3-Day Half-marathon Training Plan for Busy People

If like me, you are contemplating the idea of running a half-marathon, you may want to read this post by Jenny Hadfield. Her 16-weeks plan is perfect for busy people who are struggling finding time to train for a half-marathon.

In this post, Jenny Hadfield proposes a 3-day training plan that is perfect for busy people. The plan includes three weekly running workouts, plus two optional cross-training workouts and two rest days. Another interesting thing about this plan is that it focuses on mileage quality instead of volume. If you work during the weekends, you can do your long run during the week (e.g., switch Thursday and Saturday schedules).

Each running workout has an unique purpose that matches its colour-coded effort zone. You will run in the yellow, orange or red zone depending on the workout’s intended intensity. (Yellow is easiest; red is most difficult). Here is how Jenny Hadfield's 3-day half-marathon training program works:
Photo taken from: https://www.jennyhadfield.com/articles/the-busy-girls-half-marathon-plan/

Taken from: https://www.jennyhadfield.com/articles/the-busy-girls-half-marathon-plan/
LONG ENDURANCE RUN: These workouts help you train your body and mind to go the distance and to practice your race-day logistics (fueling, hydration, gear). Run all of your long runs in the yellow zone. 
CHILL RUN: They are performed at the same easy, yellow zone effort as your long runs, but they last only 45 minutes. 
TEMPO WORKOUT: Tempos are like sandwiches, with easy paced running at the start to warm you up and at the end to cool you down. The middle is the meat: sustained running at a comfortably-hard effort. This workout will increase your lactic acid threshold (i.e., when your legs start to feel heavy and slow). 
RACE SIMULATION WORKOUTS: These workouts allow you to practice your race pace strategy. On race day, you should start out easy and gradually increase your effort until you reach the finish line. Try to run these workouts on a terrain that mimics the racecourse (hilly, flat, dirt, paved). 
INTERVALS: Intervals improve your running economy and turnover, while revving your metabolism sky-high. The key to getting the most benefit from interval workouts it to run the final interval as strong as you did the first. To do so, you need to recover at a very slow walk or jog between each interval. 
CROSS TRAINING: The three-day training plan also includes optional cross-training days. The many benefits of cross training include improved balance, muscle strength and mobility. While preparing for your half marathon, keep all cross training in the yellow or orange zones. 


1-Minute Intervals: 10 minutes yellow zone running + 8 x (1 minute red zone + 1 minute easy jog or walk) + 4 minutes yellow zone 
2-Minute Intervals: 10 minutes yellow zone running + 4 x (2 minutes red zone + 2 minutes easy jog or walk) + 4 minutes yellow zone 
1-2-3-Minute Intervals: 10 minutes yellow zone running + 2 x (1 minute red zone + 1 minute yellow zone + 2 minutes red zone + 2 minutes yellow zone + 3 minutes red zone + 3 minutes yellow zone) + 6 minutes yellow zone 
Chill Run: 30-45 minutes yellow zone running 
Cross Train: Any non-running activity (optional) Long Run: 5-12 miles yellow zone running 
Race (Simulation Workout): 15 minutes yellow zone running + 12 minutes orange zone + 3 minutes red zone 
Rest: No running 
Tempo (Workout): 10 minutes yellow zone running + 15-20 minutes orange zone (indicated) + 10 minutes yellow zone 

Schedules like this are great for a number of reasons. For instance, if you have never run a long distance race like a half marathon, it will walk you through exactly what you need to do to train for the race. After following the schedule, when race day arrives, there is no question as to whether or not you are ready. Finally, a schedule like this keeps you motivated because you know that each day you need to lace up those running shoes and get in the allotted distance for the day.

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