This is the exact schedule I used last year and, considering I ran all 13.1 miles and didn't die (not even once), then it must be a winner! It was adapted from Runner's World.
Some friendly advice:
- Eat more, but not way more. It's really really easy to eat toooooo much when you're training for longer distances. It's easy to think you can just eat whatever you want since you're burning off so many calories, but be smart! I use MyFitnessPal to help me keep track of calories so that I don't go overboard.
- Drink plenty of water. Try to skip the sugary drinks (ohhhhhh the Dr Pepper fairies are so mean to me...)
- If you're hurting, take the day off. It's better to miss one or two days of running in order to let your body heal rather than missing several weeks worth because you end up with an injury.
- Don't try and do more that what's on the schedule. The first couple weeks are hard to get through, but, once your body starts getting stronger, you might think 4 miles isn't enough. Trust me, it's enough! Increasing mileage too fast can set you up for injury.
- Don't let your half marathon be the FIRST race you've ever done! Before you even start training for a half, sign up for a couple of 5ks. You'll run a whole lot faster during a race than you do on your own without meaning to. Run a few races and get a feel for what your "race pace" feels like.
- Work yourself up to doing 15-20 miles a week. Again, this will help prevent injury. This is about how many miles a week you'll start out doing with this program, so get your body ready for that kind of mileage.
- When you think you're ready to start training, do a 5 mile test run and see how it feels. **You should be able to do at least 5 miles without much distress before starting this program (according to Runner's World).**
AI: Aerobic Intervals - "You push the pace. But just a little." Basically this means just increasing your speed by enough to make you feel like you're working a little harder, but it's NOT a sprint! You'll kill yourself if you try to run this part too fast, and nobody wants that.
GP: Gentle Pickups - "At the end of your run, walk for several minutes, then slowly increase your leg turnover on a flat stretch for 100 meters (the straightaway on a track) up to the point where you start to breath hard. Hold it there for 10 to 20 meters, then gradually slow down." I consider this a sprint, but remember that you don't want to do too much too fast because that leads to injury. Walk to full recovery before you start each one.