This Runner's Trials

8 week half marathon training plan

It’s been 3.5 long months since I raced hard. And it’s been even longer than that since I did speedwork. I’m glad I took some time off, but I'm getting bored.

I miss following a training plan and changing the colors of the font when I complete the runs. I miss grimacing whenever I stand up because my butt hurts. I miss doing mile repeats and wondering if it’ll be my legs or lungs that give out first. I miss it all.

Luckily, my need for speed is coinciding with someone else’s waning interest in nursing. The sessions are getting shorter, and I’ve had a boost in energy as a result. Wohoo!

I didn’t start my “how long will it take for me to get in half shape?” scheming until last week. Unfortunately, there’s no way I’ll be ready to race the Clemson half marathon in three weeks (but I’ll probably run it anyway). And I really, really don’t want to do the Charlotte Racefest half again. It stands as my PR race, but my hamstrings still hurt from that course 11 months later, so that half is not happening (though the 10k might).

Those are basically the only two halves around here for the spring. So, obviously, I searched for NJ races and what do you know? One of my favorite races is the first weekend in May!


The half version.

I ran the Long Branch half as my first half marathon in 2006, so it holds a special place in my heart (aww). Plus, it has beautiful ocean views and a rocking elevation profile.



It’s a pricey half though, and I’m really not sure if 8 weeks will be enough time for me to get back in racing shape. If I’m going to spend so much money on the race (plus the plane ticket), I really want to race it. I almost hit “submit registration” a bunch of times this week, but I kept getting cold feet.

Then the race announced a discount code on their facebook page (it’s good until March 15, so go sign up!). Then I found out my family is getting together for another event the same day as the race, so it’d be a good time to visit anyway. Then I had a good confidence-boosting run on Saturday.


Then USAirways said they’d comp my plane ticket. No, not really.

Game on Long Branch half marathon. I’m going to dominate you.


Training is going to be interesting. Endurance wise, I’m in half shape because I just ran a half two weeks ago. But my speed is not there at all. I was faster last year at 3 months postpartum than I am now at 15 months postpartum, which makes me feel awesome about myself.

I’m not sure if it’s really possible to PR after doing speedwork for only 8 weeks. But I’m willing to give it a try!


Now if I could just find a way to stick with yoga and start lifting over that time span, I’d be set.

How do you train? Do you build endurance first then focus on speed? The other way around? Both at the same time?

Comments (15) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Hi Jen! Do you just use Excel for your workout plans? I’ve been trying to figure out how to record my workouts so I can see my progress. Thanks!

  2. Love how you said you were going to dominate!!! Whoop! You sure are… :)

  3. Hey Jen! You can do it! 8 weeks is plenty of time! I can not wait to see how training goes!
    PS Just a side note… my brother works for Charlotte running company who puts on Charlotte Racefest! They are an awesome company, and we have talked his wife (my sister in law) to run her first half there this year! She has never run before. She is sticking to a training schedule and I am so proud of her!
    Anyways… I can’t wait to hear more!

  4. woo hoo! I KNOW you will rock it. I am glad it all worked out with the timing!

  5. Ooh, I’m so excited for you! You can definitely make some good progress in 8 weeks… I know that feeling of missing the hard speed sessions. Can’t wait to follow your training!

  6. Check out, you can choose from 100 classes and practice yoga anytime. Plus they have restorative yoga classes, remember when you wished for yoga that focuses on calves and shoulders.. they have it there… ! good luck

  7. I’m also doing a half that weekend! I won’t be nearly as fast as your slow time would be :) BUT I am going to train by continuing long intervals + squats and kettlebells.

  8. random question: what garmin is that? My is about to die (craps out after 3 hours), and I have a marathon on Sunday. I do not run my marathon in under 3 hours (I wish!), so I’m in panic mode!

    Doesn’t it feel great to sign up for a race! woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. YAY!!! I’m doing it too!
    P.S. I am loving that Garmin. I got it the other week and it was love at 1st start button :)

  10. Hi! I just ran across this blog because I am in the EXACT same position. Exact same shape (sans baby) and exact same time of training. I was googling workouts for an 8 week training plan that would help get me faster and came across this! Ha! So I will be “running” with you if you don’t mind!

  11. Hi! I stumbled on your blog on a google search and couldn’t believe your name! I’ve never seen my name spelt the same on another person haha. I’m going to run my first half in August in Alberta, Canada and it’s nice to know there’s another Jenilee out there training for major runs as well! Good luck with all your future races!

  12. I know this post was a while ago but what I have heard is endurance first then speed work! Now that I think about it, we had a similar plan like that for swimming and it worked well but I have yet to try it for running-I’m a newbie at distance running so I stick to endurance and just finishing the races at this point :) hope it went well!

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