for a race, these are the things that I find most helpful in my own training so please don’t take this as bible, rather use it as guidance in your own training.
- Tapering is very important so that you are rested and ready for race day! For a half marathon, it should be 2-3 weeks before race day and for a full marathon, it should be 3-4 weeks before race day
- With that being said, your longest run will occur right before you begin tapering. I think it’s important to run your longest distance at least two times so your body doesn’t have a panic once it gets to race day. While others may disagree, I also think it’s very important to get as close to the full distance as possible (11/12 for a half and 22/24 for a full)
- If it’s your first half marathon, you should run 11 or 12 miles twice
- If it’s your first marathon, you should run 24 miles twice
- Take your long runs at an extra slow pace, about 2 or 3 minutes slower than your race goal pace – long runs are meant for the body to get used to going the distance. Sometimes it’s painful to go that slow but you’ll be working on your speed during the week
- With that being said, there are multiple types of speed training but two of my favorite are progression and tempo runs. It’s very important that you don’t speedwork too early on in your training as you need a solid base before you get into it. Once that base has been built, then you can work on increasing your speed – this is typically during the 4-8 weeks out from race day
- Progression runs: a run that builds to improve your fitness by running negative splits towards your goal pace. For example, if you need to do a 3 mile progression run and your goal pace is 10 minutes, you would run the first mile at 10:40, the second at 10:20, and the third at 10 minutes
- Tempo runs: a run that works to increase your metabolic fitness by running a consistent fast pace. For example, if you are to do a 5 mile tempo run, start with a 2 minute warm up at turtle pace then jump into your marathon pace and hold that strong for 5 miles. Finish it up with another 2 minute cool down
- You’re about to be doing a lot of work. Make sure you have the necessary equipment, most importantly shoes. Please for the love of your feet, go get fit for the right pair of shoes! It’s impossible to recommend the “right shoe” because everyone has different needs. While you’re at it, get a few pairs – you’ll need to rotate them each run to help avoid injury
- Speaking of shoes, make sure you have a solid pair for strength training because that is just as important as your long runs. Not sure where to start? Check out some of my favorite AMRAPs or muscle group workouts
- Don’t be afraid to kick off your shoes every once in a while too. Yoga Sundays are my favorite way to recover and recharge for the week ahead. Don’t have access to yoga classes? Check out YouTube for some videos or grab a foam roller and roll/stretch it out for an hour instead
- A few other things you may want are a running belt (I really like SpiBelts), some kind of nourishment during your long runs (I’m a GU girl, strawberry banana to be exact) and fuel for post-run (I love NUUN Mango Orange & Blackberry Citrus) and compression socks or leggings. I also can’t run without music and I LOVE my AfterShokz. Like hands down favorite headphones I’ve ever owned
- Listen to your body. This might single-handedly be the most important thing I say in this entire post. Yes, the schedule may call for a progression run but your hamstring is bothering you – don’t risk it and take a break, stretch, roll it out, and maybe go see a doctor if it doesn’t get better in a few days. However, please don’t read that and use it as an excuse when you’re sore. That’s going to happen, probably more often than not so that’s when your mental toughness kicks in
- Which leads me to my last point – running is about 90% mental. There are going to be days when you just don’t want to but you need to find the motivation within yourself, whatever that may be, and get yourself to do it. I’ve gone through plenty of my own ruts so I’m always here if you need to have a quick vent or get a pep talk
xo, Constance on the Run