Sharing the changes I am making this training cycle to run a faster & stronger half marathon in the spring!The year of the half marathon is in full swing and my next half marathon training cycle kicks off on Monday. In case you have missed my previous post about “the year of the half marathon,” you can check it out here. Basically, this year I am devoting myself to the half marathon distance before I make my way back to the full marathon distance.
My spring half marathon is on May 20 at the Ann Arbor Marathon. Starting my training cycle on Monday will give me 16 full weeks to train. 16 weeks is a lot more time to train than I have ever done in previous training cycles (usually I hover around 10-12 weeks), but this training cycle is going to be different in a lot of ways from the training plan I am using to the small changes I am making in my daily lifestyle to help me in my training.
I am really trying to get my half marathon time down and am making changes in this training cycle that I believe will help me become a better, stronger, and faster half marathoner.
Longer Training Cycle
As I mentioned earlier, this will be a much longer training cycle for me for a half marathon. While a longer training cycle could lend itself to burnout and boredom, I don’t think this will necessarily be the case for me. Whenever I have a race goal in mind and a vision of where I want to take my running, I continue to crack away at my weekly training, even when some days feel monotonous. I think I am used to the pattern of my training that I have found ways to make single runs more excited — from listening to a new podcast on a long run or taking a new route on an easy run. Having a longer training cycle will allow my body to better prepare itself for a (hopefully) faster half marathon.
For this training cycle I am going to follow the Hansons Beginner Half Marathon training plan. Hansons is known for being heavy on the mileage, and even on the beginner plan, I am going to be running a heck of a lot of miles. As I was entering the training plan into my Final Surge account I got a little scared seeing the weekly mileage counts. I am going to be putting in more mileage overall than I did training for my full marathon… whoa! While 40+ miles per week may seem like a lot of miles to put in for a half marathon, I know that it is what my body needs to get faster at the half marathon. At this point, I have done the basic things to improve my half marathon time (like adding in speed work) and I know that one of the major things holding me back is my weekly mileage. On previous training plans I never ran over 40 miles a week, usually I was around the mid to lower 30s for my weekly mileage. I am looking forward to seeing what a bump in weekly mileage will do for me on race day.
Focus on Core
I am not going to lie, I have definitely gotten lazy with core. I do core work twice a week, but sometimes I get to it and am lazy about it. I set a timer and go through core moves until the timer goes up, not always necessarily putting a lot of effort into it. What has worked for me in focusing on core has been to have a set flow of moves to complete. I love the Oiselle Dirty Dozen core routine and the Core H routine. I really have no excuse not to get core in at least twice a week after easy runs since I don’t have to have equipment to get it done and any amount of time focused on core is good. My plan is to get in the dirty dozen at least once a week, if not twice a week. Sometimes I am short on time and do a shorter core workout on the other day I focus on core, but I need to keep my focus on the core workout I am doing in the moment and really put more of my effort into it.
Foam Rolling Daily
I probably say I am going to foam roll more every single training cycle. But this time is going to be different! I don’t necessarily foam roll as soon as I finish my workout, especially since I tend to not do it when I try to do it right after a workout. Instead, I foam roll daily for 10 minutes, usually before I settle into bed for the evening. I put on Netflix, set a timer for 10 minutes, and roll out. I focus on particular spots that were bugging me throughout the day and generally try to get all parts of my lower body rolled out by the end. Even on days that I do not run, I still have been foam rolling to keep injuries away and to be in the habit of it. I am a few weeks into it and have been feeling really good, so my hope is to keep it up during this training cycle.
I mentioned in my 2018 running goals post that I really wanted to dial in on nutrition this year. I have been doing some reading on sports nutrition, specifically for runners to figure out what foods are best for my body during a training cycle, especially before and after a hard workout. What I am realizing is that I am going to have to meal prep every week, including snacks to eat before and after I run. I usually wing my pre-run snack by finding something in my snack drawer that I have at work. While that is good here and there to do, I need to be more proactive by packing snacks, like sweet potato, that are going to give me the energy I need to push my body through a hard workout after a full day of work.
As I have shared before, I love the Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook and make a ton of recipes from the cookbook and definitely have my go-tos that I make regularly (fartlek chili! recovery quinoa salad!) and plan on trying out more recipes from the cookbook since they are geared towards runners.
Going into my previous half marathon training cycles, my end goal was to run the half marathon I was training for. This training cycle is different because I have my training planned out for the year. While I want to PR at this half marathon, I am working through this training cycle to set me up for an even bigger PR in the fall at the Detroit International Half Marathon. I then hope to take all the mileage and training from this year over to a 2019 full marathon. By having long term goals in mind, every run has a purpose for me beyond my race day in May. I am continually chipping away at my goals for the long-term, while crossing off each workout for the short-term goals.
Follow my daily training on my running Instagram account –> @brieontherun