Many of you (in the half-training announcement post) asked about what schedule I’ll be using to train for the upcoming half marathon.

Please note my little disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer or a doctor or a certified exercise guru, so please use your own best judgment when choosing a training program to run any distance (or even exercise in general). The last thing I want to do is push a training program that could cause an injury. Listen to your body and consult a physician or your own common sense if you have any questions, pretty please!

I had a few criteria in mind when I started searching for half-marathon training programs.

1) I wanted a full 19-20 weeks to train. I figure I might as well start now even though the race isn’t until June. And as an official non-runner, I’m not too proud to admit I need to start on the low end of mileage.
2) I knew I couldn’t dedicate six days a week to running. Not with my already busy schedule and family life, and let’s be honest, lack of desire to run six days a week.
3) I wanted to run more than 10 miles at my longest. Running experts say that officially I don’t have to run more than 10 miles to run a 13.1 mile race but those well-meaning souls don’t understand how my somewhat OCD brain works. I know that if I only run 10 miles, I’ll pass the 10 mile mark in the race and completely shut down because I never actually ran farther than that. So, yeah, I want to run a longer long run than most of the training programs out there suggest even if that means I’m slightly crazy.
4) I didn’t want to pay for a training schedule (especially with all the free resources already out there).

After looking at every possible website known to women on running and training and half-marathons, I morphed all the schedules I liked into a basic outline for me.

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For the first 12 weeks, I’ll need to run 3 days a week and up it to 4 days a week, if possible, after that. Sundays are 100% rest days for me. The other days that indicate Rest/XT (cross train) I plan to just see how I feel. I built three of those days into the plan to give me flexibility so if I rest one day, I have a few other days to build in a XT workout (for me, that will probably be strength training to strengthen the muscles around my knees, ankles and in my core). I’m not planning on exercising, running and generally stressing about working out 6 days a week. I just can’t. But running 3X a week with a strength workout in there is a good place to start.

This schedule seems doable for me! <–That’s me having a positive attitude since it’s the first week and I’m blissfully naive.

My cousin, Alex, who is also running this race (she and I are very similar in what kind of running shape we’re in right now) found this great Couch-to-Half-Marathon schedule that will get you ready for the race but isn’t focused as much on mileage as it is on time/endurance and incorporates walk/run workouts to get you ready to run the entire race.

Also, some of you expressed interest in participating in the half but wanted a walk/run option – try googling “half marathon walk run programs” to get some ideas. One that stood out to me is Hal Higdon’s walking half-marathon (12 week program) and Jeff Galloway’s Beginner Walk/Run Half Marathon (click on Schedule on the left and then each day’s workout is clickable on the calendar to give you details on what to do exactly).

Many of you have much more experience running so feel free to chime in via the comments about what you use for a training program, if any, and other helpful tips.