When you are navigating your season change, one of the 5 Ps you need is Physical Activity. The health benefits of routine exercise, coupled with the satisfaction of setting and achieving a goal is healthy and makes a better you. Hint: You may not be able to engage in the activities you did when you were younger. Have you ever considered training to WALK a half marathon? I did my first one when I was over 50! You can too!

Crossing the finish line at my first half-marathon: the Disney Half-Marathon in 2010. Age 54 years

There is no greater satisfaction than crossing the finish line on your first Half Marathon! The amazing feeling of knowing you set an athletic goal and achieved it is almost like childbirth! And rightfully so, the time and commitment it takes to be a long distance athlete is comparable to the third trimester of pregnancy!

My Plan for a Half-Marathon

I cheat. I steal the best ideas from everyone I know and everything I read. This plan is adapted from several places and I think it represents the easiest way to get in shape and make yourself ready for the big Day. I’m not a health professional, so I can’t advise you. Ask your doctor before you start. But I always think if I can do it, anyone can!

The Walking Site says your plan’s prerequisite is: walking a minimum of 3 to 6 months, a base mileage of at least 15 miles per week, and the ability to easily walk 3 to 4 miles several times a week. I bet you can do that!

If you want walking buddies and you like raising funds for a cause, check out the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. They have incredible, knowledgeable coaches. They have meet-ups every Saturday for Distance Days. The encouragement of coaches and seasoned walkers and runners is by far the best you can get just for raising funds for their cause.

If you want a way to track your progress in a fitness journal (it realllly helps!) and great fitness tips, check out LiveLifeFit. I seriously could not have made it through the first Half Marathon without one of these journals.

Get the best shoes you can afford at a running store. My favorite is Road Runner. Watch their sales. Get fitted by one of their technicians. Go late in the day so your feet are at their biggest. Get good, comfy socks and maybe even custom-fit orthotics. All of this is expensive, but you will wear these shoes for months, for a part of almost every day. You are asking your feet to do more than they ever have before. If you keep them comfortable, they will be more likely to carry through to success.

Your weekly schedule:

Monday and Friday – Rest Day – No workout (YAY)

Tuesday and Thursday – Walk at a comfortable, but determined trainining pace for the designated mileage. Allow about 15-20 minutes per mile when you begin. Track on your smart phone and determine how long it takes you to walk your average mile.

Wednesday and Sunday – Crosstraining – Participate in an easy crosstraining activity for 30 – 45 minutes on Wednesday: Bike-riding, swimming, Pilates, yoga. Whatever makes you feel like you had fun and got a little sweaty! Just do a 30-minute, easy-paced walk on Sunday.

Saturday – Distance Day – Walk for the designated mileage at a comfortable pace. As you walk track your average time per mile on Tuesday or Thursday, it will give you an idea for how long to plan your Distance Days. Beginning with week 6 alternate weeks are shorter walks done at a slightly faster pace. Try to do weeks 10 and 12 at your goal “race” pace.

Start Your Training Regimen!

Below is a spreadsheet that includes a column for dates. Once you have an event date, you can insert it at the bottom of the column and work your way back on your calendar to figure out your start date. It’s blurry here. Click here to print your own copy. (Hint: Complete it in pencil the first time!)

Notes:

  • Warmup and cool down time is included in the prescribed time each day.
  • Stretching is highly recommended and will require additional time, especially if you are battling the tightness in the muscles that comes with middle age.
  • It is also recommended that all walkers include strength training in their training routine: Yoga, Pilates, weight training, bicycling. A few exercises two or three days a week is a good start.
  • To compliment this schedule, strength training can be done on Tuesday, and Thursday or Friday.
  • Eat healthy and drink lots of water.

If you are afraid to start, but you think you might like to try, email me and we can walk through the plan together.

And if you are ready to go, leave a comment below let me know where and when you decide to race! We will be cheering you on!

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