The half marathon covers 13.1 miles, allowing runners of varying abilities to participate in the event. Following a specific training schedule leading up to the event prepares your mind and body for the demands of the race. As race day approaches with one week left in training, your workout plan switches gears to recovery and maintenance mode so you start the race at 100 percent.
Your workout schedule for the week before a half marathon depends on which day of the week — Saturday or Sunday — the race falls. For example, a Sunday race day has a workout schedule that starts on Monday, whereas a Saturday race day starts the workout schedule on Sunday. Throughout the week, you will perform a variety of rest days, easy runs, cross training workouts, strength training workouts and interval runs that gradually decrease in intensity as race day approaches.
A typical workout plan for the week before a half marathon starts with a strength training workout and stretching routine on Monday, according to Hal Higdon, elite running coach. Tuesday's training involves a 3- to 5- mile run followed with a 30-minute tempo run Wednesday. The tempo run is designed to train your “race pace” that you plan on running during the half marathon. Thursday's training is a 2- to 3-mile easy run, and Friday and Saturday are rest days before the race on Sunday.
With two to three rest days in the week before a half marathon, you might be tempted to perform additional running and cross-training workouts. The built-in rest days are designed to allow your body to recover before the race. Trust your training from the previous weeks and know that those workouts have prepared you physically and mentally for the upcoming demands of the half marathon. Use the rest days on the Friday and Saturday before the race for travel, race expos and overall recovery.
Nutrition is a major component to your workout plan and training schedule before the half marathon. During the majority of your half marathon training, your nutritional breakdown consisted of a mix of calories coming from carbohydrates, protein and fat. As race day approaches, increase your carbohydrate intake to about 60 to 70 percent of the total calories. The “carb loading” fills your glycogen stores that provide energy and improve performance during the race. Focus on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables for the majority of your additional carbohydrates.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.