How not to train for a half marathon

At the beginning of July I embarked on a half marathon training plan. The timing was perfect – 12 weeks between the end of Juneathon and race day. I was grumpy about following a plan, but optimistic that it would help me to do a half that I could be proud of. That was eleven weeks ago.

Today, the countdown on my phone tells me that the number of days before Folkestone is in single figures. My training can best be described as haphazard. Compare and contrast the training plans at Runner’s World and 2:09 Events (my plan was a Frankenstein’s monster of the two) with what has actually happened.

Week One – Broadly completed as prescribed. Apart from substituting the intervals for Audiofuel intervals. And doing the sessions back to front. And skipping a 3 mile run.

Week Two – Intervals, done (well I did 7 reps instead of 8 because I programmed Miles wrong). 6 miles, done. Two 3 mile sessions, done (including my first Parkrun). Little giddy dance that I’ve done a proper week’s training, done.

Week Three – The plan demanded an 8 mile easy run. I did a 10 mile (because I got my weeks mixed up) hellish nightmare of a run. My niggling knee and hip pain left me trotting along like a lame Shetland pony. A lame Shetland pony with a leg length discrepancy. Wearing a stiletto hoof. I did a 5 mile run that was equally hard and ordered a foam roller.

Week Four – After the nightmare of week three, I didn’t run for a week. I wanted to run, but wise blogging and tweeting people advised otherwise. I asked twitter to recommend me a physio and spent part of my friend’s wedding tweeting Andy from Summit Physio. An appointment was duly booked, attended and I went off with the instruction to roll my legs as much as possible (and as agonising pain allowed). I did manage a three mile run at the end of all this – woo hoo!

Week Five – Hills, 6 miles, fartlek session, 10 miler. Ha. I ran twice. For a total of 6 miles.

Week Six – It was my birthday! I celebrated with an undulating 6.5 mile canal adventure. Later that week, I did 3.5 miles and an 8 miles. The 8 miles boosted my confidence by want of me surviving it. Unfortunately, the plan asked for way more miles than that, a bit of fartleking, and some intervals. It did not mention canals or scones.

Week Seven – Should have been the same as week six, but with longer intervals (still no scones though). I nearly ran a half marathon distance, unfortunately there was a two day break between starting and finishing. Looking on the positive side, I did successfully run the ten mile route that heralded the beginning of my downfall.

Week Eight – I actually did more miles than I should have this week… Plan said 2 x 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 x 200m intervals. I did some lovely Audiofuel intervals, a 3 miler and, whisper it, 12 bloody miles! There was probably some technical reason why the mileage dropped this week, I will never know.

Week Nine – Incredibly complicated intervals, 6 miles and 4 miles or Audiofuel pyramid intervals, and a 5k? You guess correctly. The only thing I did right this week was doing a 10k race – I enjoyed this more than I expected.

Week Ten – Woke up with a scratchy throat the day after Blackpool, went home early from work the day after that, snuffled, sneezed, snotted, coughed and spluttered for the rest of the week. Dyed some wool. Could have run on Sunday, but chose to be lazy. No running was done.

Week Eleven – I stopped looking at the plan weeks ago. I am still snuffly. I’ve done 4.5 miles and 3 miles so far and we are planning to do a 9 mile canal adventure to Liverpool on Sunday. Having re-checked the plan tonight, I can say with some confidence that the plan does not include canals, taking photos of swans or eating baked goods this week.

Next week I am supposed to taper. How am I supposed to tell where the taper starts and my training ends?

Oh heck.