I have tried two different half marathon training plans. Training plans are great because they give you structure on how much to run and what types of runs to do. They will gradually build your base mileage so you don’t injury yourself by adding miles too quickly. For my first half marathon, I did a training plan from Garmin Connect. The current training plan that I am using for the Urban Cow in October is the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Training. I will review the two plans below.
The Garmin Level 1 Half Marathon training was 16 weeks long. It was a heart rate based training with most of the training at a low intensity. The runs gradually got longer and were manageable, even with my shin splints and hip issues. The problem that I had with this training was that it had most of the runs at an easy pace, way too easy. I ended up running at a higher heart rate and longer distances for most of the runs. The program itself is good and I would recommend it if you have a Garmin watch. I suggest the Garmin Forerunner 610, which I have been running with for about 6 months and love it. Look for a review on the Garmin Forerunner 610 later this week. I definitely overtrained which probably was the reason why I was injured for so long. These plans are only good if you follow them.
I can’t say enough good things about the Hal Hidgon training plans. They have plans from 5k to marathons and everything in between. I chose the 12-week Intermediate Half Marathon Training because of my fitness level and my desire to improve my performance. The Intermediate plan calls for one day of rest, a tempo or interval speed session, three easy runs and a long run each week. The runs are manageable as long as you can get used to easy runs. Your easy and long runs are at 65-75% of you max heart rate. For me, that is about a 10:30-12:00 minute pace. It was difficult to get used to running slow while still keeping good form. Three weeks into my training and I am getting used to the slow runs though. The speed workouts are helping me get faster too. I have had three 5k PR’s in the last two weeks. If I had to recommend one training plan over the other, I would definitely place the Hal Higdon plans on top. The best part is that they are free and come with very good direction on what each run consists of.
Let me know if you have a training plan that you follow and how it is working. I hope your training is going as good as mine.