It’s half time! Finding the perfect training plan

By Megan Cox

It’s time! Time to get down to business. Time to get super serious about running. Time to start planning my next 20 weeks (give or take) of training for a half marathon.

So far I’ve entertained you with stories about training in the past, finding shoes and equipment, preparing my muscles for running after a second pregnancy, and actually getting up and started. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been logging time on the treadmill and performing toning exercises to get myself back to running 3 miles at a comfortable, steady pace.

I’m thrilled to tell you that I’m finally there.

As exciting as this milestone is, I know the steps get harder from here on out. After running after a two-year-old and caring for a new baby, most days I’m just trying to survive from one kiddo’s naptime to the next. That’s why taking on a half marathon is such a challenge. It’s also the reason I’ll be beyond happy when I get to my end goal—the Dallas Half Marathon in December.

The process of selecting a half-marathon training plan is rather complex. There are several factors to consider. First of all, time is a big issue for me. With two little ones and my writing workload, there’s not much downtime, so I’ve got to make every second count.

Also, I’ve previously suffered from IT band injuries on both legs, so I need to train efficiently and safely. I may have been running for years, but I’m a little out of practice. Finally, I will be alternating between running on the treadmill and outside, and most of my shorter runs will be completed inside—at home or at the gym (which has a convenient childwatch).

That’s quite the wish list.

But I’ve got a few places to begin my search. I’m especially loving the plans featured on this site,, with 12-, 16-, and 20-week training plans available. I’m partial to the 16-week plan, which promises me only 4 training runs a week. That seems doable, even with my busy schedule.

If my goal were to break through a time barrier, Runners World has a list of half-marathon training plans that might do the trick. Something that appeals to me, but that I won’t worry about for this race, is breaking the 1:45 mark. For my upcoming race, my goal is 2 hours, give or take (and I’m hoping that’s not out of the ballpark!), even though I ran my first half-marathon in 1:48. But I have to remember what my body’s been through recently and give it a bit of break!

Also, I do love Hal Higdon’s plans, as I used one for my full marathon in 2008 and was happy with the outcome. But his half-marathon plan is very time intensive. That was fine for my pre-mommy days, but it may just make me crazy now!

Anyway, I’m going to give this search some time and select carefully. As excited as I am to start, I also know this is a pretty big undertaking. If you have any suggestions (training plans, time management, potty training?), let me know!

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

One thought on “It’s half time! Finding the perfect training plan

  1. I have IT band issues and have had them now for about 4yrs. I’ve done 3 half marathon’s, but keep having issues. The pain would normally start around mile 10, but now it is here after doing 3-4 miles. I want to start training for a half in the Fall, but I am in so much pain. Can you tell me what you did for your IT band? Any help would be appreciated.

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