Training for a Half Marathon in 7 Weeks

I did it, I successfully ran the Atlanta Half Marathon in 1:50!! After a long 6 year hiatus from distance running, I am BACK 🙂IMG_C8E8F30580E0-1The thing that I want to share most is my training, which is something that is COMPLETELY different than my past marathon training.  Training for the Atlanta Half Marathon, I was all about showing myself grace and taking it super easy on myself which I believe paid off in the end.  It is crazy to me to think that I averaged less than 8:30 minute miles, when I was training at a 10:30 pace!IMG_1599Here is a little breakdown of how I trained for the half marathon in less than 7 weeks.  The end of January, I talked to Drew about possibly training for the Atlanta Half Marathon.  I figured that it was close to home so it would be a good race to run given the small amount of dedication to get there.  I had been running 3-4 miles probably 3 to 4 days a week (averaging around 12 miles a week).  My thought was if I could run 8 miles without any pain, I would sign up for the race.IMG_0648I was thrilled when I completed a slow 8 miles on a flat course by our house.  I’m telling you I felt amazing and SO incredibly happy that my groin, which I injured last January did not hurt! However, I wasn’t convinced I would be able to run 13 miles, so I marked on my calendar the number of miles I needed to run up to 11 miles.IMG_3264IMG_7387 2Basically, I continued to run my usual amount of 3 days a week, 3-4 miles and then did a long run on the weekend.  My long run started at 8 miles, the following week was 9 miles, then 10, then 11, and then back down to 10…and then I ran the half marathon.  It was a very simple training schedule and my pace was very reasonable.  I honestly did not check my speed until the end of each run and really didn’t care about it, I just wanted to run without pain!IMG_0849In the past, my training would include running multiple longer runs during the week rather than short 3-4 mile runs.  I was very surprised that I was able to do my longer runs with ease even though I wasn’t doing a ton of mileage.  In the end, it was exactly what my body needed and showing myself grace was the best formula for a successful race.IMG_5291On race day, I told my family that I just wanted to finish the race.  I started between the 2:00 and 2:15 pace groups as I wasn’t sure how fast I was able to run (remember I was consistently running 10:30), but after mile 5 I felt really good so I decided to kick it up a notch and run with the 2:00 pace group.  When I got to mile 8, I was still feeling great so I passed the pace group and kicked up my pace.  The last 2 miles, I was feeling incredible (thank you endorphins!) so I kicked it up even faster and finished in 1:50.  I had no idea what my pace was the entire time (as I am not great with mental math ha!) and I just kept listening to my body and pushing myself.IMG_0816 2IMG_5278It was such a wonderful surprise to see my time as I had NO goal except to finish and never thought I would do under 2 hours for my first race in over 6 years.  In sum, I think listening to my body was the best training I could do.  In the future, I am going to continue that motto and just do what works with my body and how I am feeling—overdoing it is no longer in my game plan 🙂IMG_8766IMG_1600

TIPS for Running a Half Marathon:

  • Listen to your body, show yourself grace and do not run if you feel pain
  • Mark your long runs on the calendar–go up by a mile or less each week
  • Ideally, I would start training 8 weeks out and start with a 6 mile long run (ideal long runs would be: 6,7,8,9,10,11,10,RACE DAY)
  • Remember that your pace while training is not your race pace
  • You do not need to do a ton of mileage during the week, but it is very important to do at least 2 double digit runs before a half marathon (I would say 3 double digit runs is best, I did two 10 mile runs and one 11 mile run!)
  • And of course, have fun 🙂IMG_9717

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