Build a Better Base


Good morning, loves! Last week was pretty exciting for me. I signed up for my first half marathon. I’ve run a few races here and there over the past year, and have plenty more in the works within the next coming months, but this will be my first half. 13.1 miles of sweat, pain, and mental determination.

I approach most races with a fairly nonchalant attitude of  “I’d be happy with just finishing”. This time though, it’s different. I really want to train to the best of my ability so I can go out there, push my body to the limit (without dying, of course – that would be no bueno), and kick ass! In order to do that though, I need to prepare my body for running 13.1 miles.

I know I can do that. Once I set my mind to something, I usually accomplish it. I’m stubborn like that. 😉

In order to make that 13.1 my bitch, I’ve developed a plan. It’s nothing extraordinary or different from what any other runner would do, but it’s a plan and I’m proud of myself for thinking ahead instead of just going out there and “wingin’ it” like I usually do.

Planning = good 😀

Procrastination = bad 😦

With that being said, what is my genius plan-of-attack? Well, it’s really quite simple.

I’m going to follow Hal Higdon‘s intermediate half-marathon training plan. This is a pretty standard twelve week plan that encompasses longer distance runs on the weekends, tempo and pacing runs, a few prep races of varying distances, strength training, and some speed work for good measure.

I chose the intermediate plan as opposed to the Novice 1 or 2 because I already run 15-20 miles per week (That’s a typical week, one in which I’m NOT a lazy bum….cough…*last week*…cough, cough) and already have a semi-solid base.

What I AM going to do a little differently though, is really use these next 8 weeks to build my base. Runner’s World had an excellent article out called “Build Your Best Training Base” which emphasized focusing on building a strong base PRIOR to actually starting your training.

This is what it will look like:

Day 1
Long run 45 to 90 minutes at what coach Jenny Spangler calls “a slight level of discomfort,” or a moderate effort

Day 2
Rest, cross-train, or do a short, easy run

Day 3
Run 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate effort

Day 4
Long fartlek 3 or 4 3-minute surges at a 10-K to 10-mile effort, with 3 minutes easy running between fast segments

Day 5
Rest, cross-train, or short, easy run

Day 6
Hills 45 to 60 seconds at a hard effort; start with 4 repeats, build to 8 to 10; walk or jog downhill between repeats

Day 7

Day 8
Long run 45 to 90 minutes at an easy, conversational pace

Day 9
Rest, cross-train, or do a short, easy run

Day 10
Run 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate effort

Day 11
Short fartlek 10 to 15 minutes of 30-second to 2-minute bursts at a hard effort; recovery is equal to the duration of each fast segment

Day 12

Day 13
Rest or Run 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate effort

Day 14
Long tempo (or race): 20 to 40 minutes at half-marathon to marathon effort; 5-K or 10-K at a brisk but controlled pace


I’m going to follow this two-week block with one week of moderate runs. I will repeat the three-week sequence two or three times for a total of six to nine weeks of base training.

Did you follow that? Sounds intense, doesn’t it? It sounds like music to my ears (and shins)! Building a good base will allow me to step up my workouts when half training officially begins.

It’s kinda weird how excited I am for this. It’s gonna be AWESOME! 😀


About Running and Riley

Hello! My name is Julie. I'm a mother, working professional, aspiring runner, dancing and music addict, and general goof ball. I'm by no means a professional blogger...or writer...or photographer (wait, why am I blogging again? Just kidding!), so please excuse the many grammatical errors that are sure to appear on my little blog. I started runningandriley to chronicle some of my life's events, keep track of my workouts, and maybe inspire a few people along the way to live every day to the fullest! So welcome and I hope you join me on this journey! Love, Julie

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