I've picked my next big race, it's over a year away and is a mountain half marathon. I'm excited to have a tangible goal in front of me, and it's the kind of race I've always wanted to do, but didn't know I could do one so close to home. My big question is, how do I figure out a training schedule? I'm relatively new to running races, prior to 2 years ago I just kind of ran when I felt like it and never raced. I've trained for 1/2's before, but they've all been relatively flat road races. I've done trail runs/races, but nothing over a 6 miles, and I didn't do any specific training for those and they certainly didn't include these kind of climbs. Does anyone have any insight into when to start seriously training for it (the race is in September of 2014) and what sorts of things I should incorporate into my training besides just "long runs"? 

Here is a link to the race if anyone wants to see what I'm planning on getting myself into: http://fingerlakesrunners.org/wordpress/races/trail-runs/monster-ma... 

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Eric has a great trail half marathon training plan on trainingpeaks.com...it is heart rate based, so you need a garmin.  I've done it before, and it is a great plan, only I believe it is 12 weeks.  If you don't know how trainingpeaks.com works, you basically buy a training plan for a nominal fee, and then when you sign up you get a free calendar to apply the plan to whenever you like, starting from the day you want to start.  It even sends you your next day runs two days in advance.  All the really long runs are on the weekend.  If you have a year before, you could always do one of Eric's strength/endurance plans first, working through the beginner and intermediate, or just the intermediate.  Check it out...it is highly worth it!  A good number of people that hand out here have done the plans, so you could ask anyone...some people have actually worked with Eric in person.  Best, John

Thank John! I am working through the strengthening plan (using the book), and it's definitely helping a lot. I'll definitely look into training peaks- I do much, much better when I have a set plan in place, and that sounds like it might work well!

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