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The Physicians Committee



No Meat Athlete Half Marathon Roadmap

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Veg Run Half-marathon training




Half-Marathon Plan

This half-marathon plan is from vegan marathoner and ultrarunner Matt Frazier. He's also the founder of the popular blog No Meat Athlete, where he shares recipes, nutrition and training articles, and other tools for fueling an active lifestyle with a plant-based diet.

The numbers in the table refer to the number of miles to run that day. Some days call for cross-training (X-Train) or stretching as an option. Cross-training options include swimming, cycling, elliptical machines, rowing machines, body weight exercises and plyometrics, and weight training with light weight and high repetitions. Here's a video describing a short dynamic stretching routine.

The “To Finish” Plan

Week Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
1 X-Train/Stretch 2 3 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 4
2 X-Train/Stretch 2 3 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 5
3 X-Train/Stretch 2 3 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 6
4 X-Train/Stretch 2 3 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 4
5 X-Train/Stretch 2 3 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 7
6 X-Train/Stretch 2 3.5 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 8
7 X-Train/Stretch 2 3.5 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 9
8 X-Train/Stretch 2 4 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 4
9 X-Train/Stretch 2 4 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 10
10 X-Train/Stretch 2 4.5 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 11
11 X-Train/Stretch 2 4.5 Rest/X-Train 3 Rest 5
12 X-Train/Stretch 2 3 Rest 1-2 Rest 13.1

Notes:

  • This plan incorporates only two types of runs, Easy and Long. (The Saturday run is the Long run; all others are Easy.) For the non-time-goal runner, these workouts are very similar, with the exception of length. Both types of runs are described in the Workouts section below.
  • The actual days of the week are not important; feel free to shift the schedule according to what works best for you (for example, if you'd prefer to do your long runs on Sundays rather than Saturdays, simply shift the schedule by one day to accommodate this). But try to keep the order of rest days and workouts the same.
  • The Wednesday workout each week is an option of either a cross-training workout or a complete rest day, depending on which you feel you'll benefit most from at that point in the program. If you're not sore, fatigued, or otherwise in need of a day off, I'd recommend doing some light cross-training here.
  • Weeks 4 and 8 are reduced-mileage weeks designed to give your body a chance to rest and recover. It is not recommended that you do more than is specified in these weeks.
  • Feel free to use the corresponding workout from the Fitness Plan on any day that you feel up to it, but be aware that doing so does increase the chances of an injury if you’re not accustomed to harder running.

The Fitness Plan

Week Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat
1 X-Train/Stretch 2 Interval A Rest/X-Train Tempo A Rest 4
2 X-Train/Stretch 2 Interval A Rest/X-Train Hill A Rest 5
3 X-Train/Stretch 2 Interval A Rest/X-Train Tempo A Rest 6
4 X-Train/Stretch 2 Interval A Rest/X-Train Hill A Rest 4
5 X-Train/Stretch 2 Interval A Rest/X-Train Tempo A Rest 7
6 X-Train/Stretch 3 Interval B Rest/X-Train Hill B Rest 8
7 X-Train/Stretch 3 Interval B Rest/X-Train Tempo B Rest 9
8 X-Train/Stretch 3 Interval A Rest/X-Train Hill A Rest 4
9 X-Train/Stretch 3 Interval B Rest/X-Train Tempo B Rest 10
10 X-Train/Stretch 3 Interval B Rest/X-Train Hill B Rest 11
11 X-Train/Stretch 3 Interval B Rest/X-Train Tempo B Rest 5
12 X-Train/Stretch 3 3 Rest 1-2 Rest 13.1

Notes:

  • Descriptions of each type of workout type (Long, Easy, Tempo, Hill, and Interval) are given in the Workouts section below.
  • When no workout type is specified and only a number appears, that number represents Easy-pace miles, except for Saturdays, when it represents Long run mileage.
  • The actual days of the week are not important; feel free to shift the schedule according to what works best for you (for example, if you'd prefer to do your long runs on Sundays rather than Saturdays, simply shift the schedule by one day to accommodate this). But try to keep the order of rest days and workouts the same.
  • The Wednesday workout each week is an option of either a cross-training workout or a complete rest day, depending on which you feel you'll benefit most from at that point in the program. If you're not sore, fatigued, or otherwise in need of a day off, I'd recommend doing some light cross-training here.
  • Weeks 4 and 8 are reduced-mileage weeks designed to give your body a chance to rest and recover. It is not recommended that you do more than is specified in these weeks.
  • On any workout day that you feel that some easy miles would benefit you more than a workout or a complete rest day, feel free to do the corresponding workout from the “To Finish” program.

More on the Fitness Plan

The Fitness Plan incorporates five types of workouts: Long, Easy, Tempo, Hill, and Interval.

Of these five workouts, the long run is by far the most important for reaching your goal of eventually running 13.1 miles.

While the other workouts all serve their own unique purpose, none is as important as the long run. If you have to miss one of the shorter workouts due to a minor injury, a scheduling issue, or simply not feeling up to it on a given day, I wouldn't recommend trying to rework your schedule to make it up. Enjoy the day off and move onto the next scheduled workout when it's time.

If, on the other hand, you miss a long run – for any reason other than injury – on a week where the distance increases, I'd recommend reworking the training schedule to make up that run before you try increasing the distance again. (We'll talk about what to do if you get injured later on.)

Finally, make sure that the shorter workouts are not overly stressful on your body. They should be mildly difficult and invigorating, but recovering in time for the next run should not be an issue. If it is, lower the intensity at which you perform these workouts, or even replace them with Easy runs, if that's what it takes to be ready for the next long run.

The Workouts

Easy – Easy miles should be exactly that. The purpose of Easy running is to build your aerobic base with only the most minimal stress on your body while you recover from the previous workout. You should be able to easily carry on a conversation during your Easy run. If you'd like a more objective measure of the intensity, use a heart rate monitor and keep your heart rate below 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Most people run their Easy miles too hard. Easy pace should feel really slow. If you're worried about running into someone you know, for fear that they'll make fun of you, you're probably doing Easy pace just right.

Note: Feel free to substitute another low-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling, for the same amount of time as it would take you to do the prescribed easy run.

Easy miles appear simply as numbers on the training schedule without a specified workout type.

Interval A – A “repeat” in this workout is defined as running relatively hard for 1 minute, then running at Easy pace (or walking, if necessary to fully recover) for 2 minutes.

“Running relatively hard” definitely does not mean sprinting, but speaking full sentences at this pace should be difficult. Your pace should be just slightly slower than the fastest pace you could smoothly maintain for the entire work interval. (It may take you a workout or two before you find the right pace that allows you to complete the workout.)

After a 5-minute warmup, do 6 repeats, followed by a 3-5 minute cooldown. If after any work interval you do not recover to the point of being able to easily carry on a conversation before it's time to start the next, perform the cooldown and end the workout.

Interval B – Same as Interval A, but each repeat is now 1:30 (1 minute, 30 seconds) of hard running followed by 2:30 of Easy recovery.

After a 5-minute warmup, do 6 repeats, followed by a 3-5 minute cooldown. If after any work interval you do not recover to the point of being able to easily carry on a conversation before it's time to start the next, perform the cooldown and end the workout.

Tempo A – After a 3-minute warmup, run 2 miles at a “comfortably hard” intensity. This should be significantly harder than Easy pace, but not so hard that your pace varies or you have trouble speaking in full sentences. (Tempo pace should be around 30 seconds per mile slower than your 5K race pace.) Finish with a 3-minute cooldown.

Tempo B – Same as Tempo A, but after the 3-minute warmup, run 3 miles, followed by the 3-minute cooldown.

Hill A – On a moderately-sloped hill that takes about 3 minutes to run up, run up the hill at an intensity somewhere between Tempo intensity and Interval intensity – a good indicator is that while you should be able to speak in short sentences, a conversation or even long sentences would be difficult while running up the hill. (Note that though the intensity you feel here should be greater than what you feel during a Tempo run, your actual speed will probably be slower because of the hill.)

Don't get hung up on the details: The exact grade of the hill doesn't matter, nor does the exact intensity. The point of this workout is simply to get your body accustomed to running on hills.

Once you've reached the top of the hill, turn around and jog slowly and comfortably back down (this should take you the same amount of time or slightly longer than it took to run up the hill). Up-anddown counts as one repeat.

After a 5-minute warmup, do 2 repeats, followed by a 3-5 minute cooldown. If after any work interval you do not recover to the point of being able to easily carry on a conversation before it's time to start the next, perform the cooldown and end the workout.

Hill B – Same intensity as Hill A, but choose a hill that takes 4 minutes to run up, and you’ll be doing an additional repeat.
After a 5-minute warmup, do 3 repeats, followed by a 3-5 minute cooldown. If after any work interval you do not recover to the point of being able to easily carry on a conversation before it's time to start the next, perform the cooldown and end the workout.

Long – The long run each week should be done at a very low intensity (the same as Easy), one to two minutes slower per mile than you're capable of running the distance. Just as with Easy runs, aim to be able to carry on a conversation without difficulty during long runs. See below for much more about where to do your long runs and the long run mindset.

X-Train/Stretch – Any of the cross-training exercises recommended here, or any other activity that isn't too stressful on your body. Intensity should be mild, as your focus today should be on relaxation and recovery. If you're not feeling up to it or just need an additional day off, this workout can occasionally be skipped. Light stretching and foam rolling help speed recovery.

Remember: This is the Map, Adjust It as Needed

If at any time the training feels too intense, or if you have an injury or even sense that one is coming on, by all means make an adjustment to the plan before it gets worse. There are plenty of options for adjustment, including:

  • Doing an alternative, lower-impact aerobic activity in place of Easy runs or even in place of workouts.
  • If you’re following the Fitness Plan, replacing any workout with the corresponding one from the “To Finish” plan.
  • Replacing “B” workouts with corresponding “A” workouts in the Fitness Plan, or reducing the number of repeats in any workout.
  • Skipping workouts entirely when you just need a break.
  • Shuffling around the weeks if minor aches and pains or unexpected events prevent you from following the plan exactly. For example, if the situation demands it, you could do your reduced-mileage week early and then hope to replace it with a harder week when the reduced-mileage week comes up later on.
  • Skipping a long run or an entire week and simply moving the remaining long runs back by a week or two. If you do this, you then have the option of either skipping the 11-miler or running it during the taper week. People run half marathons under both circumstances without problems, so don’t fret too much over this decision.

 



5K PLAN

10K PLAN

HALF-MARATHON PLAN

MARATHON PLAN

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