Last Week’s Workouts + How to Pick a Half Marathon Training Plan

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A recap of last week’s workouts, how to choose the best half marathon training plan and how to know if you have the right plan or not!

garmin watch at the end of a half marathon

Running watch | leggings | race day shoes (review here)


Happy Monday!! I’m am seriously exhausted today. Maizey was up last night around 3:30 and I never really fell back asleep (even though Tommy took her outside while I stayed snuggled in bed). But I’m powering through trying to stay productive and am excited to see one of my best friends for dinner tonight, who is visiting from Durham.

Tommy and I had a pretty low-key weekend since we were in the mountains last week. I went up to Blowing Rock on Tuesday to teach a social media class for the Zap running group – it was so fun to see them again! They’re such a great group of people.

On Wednesday, I got a late start on my run, did a little work, and then Tommy and I had a date night once he got into town. On Thursday and Friday, I barely touched work so I ended up working on Saturday and Sunday once I was back in Winston-Salem. I’m so grateful for the flexibility in my schedule these days! I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted after some seriously intense years with a Corporate America job + blogging + Beautycounter + a few other side hustles, cuz why not. 😉

Anyway! Here’s what’s last week’s workouts look like and some thoughts about how to choose the best half marathon training plan — and what plan I plan to use!

Last week’s workouts

  • M – 6.3 miles, 8:39 pace
    • I ran with friends for my birthday and we finished at a local coffee shop and walked home with together. It was so lovely!
  • T – 6 miles, 8:31 pace, with friends
  • W – 9 solo miles with strides at the end, 9:11 pace, on Moses Cone Manor trails
  • Th – 11.1 solo miles, 9:37 miles, on Moses Cone Manor Trails
    • I was pretty sore after this run (lots of climbing) and doing a short hike in the afternoon helped a lot! Tommy and I hiked Rough Ridge off the Blue Ridge Parkway – the views were amazing, per usual!
  • F – 6 miles, 9:11 pace – I crashed a Zap Camp run! They released their 2020 dates and I can’t wait to go back for another full camping experience! 
  • Sa – 12.2 miles, 8:19 pace, with friends
    • The last 1.5 miles were at a 7:30 pace which nearly killed me – ha! It’s funny to think I ran a full marathon at that pace but could barely hold it for 10 minutes at this stage in my training (or lack thereof).
  • Su – REST


Total Miles: 51 miles

How I feel: I was really happy with last week’s workouts since hitting 50+ miles almost seemed effortless. Granted, running on my favorite trail in Blowing Rock always makes my run go by so quickly. And, not forcing paces allowed me to run longer than I could have if I was pushing my body harder.

My calf has definitely tightened up a bit since needling last week so I have another appointment on Wednesday, but I can tell my knee is doing a LOT better even after one appointment. (My tight calf is pulling on my knee, causing range of motion issues.)

I’m also feeling like my running mojo is coming back. I had the itch this morning for some speed work so I’m planning to look at a few half marathon training plans this week. Strava is a go-to and I’ve also wanted to do a half marathon plan out of this book, so I’ll evaluate both and likely come up with my own plan.

I’m also working on writing a half marathon training plan for Tommy since he is planning to run the Mistletoe Half Marathon, his second half! (The AF Canyon Run was his first ever! He used a training plan from the race website.)

The best half marathon training plan

I don’t think there is one best training plan but rather there are so many options and you need to choose what’s right for you and where you are in your fitness level. When choosing a half marathon plan, look at your previous training and how it went.

  • Did you stick to the plan?
  • Was it challenging but not impossible?
  • Did you meet your goal on race day?
  • How close were you to reaching your goal?
  • How did you feel at the end of the training cycle? At the end of the race?

If the plan felt impossible, it’s a good indicator you need an easier plan or to repeat the plan. If it felt too easy, you never felt pushed, or you hit all your workouts, look for a more intermediate/advanced plan. That may have more overall weekly mileage, more intense workouts, increased frequency of workouts or both. The right plan will challenge you — you shouldn’t be able to do it all perfectly and easily! But, it shouldn’t leave you feeling incredibly discouraged if you can’t even come close to completing what’s written.

I used Strava training plans for over five years before I really felt like I wanted a bigger challenge with more weekly miles and more variety of workouts. That’s when I used the Advanced Marathoning plan and then eventually hired a coach and used him for three races. So, don’t feel like you always have to be searching for the next best half marathon training plan. It’s perfectly fine to repeat plans!

leggings | Brooks Launch running shoes | Patagonia coat (more color options here) | Oiselle mittens | ear band (actually a neck gaiter!)

How to choose a training plan

But what if you’ve never used a training plan before? Take a look at your weekly mileage and how long you’ve been running (days, weeks, months, years). Whatever plan you choose shouldn’t start too far off where your current running mileage is. If it feels completely out of reach (e.g. you run 10 miles a week and the plan starts at 40 miles a week), it’s not the right plan.

For brand new runners, search for beginner half marathon training plans. Hal Higdon has some good ones. If you’ve been running for a least a few years without big gaps in training, search for intermediate half marathon training plans or consider hiring a coach.

What’s your go-to half marathon training plan? How do you choose what plan to use?


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