Whether you’re training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, a Disney race weekend or any other half marathon that offers extra mileage with added races, here’s a plan that will help you prepare for all of the fun. Although the primary goal is the half marathon, there’s a fair amount of shorter work—both to prepare you for the remix 5K (or you could even do up to a 10K) and to help improve running economy/efficiency and overall muscular development. Don’t feel guilty for seeking out a minimal training approach with maximum gains. Dedicate yourself to this 12-week plan and you’ll get there.
Keep These Tips In Mind
Consistency is key. Don’t worry if some workouts don’t come together. Your primary objective should be staying committed week to week without any big swings with multiple days off consecutively. Before starting this plan, you should be running at least three times per week and able to complete 2–3 miles of continuous running.
One day at a time. Try not to focus on what you have 3 or 4 weeks ahead of you. That can make it feel somewhat overwhelming. The plan builds on itself week after week with the mileage, days per week and long run all included in that equation.
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Find the right effort. Different workouts require varying effort levels and intensities. This is one of the keys to making it to the starting line healthy and prepared for the mental and physical challenges that await. Easy runs should feel comfortable and controlled, and you should be able to hold a conversation with a running partner. Note that you may have days where you feel better than others—it is okay for your pace to shift slightly quicker or slower depending on how you are feeling. The pacing listed is based on your fastest effort being a 5K, then 10K, then half marathon (HM), then marathon and finally your easy pace.
Easy does it. The mileage builds gradually and enough to ensure you are gaining the necessary fitness. However, if you are feeling exceedingly motivated, you can always add a bit more mileage on the easy days. Don’t alter the long runs or workouts.
Cross-train with moderate intensity. Choose among cycling or spinning, swimming, water running and the elliptical. They should feel more taxing than an easy run but not so much so that you can’t recover for the following day.
Add strength training 1–2 times per week. This can be in the form of a weight routine at the gym or a 15-minute core session (at a minimum) on one of the easy recovery days or on a day off from running. A gym workout should focus on the upper body and not render you unable to run productively the next day.
Stretching is critical! This should become part of your daily routine. Plan on 8–10 minutes after your run or before bed.