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The Easiest Training Schedule For Beginning Runners
HOW TO TRAIN FOR A HALF MARATHON
Before starting any training for running a 13 mile half marathon distance, whether it's an organized race or on your own, you should regularly be running approximately 10–15 miles per week.
If you're just starting out, it's always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting anything as strenuous as training for a half marathon, especially if you've had an injury or health issue, or you're over age 40.
Good running starts with the right fuel for your body. For more details on the fuel your body needs, see The Metabolism Solution for a list of the best foods to eat. If you're trying to lose weight, follow the suggested guidelines to lose the weight and melt the fat with all the running you're doing. Make sure and check out the section on Core Walking and Posture Power. Good form is the key to running without getting injured.
The training schedule for beginners is below. Many of my clients have used it, and it's worked out well. It's based on my personal experience with one simple trick — use the midweek runs for conditioning and feeling out your proper pace, while using the weekends for the longer runs (these are only suggested once per week). These longer runs are to get you mentally prepared for running the 13 miles. It's the mental aspects that keep most of us from realizing our goals, so be sure to prep yourself mentally.
I suggest doing your mental work while you stretch every day (see "Lazy Man's Yoga" in The Metabolism Solution). Stretching is the perfect time to begin visualizing yourself finishing the race with ease. Start telling yourself "I am leaner and stronger," "I can do this."
Rest days are the most critical days
Most people fail to realize that rest is when your body heals. If you fail to allow your body to rest it could backfire on you by deteriorating your running performance, or worse, getting injured. Rest is especially vital for beginning runners or those who may be experienced at running but haven't trained for a half marathon. In addition to proper sleep (LynFit Lean Sleep), nutrition, and stretching, it's important to take two days off from running during the week to allow your joints and muscles adequate time to heal and repair. I've always taken two days off during the week.
If you're addicted to doing cardio and your workout is "your time", this is where cross-training can come in. You should ride an indoor bike instead at a very low level on these days. They are called active rest days. Monday's and Friday's are the set rest days for a reason. They allow a day off after your long run as well as a day off after your three midweek running days.
Hydrate with water vs. sugary beverages
On your weekend long runs, make sure to drink water before you begin and bring plenty of water to drink during and after. It's especially important when your runs begin to stretch out to distances of 7, 8, and 9 miles or longer, to have water at the midpoint of your run. Don't fall victim to the marketing hype of those sugary hydrating fuels and drinks. They are no better than water unless you're extremely dehydrated. The worst part — they can stop you from losing weight despite all the running you're doing.
Sports drinks, such as Gatorade™ or PowerAde™ are okay as long as they are sugar-free and calorie-free. But water is always best. Stick to a water plan or regime, this will get your body accustomed to what your race conditions will be.
Cross-training — Walking and taking recovery breaks
If your body begins to ache and doesn't seem to recover, you may feel the need to cross-train by walking or riding and indoor bike, or simply take a break from your long run. During any of your training runs, listen to your body and do what it tells you. By all means, don't feel guilty or reluctant to do so. If you're just starting out, the goal is to complete the race more-so than to compete. Finishing should be your goal. It's perfectly okay to take walking breaks here and there.
People who listen to what their body is telling them are less prone to injury because they know that it's quite possible that they are trying to maintain too fast a pace. So they slow their pace down. Prevention is the cure, so consider slowing your pace, cross-training, or using the trendy run-walk method that is used by elite marathoners.
Get support and consult with an expert
The training schedule above is just one simple recommendation on how to train for a half marathon. You should also do some homework and choose what works best for your body. There are many ways to prepare, and you should always do what works best for you. But don't let the research stop you from getting out of your chair and starting your exercise plan today.
Most importantly, believe you can and you will. The best changes in life happen when we get out of our comfort zone.