I’m training for the Auckland Half Marathon!

I am very excited to say that yesterday marked the beginning of my training for the Auckland Half Marathon! On my 26th birthday, I vowed that this year, I would accomplish all the things I’d always said I’d do but hadn’t … and running a half marathon has always been a goal of mine.

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I’ve been a runner all my life. Some of my earliest memories include running with my Dad, who is also a life-long runner. He taught me how to breathe while running and how to run at a moderate pace, but most importantly, he was a great role model for staying active and making exercise a routine part of everyday life. To this day, he and my mom always make running a priority.

Despite the fact that running has been a consistently important part of my life for, like, twenty years, I have never formally run a race. Not one. Not a 5K, not a charity walk – nothing. I’m not sure why I’ve never gotten around to it (the idea of committing to a training schedule may have something to do with it), but it seems obvious that it’s about damn time to get out there and make it happen.

While most people train for half marathons in 12 weeks, I was a bit late to sign up. I’m attempting to make this happen in 8 weeks instead. I’m not really worried about my physical capability to do this. I run 5Ks about three times a week, and have never had any problems with stamina, my joints, my cardiovascular health or asthma. It will definitely be a challenge, but I anticipate it being more mentally fatiguing than anything else – it’s hard for me to stay interested in running for longer than about 30 minutes.

I’m really excited for this new adventure, though! I’m planning to keep you guys posted on my progress as I train. Last night, I put together my training plan.

How to make a half-marathon training plan

Though I’ve never done a half marathon myself, I am an avid follower of quite a few running/healthy lifestyle blogs. I did a preliminary Google search of half-marathon training plans, but in my heart I knew I was going to do whatever Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point had done for her own training. I’ve been following Caitlin’s blog for about two years now, and I love reading about her workouts, thoughts on body image, life, etc. She has run a bunch of half marathons and seems to take a moderate approach to healthy living as a whole, so I’m excited to have based my own training plan off of her recommendations.

Caitlin recommends Hal Higdon’s training schedule, so I used that as a template for building my own plan. Hal’s training plan is built on a 12-week time frame, though, so I had to make a few adjustments. Here’s my training schedule:

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A few things I kept in mind when creating my own training plan:

  • I have to continue with yoga while training. It’s important to me to do yoga on a regular basis, and I also know that running can negatively impact flexibility, as it works the same muscle groups over and over again. So I switched out a few short-mileage days and cross training days for yoga.
  • Cross training can encompass anything from swimming to cycling to power walking. Because I don’t have access to a pool here in Auckland, I decided to focus on cycling on my cross-training days. The only exception is Week 1, as I will be spending that weekend in Sydney. I figured power walking would be the best option while I’m away.
  • I added days of tempo running (marked in green). Tempo running is essentially speed-cognizant running. The runner starts off at a slower-than-average pace, then spends a period of time running faster than his/her time goal. These tempo running days are the only instances in which I plan to think about my pace. I’ll do a few of them to challenge myself, but I’m not focusing on speed as a general rule. This is my first race – I’m more concerned with finishing than with pace.

So there you have it. I can’t wait to hit the gym/streets in the coming weeks! Wish me luck!

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