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May 22, 2013
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Race Training: Here’s a half marathon training plan for beginners

In the fashion world, May marks the time of year where women can begin wearing white pants. In the running world, May heralds a new fashion milestone: The shedding of the long winter running tights and warm technical shirts, which, along with hats and gloves, protected us from the winter cold and other elements. Shorts and short-sleeved shirts become the norm.

May also brings a focus to training, designed to gear up the runner for the summer road racing season. We are fortunate in Douglas County to have a variety of races in our own backyards, starting with the Run for Ohm on June 8, the Mildred’s Trail Dash on July 13, the Umpqua Ultimate 5K, 10K, triathlon and duathlon put on by the Purple Foot Gang in Sutherlin scheduled for Aug. 3, the Rotary Duck Run Aug. 24 and the new darling of Roseburg’s road racing opportunities: the Umpqua River Run Half Marathon being presented by the Friends of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Umpqua Valley on Aug. 31, during Labor Day weekend.

The half marathon is the up and coming distance of choice in American road runs. According to Running USA, 1,136 half marathons across America resulted in 1.85 million finishers in 2012. A half-marathon creates a challenge of distance and stamina without the required long training hours and expected pain of a full marathon. Every former newbie runner has perhaps experienced the delight of completing their first 5K followed by the goal of completing a 10K (double the distance, double the fun!). Once the 10K is off the bucket list, many turn to the next distance, the half marathon.

This distance requires a bit more thought process given to the training. One cannot merely show up and wing it in a half marathon. Time on your feet, as serious runners like to say, is required. Starting the first week of June, The News-Review will be publishing a beginner’s half marathon training schedule on a weekly basis in the Healthy Wednesday section that will culminate with the Umpqua River Run Half Marathon on Aug. 31.

This training schedule is modeled after the popular Hal Higdon Half Marathon training plan for beginners. The plan will incorporate some of the local fun runs listed earlier in this article that benefit worthy causes. Adding these fun runs to your training schedule allows you to contribute to these organizations — which rely on the events to raise money for their causes — and run with other runners as a welcome change from training alone (you might meet a new training partner!). You should also get a sense on where you’re at in your training for the half marathon distance. Along the way, we hope to give you some great tips on nutrition, shoe wear and other topics important to successfully achieving your running goals.

The beginner schedule should only be attempted by runners who are currently running at least 3 miles, three to four times a week. Although the training schedule is geared toward new runners to the half marathon distance, more experienced runners looking to improve their time will hopefully pick up a training tip or two. The first two weeks of the training schedule will start June 9, so for the next few weeks, keep your weekly mileage around 12-15 miles and watch for the first installment.

Sarah Agsten is a doctor of osteopathy family practitioner in Roseburg and an experienced marathon runner. She has completed 17 marathons to date, including two Boston Marathons, in 2008 and 2010. She can be reached at drsarah@familytreemc.com.


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The News-Review Updated May 22, 2013 01:24PM Published May 23, 2013 08:55AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.