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Run a Half-Marathon in 10 Weeks: Beginner Training Plan

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Casual Runner to Racer: One Woman's Story

Tracey Spedden, 42, a mother of two, started running after quitting cigarettes almost two years ago; she signed up for a half-marathon as a way to keep from gaining weight. "When I smoked I couldn't even run to my mailbox," Tracey admits. "I thought that if I were going to get healthy, I should go all the way and start exercising, too." But after walking most of that race, she hoped to one day run the full distance.

Tweak your schedule
Tracey's mission was to turn her walk-jog habit into a regular running routine."You can become a better runner by being consistent and slowly increasing your mileage," says Kislevitz, who had Tracey follow our beginner training plan to steadily increase her mileage over 10 weeks. "Being a wife and a mother means it's hard to put myself before my family," Tracey explains. She carved out runs by getting up an hour and a half earlier, before her husband had to leave for work.

Make it a family affair
On weekends, Tracey started taking her daughter, Kristin, and son, Shane, with her to ride their bikes alongside her as she ran. "It became quality time with the kids rather than time away from them," Tracey says. Try these other mommy-and-me tricks from Kislevitz: Let your children fill up your water bottles or time your laps if you run at a track.

Track your progress
Getting more serious with your running means knowing how much you've improved from day to day. Kislevitz suggests recording the distance and time and how you felt after each run. Tracey logged her runs on a calendar: "Seeing this every day made me realize I was getting better each week." Having those markers, like how fast your average mile is, gives you a mini goal to aim for each time you head out, Kislevitz says.

Get over the mental hump
Tracey knew she could finish 13.1 miles, but having a plan this time made her confident that she wouldn't resort to walking. She chose a new mantra every week to get her through long runs. Her favorite phrases: "The goals we set are the goals we get" and "If it were easy, everyone would do it." Kislevitz also gave her a strategy for running uphill: "Don't look up, just hunker down and take it step by step. Before you know it, you're at the top."

She did it!
Tracey's race time: 2:36:18 (11:55-minute-mile pace)

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2012.


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rbelvin18 wrote:

Ladies do the couch to 5k program first u will be surprised by the end that u can up that and will be running 3 miles in 30 mins on a treadmill then take this on. baby steps

7/29/2014 11:15:16 PM Report Abuse
momofour09 wrote:

Downloaded with excitement then saw the 3 mile run for week 2. Umm, I'm failing to see how a beginner is expected to do that. I'll keep looking around the site for something a bit easier to follow.

3/28/2014 08:33:25 AM Report Abuse
m.iannace wrote:

I love it and seems so doable. I am doing other workout programs so I will do this along with it!

2/24/2014 01:36:28 PM Report Abuse
laurawesterdaal wrote:

great story, really motivating, I would like to do a half-marathon in 9 months so have a bit longer to train but definitely need it as I have 20kg to lose

1/30/2014 12:31:49 PM Report Abuse
noodlescooz22 wrote:

If this was for beginners, then it wouldn't have you start running 3 miles in the second week.

5/2/2013 06:41:39 PM Report Abuse

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