Bare Minimum Half Marathon Training Plan: Now Available

New training plan alert! All of the training programs I’ve written so far for a half marathon, an olympic and sprint triathlon have been in the same realistic series but ya’ll have been asking me for less so to speak. Previous plans have been geared to build your fitness AND confidence to cross the finish line with a time you’ll be proud of. They are guaranteed to get you there AND fit into your life at the same time. I took a long time, like 6 months thinking about it and writing this bare minimum plan because I worry about people doing a bare minimum plan and getting injured, sore knees suck! Plus even if you plan on only ever doing one I would like you to fall in love with running and stick with it on your way to the best life for you!

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This one however is different from the rest, it does feature fewer runs a week (3 for most of the plan, 4 for the last three weeks), fewer weeks (10 instead of 12 or 16) and fewer km overall by about 180. The reason it took so long is I wanted to make sure who ever uses it is:

  • Not too intimidated to start
  • Really getting a plan with the least they can do to cross the line
  • Is well thought out
  • Isn’t likely to end up injured (this was the hard part)

I knew it would have to start and end strong, ramp up fast and probably break the 10% rule and it does and that’s what it has to do. So this plan includes some preventative physio in the schedule. About 1/2 of running injures are knee injuries another 20% are foot injuries. So those are the exercises you’ll be doing each week, sometimes twice. And… the third most common injuries are hip related, but… runner’s knee exercises target the hip to so you should be covered there too. When we do break the 10% rule it’s only by a km or two and trust me that took some juggling!

Like always, I wanted it to be a hell of a lot more than just a schedule in a chart because that’s not really a training plan! That’s how I started out and it left me with more questions than answers and led to endless late nights and googling conflicting information. Don’t get me wrong there is a schedule and a chart, but it includes rational for your workouts every week and why you’re doing what you’re doing each week and each workout! But it also explains things like injury prevention (obviously), safety tips, fuelling strategies, terminology, how to save money, a race day checklist and setting time goals! It’s 24 pages and the schedule is only 6 of those.

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Why is injury prevention such a big deal?

It’s always a big deal especially for one sport plans like running. When we talk about injuries we’re not talking about a fall or a rolled ankle, though that can happen, we’re talking about overuse injuries. These are the type of injuries that happen from doing the same thing, like running, over and over again especially while ramping up your milage too quickly. I used to roll my eyes too and just keep pushing but then it happened to me. Two years ago I developed a bad case or runner’s knee and though it’s been getting better, because I’ve been working diligently on it for the last 4 months, it’s still on my mind literally every day! You might roll your eyes and ignore me but read this hopefully funny yet accurate post about what it’s like to deal with a running injury. I get why you want to do the bare minimum I really do. You’re busy, work is long, kids are needy, other things are more fun and life right? But by the very definition of doing a bare minimum half marathon plan you are putting your risk of injury up. You’re going to be amping up your milage faster than what is considered best practices and you’re cramming it into as few days a week as possible. This is why doing a bare minimum half marathon plan makes injury a real concern. But this plan minimizes the risk of it happening to you!

Who is this plan for?

So who is this plan for well I designed to for one sort of runner in particular but I realized in the process it works for another runner too, more on that later. This plan was designed especially for that runner (or not) that wants to do one half marathon, for the challenge, for the bucket list or for the experience and probably only one. Who knows why; maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s the great social media posts it doesn’t matter really why I think I’ve figured out how to get you there as easily as possible doing this bare minimum plan. But I also have a secret covert mission, I want you to have fun too because I want you to fall in love with running a little bit! I really think that running is the easiest, most efficient way to get to your top physical shape, plus it can be a lot of fun too! That’s the person I held in the front of my mind while writing this plan but I realized it could work well for more serious runners too in certain scenarios, but it isn’t for everyone.

I realized that if a more regular or ‘more serious’ runner wanted to run a half again but wasn’t really looking to PR or wanted to travel to a must take pictures kind of race this could work too. If you got volentold to run or wanted to run with a friend attempting their first half this plan would be a great way to get your milage to wear it needs to be. Say you were running 25 – 50 km a week but not running long distances this plan could focus your training to get you over a 1/2 finish line in short order without too much extra work. You could start with a longer run a few weekends in a row and then pick up the plan at the week that most closely mimics you current weekly schedule. If your milage is high enough to start you can just do your ‘regular’ runs on the off days if you like, just remember that 10% rule! This very week I’ve dusted off my realistic half marathon training plan, opting for the get faster options inside for a 1/2 the long weekend in may I do hope to beat my old record, maybe.… I just registered today for it too! But I could see myself using this new bare minimum plan under certain circumstances too. I have a not so secret bucket list desire to run the Disney princess 1/2 and if I was given that opportunity I might bust out this new one. I wouldn’t really care about my time and I would want to stop and take SOOO MANY pictures!

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If you’re in the market for a Bare minimum half plan, whether it’s mine or not please, please, please make sure:

  • It’s more than just a schedule in a chart
  • You have some council on injury prevention
  • If you’re not a runner you start with a couch to 5k plan first, THEY ARE AMAZING!
  • You know what to do to stay safe running (check out this and this post to start)
  • Unless you are the picture of health and under 55 you check with your doctor first
  • You don’t get sucked into spending a bunch of dough on fitness gear your don’t need. No matter what anyone says there are no magic bullets
  • You talk to a few people who have run 1/2’s about your plans, we’re hiding in plain sight everywhere!

So that’s it, new plan available in my Etsy Shop now! What plan would you all like to see next? I’m thinking about adding a step-up series of plans aimed at taking you from 5k to 10k or sprint to Olympic. Thoughts? But I’m pretty sure the next one will be a 10k plan. What would you like to see next or soon?

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