Half Marathon Training for Fall 2014

I read an article in the latest Runner’s World about training with faster friends to run faster races. I completely agree with their take in the article–training with faster people is one of my 7 tips for increasing your running speed!

The article included a half marathon training plan and 2-3 runs a week are designated as “fast friends” days where you should run with people who are faster than you to push you. I typically don’t pay much attention to training plans in magazines since there are so many variables, but this one really caught my eye and I started following it this week.

I couldn’t find the training plan online but the general gist is this:

  • M – 30 minute easy run with 5 strides
  • T – speed work with fast friends
  • W – 45-55 minute recovery run or rest
  • Th – Tempo run with fast friends
  • F – rest
  • S – 40-60 minute easy run
  • Su – long run, alternating weeks with easy and tempo runs with fast friends

Today’s tempo run and Tuesday’s interval session were tough, and not just because of the crazy humidity here. The workouts included 10-20 of minutes warm-up running and a 10-20 minute cool-down which ups the overall mileage I’m putting in.

Tuesday’s workout was 6×4 minute repeats at 10K pace (~6:55 for me) with 1:30 recovery in between plus a 20 minute warm-up and a 15 minute cool-down. I really enjoyed this workout, but I lost track and I’m not sure if I did 5 or 6 repeats! Whoops!

Today’s workout was a tempo run with 3 miles at goal half marathon pace. I was aiming for a 7 minute mile on the tempo but really struggled with pacing. I was either running 6:30 or 7:30. I kept surging and then backing off which drained me.

But, hey, at least I was rewarded with some amazing views! I love the morning fog all along Reynolda Road, Graylyn Estate and the Reynolda House.



I ran across the quad at Wake Forest University about half way through my run – it was so quiet and peaceful. It’s really a gorgeous campus.


I need to track down some fast friends to run with – the article recommends finding people who are no more than 5 minutes faster than you in a half.  John is faster than that, but I think he can be talked into running with me. 😉

I’ll keep posting about my training but let me know if you have any specific questions! I’ve lost count of how many half marathons I’ve run, but I definitely remember what it was like approaching my very first one  over 10 years ago. I ran it in 1:57, and my current PR is 1:34. I never ever, ever thought I’d run a half marathon faster than 1:55. If I can improve my PRs, anyone can.

My upcoming races:

Do you train with “fast friends”?

Do you like following training plans or do you wing it?

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  • lauren @ sassy molassy

    Most of my ‘fast friends’ are significantly faster than I or just don’t live within 5 miles or so, so I end up running alone. However, I keep telling myself I want to push MYSELF harder on runs, but when it comes right down to it, at 6 a.m. all I feel like is just running my usual pace. I do love the idea though and know that when I run with friends my speed or a bit faster, I always push it more than I would on my own.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      I’ve found that running at the track (where there are usually other runners) will get me to push myself! Maybe try that!

  • Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.com

    When I moved to Winston and began running with my morning group, I got worlds faster! I have no idea how much because those were pre-garmin days, but I can tell you it was drastic!

    I miss those group runs like crazy! A few of them were super speedy, feel free to email me if you want their info! [email protected]

  • Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out

    I love the Wake campus! My best friend is from Winston and I love visiting!!

  • Caroline

    I live right next to Wake, so I’ve been running through campus and the Reynolda trails. I haven’t checked out Graylyn yet though. Is there a good running path at Graylyn?

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      There isn’t a path – I just run on the main road that cuts through it. It’s short, but pretty. I usually run from Buena Vista through Graylyn and out to Reynolda/Wake. Let me know if you want more details!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed

    I love foggy mornings! Beautiful 🙂

  • Laura walls

    High country half is lovely!!! Ran it a few years ago and was very glad I did!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      oh nice! I’m so glad to hear from someone that has run it since I had never heard of it! 🙂

  • Meg

    Goooooorgeous. That’s one of my favorite loops – when I worked at Wake, I’d run from there thru Graylyn up to Arbor/Oaklawn and back. It makes me happy to run from campus to scenic area to oogling pretty real estate. I was just thinking how much I miss having a running buddy. My problem is finding someone who is SLOW enough to run with me, since I run w/ 45 lbs of stroller/kid now. Do you know of any groups / facebook pages in WS to look for running buddies?

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      Join the Twin City Track Club Facebook group! I see postings on there a lot about people looking for training partners. I also saw this in the latest TCTC Newsletter.

      Monday & Wednesday Running Group – Runs vary between 9-10 and 10-11 minute miles. Meet at Hanes Park tennis courts on sidewalk. Time: 5:40 pm; leave promptly at 5:45 pm. Saturday mornings as arranged. Contact Chris Cutler at [email protected].

  • Giselle

    I’m training for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half marathon and wish I had friends to train with. I did just join a running group and am hoping to start doing a few runs with them to make the longer ones a bit more enjoyable.

  • Brenda Breining

    I have a training program set up by my trainer over on the west coast (I’m here in WS). 3 days of running a week and 3-4 days of cross training. I try to take yoga or yogalates twice a week if scheduling allows.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      Sounds like a great program!! I’m curious, what do you do for cross-training?

      • Brenda Breining

        My training group (PRS fit) has made videos of groups of super hard exercises like bird dogs,…and then there are lists of things sometimes just involving back and shoulders , or legs. Occasionally it is an all around body list with everything from lunges and bicep curls to triangle pushups, side planks,…. PLus I get lots of lifting for my back and shoulders at Trader Joe’s.

  • Eva

    great post and great encouragement! i’m so glad to read that over 10 years ago you were around where i am now. someday i want to run boston– i know it will happen!