Training for my First Half

by - 3:31 PM

Get ready for a bunch of running posts - I'm training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC this April! It will be my first half marathon and I am so stinking excited (and a little scared - cue Jesse Spano).

I'm an ex-sprinter so I just started getting into longer distances in the last 4 years. I figured running a half in April would be good to motivate me to get outside in late winter. The event was also a blind draw, so I took it as a sign that if I got in, I should compete.

One slight issue - the race is in 10 weeks and the Midwest is experiencing one of the hardest winters I can remember (ok 2011 was pretty bad). Regardless, it has been either absolutely frigid  - I'm talking weeks in the teen digits - or snowing. Like every other day snowing.

I'm no stranger to running in the winter (check out my Top 5 Tips for winter running) but it has been next to impossible to try to find a day with a clear sidewalk.

However, this past Monday was a balmy 45 degrees and I took full advantage, figuring out a training program, testing out a new running app, and updating my running playlist. 

Half Marathon Training Program

When training for a half, you don't actually need to run a full 13 miles before the race - just enough long runs mixed with shorter runs during the week to prepare your body. I asked several people what training programs they had used, and most people told me they had just made up their own by tacking on an extra mile to their long runs every week (maxing out at 10 or 11 miles).

Easy enough, however I am a calendar girl and Nike has been posting a training plan on their NWM 26.2 Facebook page that incorporates yoga.

Nike also included a free calendar download training plan, so I decided to take it for a spin. They have 3 different programs - beginner, intermediate and competitive - that will download directly to your iCal or Google calendar. They also have programs for any distance = 5k, 10k, Half & Full Marathon. Check out the Nike Running Race Coach Here >>

Tip: The training program is a 12 week-default calendar. If your event is less than 12 weeks away, you can manipulate the date in the box to begin earlier (I had to do that).

Half Marathon Running App 

I decided to go all out Nike and download the Nike+ Running App. I had been using MapMyRun for all of my triathlon training last year (it included apps for cycling/etc) but I decided to give the Nike+ app a whirl. 

I had actually used it for years (back when you had to put the sensor in your shoe) and it still had all of my data from my past runs which was kind of cool. 

First use, not too bad. The app GPS is pretty decent and picked up my switch from road to trail which is key for my routes. The pause run and resume run feature is right on the home screen at the bottom which is great when I run with my dog and we have to make stops for him to smell whatever it is that is so awesome (usually yellow snow).

The app lets you set distance or time goals which I really like, because it gives you verbal feedback when you are getting close. It also records your fastest 5k and 10k times and lets you know how you did respective to previous runs. All in all, it's a great free running app and I'd recommend it.

Half Marathon Running Playlist

I cannot run without an awesome playlist that gets me pumped up and has songs with strong beats to keep me on pace. 

I use Spotify for all of my music, so if you are a Spotify user and love running to super techno music, here is a link to my running playlist - Run for It.

Check out the playlist here
Stay tuned for more running posts, half marathon training tips and product reviews in the coming weeks!


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  1. So are you totally off the Map My Run train? Should I make the switch to Nike+ too? (I used to have the sensor too!)

  2. I'm not sure yet! I'm going to see how it goes - but the app seems less "buggy" than Map My Run and I like that the Nike app lets you set either time or distance goals, then tells you you're at your "halfway point!" or "400m to go!" Also there are no advertisements which is nice. Your run data should automatically import from your Nike+ ID.

  3. The application gives you a chance to set separation or time objectives which I truly like, in light of the fact that it provides for you verbal reaction when you are drawing near. It likewise records your speediest 5k and 10k times and tells you how you did separate to past runs. All things considered, its an incredible free running application and I'd prescribe it. Marathon coaching