Today I am sharing my training plan for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 1.
Kim had asked me what my goals were for this race. Great question! This will most definitely NOT be a PR attempt, so I want to enjoy the atmosphere and scenery. Beyond that, I hope to finish the race feeling strong and without dying on the hills. (Dying is a relative term, of course...)
It was a challenge to design this training plan for a few reasons:
- I'm trying to take advantage of my company's fitness center as much as possible. I want to keep the momentum going with my weekly yoga and Zumba classes.
- Strength-training is a priority.
- I need to log semi-sufficient mileage on top of hill-training at least once a week. At the same time, I'm coming off a long running hiatus and zero base in hill-running.
- Rest days are obviously important.
After much consideration, this plan reflects my valiant and ambitious attempt at the best of all worlds:
I'd like to maintain my pre-half marathon training routine of doing 3 sets of 8-10 reps on a full-body range (here is a sample lifting breakout). However, I am giving myself the flexibility of paring things down as needed depending on time or energy.
TUESDAYS: Yoga + 3-5 miles
I consider yoga to be active rest, so I figured I could do double-duty on yoga days within reason. This day will include a yoga class and an easy 3-5 miler. In the early weeks, I intend to start out around 3 miles then gradually increase up to 5.
WEDNESDAYS: Zumba or Rest
I love Zumba! This day is just for fun while still keeping the blood pumping. Since I don't consider Zumba to be an integral cog in running training, I am giving myself the option to take this day off if needed.
THURSDAYS: Hill training
Ahhh, hill training will be my biggest challenge of this training cycle. It will probably take place on the treadmill every week. I plan to start easy with both intensity and duration, then gradually increase either or both. I'm less concerned with the actual mileage on this day, but it'll probably come out around 3 miles, give or take.
Same sentiments as Tuesday, but this day I'll add an abbreviated lifting regimen. Upfront, I'm planning to do just 1 set of all my reps instead of 3. I am told a single set is still very effective.
I went back and forth on which day to designate as an official rest day. On one hand, I have more time on weekends to work out. But on the other hand, I only have gym access Monday through Friday. I ended up choosing Saturdays to rest with the thought that it'll help me prepare for the next day's long run. I might occasionally flip-flop this with Sunday's routine based on schedules.
SUNDAY: Long run
In order to mimic the Pittsburgh Half Marathon course, I am looking at doing all of my long runs with incline work at the end, and hopefully some interspersed within. We'll see how ambitious I feel. However, I do not plan to incorporate incline work into my cutback weeks. I want to keep my cutback weeks easy.
- The training plan started yesterday, and I've already deviated! I was supposed to lift but I took a much-needed rest day instead.
- As denoted in pink, Adam and I are going on an extended weekend cruise next month (be warned: I will have MUCHO to say about this cruise in future posts). I wanted to keep my workout routine flexible while on vacation.
- I've only got two races on the calendar during this training cycle - the Shamrock Shuffle and Chicago's Perfect 10. The timing of both happen to work quite nicely. (Chicago's Perfect 10 is traditionally a November race, but apparently they cancelled the event 9 days before last year's race day? Regardless, I've been wanting to run this race for a few years, so I'm happy about their new spring date.)