Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Half Marathon Training

From MJP:
I'm currently jogging about 3 miles at a time, about 2-3 times a week. I'd like to run in the half marathon by April. My idea is to increase my mileage every other week, and do some interval training too to work on speed. What do you think and recommend?

also, I'm from Chicago, and I'm thinking of coming out for your half marathon, as a goal. What major city would I fly into, and hotel recommendations, and sites to see?


Hello, MJ

If you're going about 3 miles about 2-3 times a week, that should be enough to maintain your current state. However, if you could add a day and run 3 miles 3-4 times a week, then you'll be seeing some consistent improvement. From there, I think increasing mileage would be good. Get used to running 3-4 times a week, and then slowly add some miles in.

Your overall endurance is going to strengthened by two things - your long run, and your overall weekly mileage. The biggest factor is going to be your overall mileage. So, if you go from running 3 miles three times a week to 4 miles 4 times a week, that's not a relatively big strain, but you will be increasing your overall weekly mileage from 9 to 16.

The second factor is your long run, which is where you select one run a week to run long and steady. It's not necessary to have a long run every week, but it is a good way to get in some extra mileage, and you can use it to slowly work up to the mileage goal. Your long run can be two or three times your average run. I would start out at a six mile run, and then add a mile or two every other week.

In contrast, your speedwork is going to be shorter, mileage-wise. What you want to focus on here is good quality miles. Be sure to warm up first with a nice and slow mile, focusing on good form, and then warm down after with a good slow mile. For your core interval workout, I would start with 400s. Run a lap on the track (or, if not available, approximately a quarter mile), and then give yourself a good minute or two to rest. Run four of those with a good, strong pace, and you have a great speedwork session totalling 3 miles.

The major city here would be Portland, Oregon. Vernonia isn't too far a drive from there. There are a few nice hotels in downtown Portland, including the Hotel Vintage Plaza, and the Fifth Avenue Suites Hotel. Here's a good link:

Also, the McMenamin's family of restaurants, brew pubs and hotels are all excellent. I would recommend the McMenamin's Grand Lodge Hotel in Forest Grove, which is closer to Vernonia than Portland. Forest Grove is west of Portland, located in the heart of Oregon's wine country, and Vernonia is directly north. Here's a good page with a map link:


As for sites to see, I would half a day driving east of Portland to the Columbia River Gorge. Take the Old Historic Highway, and see the falls, including Multnomah, or go for a hike, walk, or run up the trails.
In Portland, Washington Park (and the Wildwood Trail) is adjacent to the Oregon Zoo, the Rose Gardens, and the Pittock Mansion. And, of course, Portland offers the greatest selection of beer in the world, and Oregon wine and spirits are among the best.

Bryan Westby, RD
Vernonia Half Marathon

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