Want a foolproof recipe for half marathon success? Mix running with walking! Whether you’re currently walking and want an extra challenge, or if you already run but desire to go farther and recover faster, this method is the perfect way to reach your dreams.
We’ve included two different half marathon plans for you to choose from based on your current fitness level and personal goals. The first program, “Walk-Run,” is best for walkers who want to try running to improve fitness and muscle tone. The walk-run intervals in this plan remain consistent throughout (one minute of running and three minutes of walking). The second program, “Run-Walk,” is for women who currently run-walk or who run shorter distances. Run-walk workouts are running-focused and intervals vary to improve performance and speed.
Are You Ready?
Before you get started, look at “Week 1” of the plan you would like to follow. Does your current workout regimen match that first week? If you are not quite there yet, don’t sweat it. Simply invest in a four- to six-week build up to get ready to start half marathon training. Jumping in before you’re prepared increases your chances of injury and fatigue. Why risk it?
“A” for Effort
If you are all set to go, it’s time to get in touch with your perceived effort levels. This plan will ask you to perform easy workouts, moderate workouts and hard workouts—and sometimes you’ll combine all three into one session. When we say “easy,” we mean it. This is an effort level where you feel great and can talk fluidly without stopping for air. A “moderate” effort level is slightly more challenging. You can hear your breathing, but you’re not gasping. A “hard” effort level is tough! When you’re in this zone, you can’t talk, your breathing is rapid and your body feels uncomfortable.
Run anywhere with real-time pace and distance.
[Source: Women’s Running Magazine – WomensRunning.com ]
For every single workout, make time to warm up and cool down with 3 to 5 minutes
of brisk walking. “Walk-Run 3/1” means: walk 3 minutes, run 1 minute and repeat until finished. Similarly, “Run-Walk 4/1” indicates: run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute and repeat until finished.
Easy Effort Workouts (EZ)
Train at an easy, conversational effort level for the length of time indicated.
Endurance Workouts (E)
Perform these long run-walks at an easy effort level. While your pace will be easy, the workout is more difficult due to its length.
Race Rehearsal Workouts (RR)
This challenging workout is your chance to practice race-day pacing. Run the first third of the workout at an easy effort, the second at a moderate effort and the third at a hard effort. (If the workout is 60 minutes, the first 20 will be comfortable, the second 20 minutes will be less comfortable and the final 20 minutes will be outside your comfort zone). Stick with the same run-walk intervals throughout the workout, but change your pace. Walk-runners should concentrate on pushing harder during the walk portion, keeping the run at a steady pace. Run-walkers should push the running portion, keeping the walk at a steady pace.
Speed Intervals Walk-Run (SI W-R)
Warm up with 5 minutes of brisk walking. Perform 16 minutes of Walk-Run 3/1 at an easy effort to warm up further. Repeat the italicized pattern 6 times: Run 30 seconds at a moderate pace, walk 1 minute at an easy pace to recover, then walk 2 minutes at a brisk pace. Finish with 5 minutes of easy walking to cool down.
Speed Intervals Run-Walk (SI R-W)
Warm up with 5 minutes of brisk walking. Perform 15 minutes of Run-Walk 4/1 at an easy effort to warm up further.Repeat the italicized pattern 5 times: Run 2 minutes at a moderate pace, walk 1 minute at an easy pace to recover, then walk 2 minutes at a brisk pace. Finish with 5 minutes of easy walking to cool down.
Cross Training (XT)
Perform non-running activities, such as cycling, swimming, strength training or Pilates, for the time period indicated. Cross training increases fitness without putting stress on taxed muscles.
Don’t do anything active. This is your body’s much-needed chance to recover.