How to Train for a Half Marathon in Under 2 Months

How to Train for a Half Marathon in Under 2 Months

Okay, so I’ll be honest here. If you’re looking to run a strong time, it’s not very possible to fit all of your training in for a half marathon in just under two months. HOWEVER, for those of you who are runners out there and DO have some solid base training (a few months at least of solid 4-5 mile runs 5-6 times a week) under your belt, than this training program may be the fit for you! Now, I wouldn’t typically suggest that you train for a half marathon in less than 2 months, however, this was not exactly an option for me as I found out I was going to run this wonderful 13.1 race just a month and a half before the actual date! If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m certainly always up for a challenge, so when I was told I was able to get a free number to run the Bay State Half Marathon, I was 100% down. Bringggg it on.
Up until September, I had been running at least 5 times a week, sometimes 4 if I was extra busy. My runs were nothing crazy, usually 4-6 mile runs. The day I found out I’d be running was on Sunday, September 15th, exactly 36 days before I’d be racing 13.1 miles to the best of my ability. Hmm, that left me just about 5 weeks to come up with a training plan full of long runs, basic runs, track workouts, strength workouts, and goal times and splits I was hoping to hit. On top of that, I knew I had a few weekends ahead of me that would pose as obstacles since I most likely would not be able to fit a run in (which turns out was the case)!
Here’s how I intended my training to go:

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 7.59.05 PM

*The Bolded columns represent Track Workout or Long Run Days!
*Click on the image to enlarge it!

So here’s a look at the resources I utilized:


oI’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again…easily the best tool I have! Some people prefer to physically write their runs into a journal. I’m more of a computer girl and I’ve been using this tool since my high school cross country days. It’s really the best way to keep track of your runs, workouts, progress, cross training, strengthening, and additional comments about your run that day. This is a great way also to keep you on track and hold you accountable for your runs!

-Set a Goal.

oYou can’t start your training until you’ve come up with a goal time for your half marathon. You want to make sure you’re setting a goal time that is both realistic and achievable, but is also a time that motivates you to train hard.

-Set a Goal with the help of McMillan Running Calculator.

oI’ve mentioned this ‘calculator’ before in past posts, but this will REALLY be your best resource when it comes to goal setting. However, this may be challenging to use if you’ve never raced any type of distance before. Fortunately, I have a few miles, 5K’s, 6K’s, and a few other random mileage road races under my belt to enter and come up with a goal pace.

oIf you haven’t raced anything before, I suggest you hit the track and race your best 1 mile, 2 miler, or 5K to the best of your ability. Use that time in the McMillan running calculator and base your goal half marathon time off of that, seeing as that is the current state of where your racing ability is at.

oOnce you’ve entered your time in, calculate the data, and then copy and paste the ‘Training Pace’s’ given onto a word document (make sure you click on ‘Cruise Intervals’ to expand those times as well). Save this document for your reference when coming up with goal paces for your track workouts*

-Write out a Weekly Training Plan and Goal Mileage.
oThis is the best way to keep track of your goals for each week as far as total mileage and track workouts go. Of course, if something comes up here and there, it’s okay to shift this around a little bit, you just want to try and stay as consistent as possible.

-Incorporate strength training into your plan at least 2-3 times a week.

What did my workouts look like?
•Every Tuesday and Thursday I hit the track
•More often than none, I would do a 3.5-4 mile easy shake out run the morning of.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 8.02.55 PM

*On Week 3, Tuesday’s workout, I had to adjust my cruise interval time based on the previous weeks 800’s. When using McMillan, you can use your actual time to come up with a goal half marathon time. My goal time was pretty ambitious (yet, worked out in the end!). Originally my 800 cruise interval pace was 3:01-3:07, So I made sure the first 4 800’s I hit in 3:19, and then I shot for a faster time for the last 4 and was able to drop down to 3:10!

Strength Training: Here’s a very simple strength routine that you can repeat 2-3x’s ☺

20 push-ups
15 dips
15 bicep curls (12.5)
1 min plank each (normal, & both sides)
15 tummy tucks (in plank position, knee to elbow)
20 push-ups
15 dips
15 bicep curls

So all of that pretty much sums up my training routine allll packed into just under 2 months! It can be done people!! With that, I ended up having a goal time of 1:36 give or take for the half marathon. Guess what I came out with?? A 1:34:24 ☺ How? Even though I may not have had the perfect training plan, I definitely took more time off that I should have on some weekends, and I definitely didn’t always feel 100%…my training somehow all came together, along with my excitement and adrenaline to produce a time that would make me happy!

Anyway, I’ll talk all about the ins and outs of my RACE day experience on another post because I don’t want to turn this one into a novel… PLEASE feel free to leave a comment OR email me with ANY questions you may have on running, my training plan, workouts, goal times, etc.! My email is ☺

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