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Half-Marathon Training Week 6: Sign Up for a Race!

For the past 5 weeks, you have been putting in a great effort to get in the best shape of your life.  Think about showing that off that hard work to friends and family over Thanksgiving break by signing up for a local race.  A lot of cities host 5k “Turkey Trots” on Thanksgiving morning.  Not only can you invite your friends to come run with you, but most races offer tasty snacks afterward.  If you sign up for a race on Thanksgiving, and you intend to run hard, substitute the race for the track workout this week. 
If you are unable to sign up for a race over Thanksgiving break, there are plenty of races in the upcoming months that could fit the bill.  Check out the website http://www.runningintheusa.com/  to see if there are any races near you. 
If you sign up for a race, there are a few pre-race things to remember:

  • Two nights before the race is considered “critical night.”  With all the nerves the night before the race, there is no chance of getting sleep.  Make sure to rest up two nights before so you aren’t running on empty.
  • The night before the race, don’t be afraid to carbo-load.  However, do it appropriately.  If your race is a 5k, you don’t need to eat a pound of pasta.  A side dish of pasta will give you enough energy for the 3.1 mile course.  On the flip-side, the night before a half marathon may call for a full plate of pasta (as well as an extra helping!). 
  • Before the race, eat something!  Your body needs some energy to get you through the race.  Be sure to eat something you are familiar with.
  • Have extra clothes for your warm up and dry clothes for after the race.  By changing out of your wet workout clothes, you avoid the risk of getting sick. 
  • Have fun!  You wouldn’t want to run a race if you weren’t enjoying it!

Week 6

  • Keep up the hard work, and run six days again this week.  Three of the days, you should vary your runs between 4 and 5 miles. Pick out one day to do a track workout.  Run easy for 10 minutes to let your body warm up.  After the warm up, run an 800 (two laps) hard around the track.  Take a two minute break.  During this break you may want to walk or jog to keep your body temperature up.  Repeat this process four times.  After the repeats, finish with another 10 minutes to let your body cool down.   The day after the workout, take an easy, 3 mile run to combat the soreness.  The final run of the week will be a longer distance run reaching 7 miles.  Remember, you do not need to set any records with this run.   
  • Don’t worry about cross training this week.  You are exerting a lot of energy through the speed workout.  Only cross train if something is hurting and you need to take some pressure off your legs.
  • Since it is Thanksgiving week, you most likely won’t have access to the gym.  Instead, try to keep up your fitness with sets of pushups, abdominal exercises.  Some additional home exercises could include prolonged wall squats, lunges without weight, and donkey kicks. 
  • More than ever, your body needs a day of complete rest and relaxation. After all, that is  what Thanksgiving Break is about.


  • Despite the break from school, keep plugging along with six days this week.  Four of the runs should be easy 5 mile runs.  Similar to the beginner’s workout, you are going to do 800 meter repeats on the track.  After jogging easy for 10 minutes, do 2 laps (800 meters) at a hard pace.  Take two minutes to recover, but be sure to keep your body moving.  However, you are going to repeat this process five times.  Try to keep all of the hard repeats around the same pace.  After the workout, be sure to do a cool down jog for 10 minutes.  The following day, take it easy for a 4 mile run.  Shoot for a longer fifth run around 8 miles.  Keep the pace easy. 
  • Like above, only cross train if something is bothering you physically.
  • Since access to the gym may be difficult over break, try to include some plyometric exercises.  Draw an imaginary line on the ground.  At 30 second intervals jump forward and back, side to side. Squat down to the ground, touch the ground with your fingers, then explode up with a hop.  A final suggested exercise starts in lunge position, bend both knees, and scissor to land with the opposite foot in front.  Repeat each exercise three times. 
  • It is important to let yourself recover with a day off. 


  • Try to run 6 times this week.  Two of your days will be easy 5 miles runs, and the third easy day will be 6 miles.  Like the track workouts listed above, you are going to do an 800 meter workout.  Take 15 minutes to jog and let your body warm up.  Once on the track, you will do 6-8 repeats of 800 meters at a 10k pace (refer to the pace calculator).  Actively rest for two minutes between each interval.  After the workout is completed, finish with 15 minutes of cool down jogging.  The day following the workout, take an easy 4 mile run.  The final run for the week will be a long 9 mile run.  Although this is a mile longer than last week, you should be able to keep a faster pace than last week. 
  • Since the gym isn’t a reality this week, try to keep up your strength exercises by doing a mixture of free-weight and plyometric activities.  Perhaps try a circuit starting with 30 seconds of front to back jumping (over an imaginary line).  At the end of 30 seconds, follow with 30 seconds of squats.  Switch to side to side jumping for the interval, and then follow with lunges.  Feel free to integrate upper body exercises (tricep dips, pushups, etc) and other exercises you enjoy.  Try to make your circuit last for 10 minutes.
  • Be sure to take a day off from physical activity.  
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