Spring Training -> My Half Marathon Training Plan

It’s not quite spring but I’ve officially begun training for my spring half marathon – the Chicago Spring Half Marathon! Last week I “accidentally” spent hours doing research and creating what I deem is an elaborate training plan.

It’s certainly ambitious too…the paces the online calculators spit out for me are ones I haven’t comfortably conquered yet. Even the pace I’m “training for” (I use quotes because it’s my ambitious/motivational goal and not necessarily the realistic one) to run the half at – 8:30 min/mile – is slightly overreaching. But I know I won’t be too stringent with myself if I cannot hit all the required paces. The tempo run pace in particular practically killed me when I attempted it, but I’m remaining optimistic.

Highlights of the training plan:
– running 4 times per week: 1 easy run, 1 speed-work day, 1 tempo run, 1 long slow run
– strength training 3 times per week
– cross-training 1 day per week
– 2 rest days

I initially planned on 2 cross-training days and only 1 day of rest, but ultimately decided to err on the side of caution and avoid the potential of burnout. This is also the first time since 2012 that I’ll be running 4 days per week, with 2 back-to-back days. I’m nervous because this has almost always led to injuries in the past, but I’ve been feeling good so far *knock on wood* and believe that strength training + cross-training is keeping me healthy.

Speaking of strength training, this is a bit half-assed for me because I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I lift weights, do weighted squats and lunges, and make sure to include some PT exercises (clamshells, leg raises, plank). And that’s about it. I’m open to suggestions!

On another note, the 200m and 400m interval speed form pace that the online calculator gave me (6:51 min/mile) feels a bit easy. I ended up changing it to be around the paces I ran the intervals last month, but I’m worried this will be too intense for my body. Thoughts? How do people usually determine how fast to run their intervals?

(dedication = running intervals on a treadmill because it’s snowing sideways outside)

This formal training should be fun, I’m so ready! Now, if only the weather would cooperate…

♥ Irina


  1. March 17, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    Kudos to you for pushing yourself! Even if you have to alter your plan later, I think it’s awesome that you’re so ambitious and have set the bar high for yourself! I’m particularly impressed with your goal to strength train and run on the same day. Goodness knows if I go for a run, I’m definitely not doing anything but stretching and maybe a couple PT exercises in addition to running. In terms of speedwork, I’m a BIG believer in focusing on feel/effort rather than numbers. Intervals should feel hard, tempo runs should feel comfortably hard. That accommodates for fluctuations in weather, how you’re feeling, etc. (Like for me right now, say, 9:30 would probably be “comfortably hard.” But come July, I imagine a 10:00 will feel just as comfortably hard as a 9:30 right now, when you account for heat, humidity, sunshine, and all that.) So if you think your intervals feel too easy, they probably are. Similarly, if your tempo pace feels too hard, it probably is. I’d adjust for your feeling and level of effort rather than rigidly adhering to what the pace calculator told you. On the other hand, I’ve had limited success at PRing/running fast, period, so feel free to take my thoughts with a grain of salt 🙂

    • March 18, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      Oh I definitely don’t do anything intense in regards to strength training after runs, so don’t give me too much credit. I basically still have no idea what I’m doing in general when it comes to strength training, so many of my exercises are just PT-esque ones as well. I’ve always heard that runners don’t need to go crazy with strength training and that basic lifting/squats/lunges are enough. Now whether that’s true or not I have no idea, but that’s the mindset I’m taking 😛

      I think you make a really great point regarding running by feel. That’s usually my approach when it comes to warmer weather, although I’m slightly pain-averse so I know I need to push myself somehow bc otherwise all my runs would be at the same pace haha. Actually that’s why running with people who are slightly faster than me is so great! I ran with a boy once and dang was that a workout haha. Speaking of, if you ever want to go on a run together sometime, I’m down! Hopefully that’s not creepy haha

      • March 21, 2017 / 12:53 pm

        Not creepy at all! I’d definitely be down to run together sometime as well! Though fair warning, if we ran together, you would definitely be the slightly faster person in the equation hahaha.

        • April 3, 2017 / 6:57 pm

          Haha I’m not so sure! I haven’t really been hitting the paces I’m “supposed to” and wouldn’t mind running casually with someone. Actually fun story – I randomly ran into Janelle (our mutual friend from your running group I think) on the lakefront trail last week and we ran 4 miles together! It was the first time in a long time I ran with someone else and I loved it!

  2. March 17, 2017 / 4:57 pm

    Oh, you’ll have to link me to the online calculator you used! I’d love to figure out what my goal paces should be for different workouts based on my race pace goal 😀