#CLEMarathon half training – week 1

screenshot of a phones lock screen. An alert has popped up that reads "Half marathon training starts tomorrow"

This is it, the beginning of my half marathon training! I’m following a slightly modified Hal Higdon Novice program. The Higdon program is a bit low on mileage, compared to a lot of other training plans. I chose it because I still have occasional niggling glute pain, which made me very nervous and cautious in getting ramped up, and my base is not what it should be. With this in mind, my main goal for my first half marathon is to feel good. If I could feel good and come in at under 2 hours and 15 minutes, that would be a sweet bonus.


You can view the unadulterated plan here, but it basically consists of doing the following each week:

  • 1 day –  long run (starting at 6.5 km, gradually going up to about 17 km)
  • 1 day – shorter run (starting at 5km, going up to 9 km)
  • 1 day – shorter run (3-4 km) and strength training
  • 1 day – stretching and strength training
  • 1 day – cross-training (eliptical, cycling, or brisk walking in a pinch)
  • 1 day – either a short run (4 or 5 km) or cross training

Yup, that’s six days a week. Eek! I’m a little worried about fitting it all in, but lots of people with busy lives do it, so I need to make a solid effort!  This will be especially hard when I’m on the west coast for three weeks, though running in California sounds like a total dream about now.

Anyway, that’s the plan! So how did week 1 go?

(PS I’m not a bodybuilder, I know how many days are in a week! Because of some family commitments, I needed to get the ball rolling on Saturday this once. I will usually go Sunday-Saturday)

Saturday – 6.75 km – Woke up to a sore throat and a lot of falling snow. “Work with what you’ve got,” is officially my training mantra. We were visiting my inlaws, and my husband mapped out a pretty fun route through a park I’d never visited. We were out the door by 8 AM, and the snow and cold weren’t too bad! The snow kept falling all day, and my sore throat didn’t get any better, so I was very glad we got this done early.

I am standing in the driveway of my inlaws' house in winter running gear. Everything is very snowy, and I do not look very excited.

Day 1! Ready to rock in Cambridge. I look ready to rock, right?


Sunday – Gym/strength training –  An evening gym visit with a friend. Stretching and sit ups, and a bunch of lower-body machines. I was feeling pretty low energy, but had convinced myself I had allergies.

Monday –  4.6 km run – Nope, definitely a cold. I left the office early and finished up my chat reference shift from the couch (love you, VR!). Managed to kick myself out the door for a short run, promising myself I could run 2k and go home. But by the 2nd kilometer I was way less miserable, and I managed to do just under 5k. The worst part was how slippery the packed snow was on many streets–precisely the thing to irritate ye olde strain.

Tuesday – nada – Tuesday was my planned rest day, and rest I did.

Wednesday – 4.4 km & yoga – The snow is still unshoveled in front of a lot of houses, and the slipping and sliding really hits my bad glute. Hello, pigeon pose.

Thursday – Gym/cross-training – Stretching, a few machines, and 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

Friday – 5 km – I was running on pretty tired legs by the third kilometer:

Screenshot of Strava, a tool which captures data from my running watch. The screen displays my pace for each kilometer of a run. This one has an average pace of 6:55/km

Slow poke me.


Total kilometers for the week – 20.75 km. This is up by 4 km from last week, and my old injury knows it.

Hard parts? I have a beginner’s the enthusiasm to take me through the six-days-a-week thing for now, but having a cold early on tempered that. My old injury is definitely still flaring up a bit after slippery runs. It’s not that it hurts much, but that I worry it’s a sign of worse to come. More stretching, more strength training, less snow, please.

Best parts? My husband is training too! We don’t run together (he’s much faster), but we do push each other to get out there. Last night I knew I needed to get my 5k in, but my heart wasn’t in it. It was so cold! We had a great bottle of wine just sitting there! A new season of House of Cards was on Netflix! But he rightly prodded, “We’re going to feel soooo good after we go for a run,” and out the door I went. And of course he was right. There’s nothing like stretching out and really feeling like you’ve earned it.

A photo of a man running on a snowy street. His back is to the camera, he is about 10 to 15 paces ahead of the photographer.

Jonathan: frequently a few steps ahead of me.


Eleven weeks to go, y’all.

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