Fall Training Plan

Oh my gosh half marathon.

I created a training plan for my first half marathon, came in under my goal time, and shared how I prepared for it. Now it’s time to get a new goal and come up with a new plan!

Are you sick of me talking about running yet?

Just one more post and I’ll stop the running chatter and share a chocolate cake, bread, or cookie recipe with you. Deal?

The new plan comes with a fairly large goal which many have told me is impossible. Although I’ve been discouraged and not as motivated to get this going as I was with my last race, I’m positive that sharing this plan with all of you will give me the accountability I need to get my butt in gear!

The details

Race: Last Chance Half Marathon

Date: November 13, 2011

Goal time: 1:59:00 (cut 15 minutes from my previous race time)

Weather conditions: cold with a chance of snow

The training plan

I’ve built up my base and am hopefully past all the knee issues I dealt with during my last year of training. As a result, I’ve kicked up the intensity a notch.

Interval training

I’ll be doing Tempo, Fartiek, and Hills combinations twice a week. These runs help to teach my body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently and in turn, will increase my lactate threshold [the point when my body fatigues at a certain pace].

During any exercise, lactate and hydrogen ion are released into the muscles. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you are, the more you’re able to push yourself and the better your muscles become at using the acid. The result is less acidic muscles that can keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster.

These tempo runs help me push to that threshold and teach my muscles how to manage at higher speeds. This is going to be key if I want to cut off 15 minutes from my race time.

Tempo runs

Using the pace in the table above, I’ll begin each tempo run with a 1km warm up and end with a 1km cool-down.

  • Week 1: 3 minutes tempo pace 1 minute jog in between
  • Week 2: 4 minutes tempo pace 1 minute jog in between
  • Week 3: 5 minutes tempo pace 90 second jog in between
  • Week 4: 20 minutes tempo pace
  • Week 5-10: 1 km warm up tempo pace to half complete total distance, jog for 5 minutes, repeat


Coming in at week 7, I’ll be doing 2 km warm-up, 1 km cool-down. 500m hard using pace listed above, 500m walking. Repeat until 1km left on the clock, then cool down.


Using the pace in the table above,

  • On the treadmill #1: Warm up for 10 minutes. Peak at 4% for 1 km with build up and down to 1%. Run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute.
  • On the treadmill #2: Warm up for 10 minutes. Alternate between large hill and interval hill – 4% for 100m then 1% for 100m etc.
  • Outside: Warm up for 1 km. Find a hill and run up and down for the required distance. Run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute.

Steady and LSD training

Steady runs are the middle men between tempo and LSD runs (below). They help to strengthen and challenge your aerobic system, but shouldn’t tire you out. For marathon training, steady runs help to increase the total amount of quality miles an athlete can run before they become fatigued.

The LSD run should be done slowly to minimize fatigue and risk of injury. Generally speaking, it should be ~20% slower than race pace.

LSD runs:

  • Help your joints and muscles adapt and build your endurance
  • Teach the body to run efficiently
  • Allow your body to burn fat as a source of energy.
  • Enhance the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to your muscles
  • Teaches your body to store more energy as glycogen in your muscles

Steady runs

The plan is to follow the required pace and km in the table above and use a run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute interval to avoid injury.

LSD (long slow distance)

Keep up to the required pace and km in the table above using a run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute (walking should be pace = 7:23min/km) interval to avoid injury.

Strength training

My trainer has put together an amazing program for me! We went through it yesterday and I nearly died… in a good way. The main focus is:

  • Massively strengthen core
  • Focus on glutes
  • Build stability muscles
  • Exercises I can do at home if need be

It’s absolutely perfect. You can checkout the pdf version here.


Uh-oh this may have to be it’s own post. Maybe I lied about limiting my running chatter.

In a nut shell, here are some areas I’m going to improve on:

  • Increasing complex carbohydrates
  • Moving fat consumption to about 25% of total intake (right now it’s at about 35% if I had to guess. I love my coconut oil, what can I say?)
  • Taking a calcium-magnesium supplement to support muscle contraction and relaxation (supplement to be 600mg calcium:400mg magnesium after exercise and before bed)

Okay… time to jump in the pool.

Have a fabulous Saturday :)

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  1. It’s all the running chatter on blogs like yours that have led me to my first 10K run in Stony Plain just this morning :) Keep it up!!! Now that I have one race under my belt I am thinking about training for a half for next year! I love hearing about other people’s training plans! Hope there’s not too much snow for your half LOL!

  2. I never get sick of hearing about running :) I’m training for a half next weekend and Chicago in Oct so running is pretty much my life right now. It seems like all I ever do is run, shower and sleep! haha

    Under your goal time is awesome! Looking forward to more about your training.

  3. Leanne, reading your post has inspired me to get back to running and set new goals for myself. I did a walk/run program last year and finished the Philly Marathon but then couldn’t really get back into a grove with my running. After looking at your ambitious training plan, I got pumped to start one of my own! Good luck and happy running. :)

  4. You are so organized, Leanne! Very impressive. Wishing you all the best with your knee and the Half Marathon training. Here in Dubai, the race season is only starting in October. I have signed up for one 5k, three 10k, and two Half Marathons so far. But no training plan in place yet. Still waiting for the temperatures to drop and the humidity (the biggest killer when running) to go away…. Hopefully by the end of September….

  5. I would never tire of running chatte :) I love how detailed and informative your plan is! Super helpful to me because I know that diversity is the best way to get better – but sometimes I have trouble accepting a slow run. I’d say an LSD run, but 5.5 miles is hardly long in comparison to a half :P You’re going to rock it, girl!

    • hehe neither would I. I could talk about it allll day. Honestly, once you get past the 9.3 mile mark, you’re just weeks away from half marathon distance. I have a hard time accepting slow paces too. I get into the groove and then realize I’m going too fast.

  6. Wow that’s a detailed training plan and I know you’re going to be a rockstar in the process to achieving your goal! Can’t wait to follow your progress. I admit, I am not a “training plan” girl…I am totally wing it, which works for me, but I know some people like plans…and can stick to them. You go girl!

  7. Looks like you’ve got everything under control!! I ran a half in June and haven’t felt much like running since. My goal is to get back into it! Good luck with starting training :)

    • Gosh, I can totally relate. I’ve found it so challenging to get back to the gym since completing my last race.

  8. I love anything and everything about running :) Specially since I’m new to running myself! I hope to accomplish it by next summer for sure.