Filed In: Workouts

Six Week Half Marathon Training Plan

I have a confession: I failed miserably at working out in January. I tried — and liked — yoga, but didn’t take full advantage of my three-week pass. And, although running is the most effective and cheapest way to stay in shape, I haven’t been motivated to hit the lakefront trail in far too long. Since my only other free option is to run on a treadmill in what is basically a hotel workout room, it has been hard to get off the couch. Suddenly it’s February 2 and I need a better plan — and the motivation to actually follow it.

The best motivator to start running? Signing up for a race. Whether the event is six months or six weeks away, paying an entry fee is usually my first step toward getting in shape. The Get Lucky Chicago Half and 7k is March 14, so I’m planning to use it as a training race for the Nashville Country Music Half on April 25 (or something local around the same time). I often build races into my training plan for my “A” races because it gives me a true sense of how my training is going. And, since I try to keep in mind that the goal is just to complete a long run in a race setting, there is no (self-induced) pressure to have months of training culminate in a good time.

Since I’ve been struggling to get motivated, the training plan I wrote for the next six weeks was built around one goal: to run four times a week.  I purposely didn’t write out speed or hill workouts or include cross training days because I wanted to keep it simple and flexible. If I’m on a treadmill, I’ll make up a speed workout. (I need to do something to distract myself!) If I have time and feel like working out in addition to running, I’ll find a yoga or spin class. And if I feel like getting out of the city, I’ll head to Barrington for a long hill run. Basically, if I actually run four times a week, I’ll definitely be in better shape in six weeks than I am now and I will have set a strong base going into the spring and summer. This plan isn’t meant for beginners and it’s not intended to lead to a PR, but with a little discipline, it should help me cross the finish line. Six Weeks To A Spring HalfAnyone want to go for a run this week?

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

After seven years, I think it’s time to end my longest relationship to date: my gym membership. Even though we’ve had our ups and downs (2009: 200+ visits / 2014: 13 OHHHHMYGOD – that can’t be right!!*), it’s hard to rip off the band-aid.  I moved to Old Town to be closer to this gym.  It’s clean, it has great classes and it even has Kiehl’s in the locker room! (So how did I barely manage to go once a month all year?!)

Looking back, the writing has probably been on the wall for a few years that it’s time to let go. Running outside is obviously better — at least until the temperature dips below 20 — and I love spinning at Flywheel. Long story short, for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to get into the groove of going to the gym regularly for a while. I guess it’s finally time to shake things up.

The thought of not even having the option of going to the gym in January and February is REALLY scary, so I decided to fall back on what has always provided motivation in the past: training for a race.

Before I really start training in January, I’m hoping to get back on a running schedule over the next two weeks. Here’s what I’m *planning* to get in this week:


Workout of the Week


Back in September, I ran the Berlin Marathon with a group of friends. For a variety of reasons, my training over the summer was pretty weak, so by the time I reached the Brandenburg Gate (about .2 miles before the finish), I could barely raise my arm to take this picture.  (But I was still running, sort of.)

After Berlin, I kept running for about two months and, by November, I was in better shape than I was for the marathon. But then it was Thanksgiving. And then it was freezing. And then my hip was hurting. You get the idea.

Long story short, I woke up on Monday feeling the need to not only to detox, but to workout. So, in the spirit of trying to stay in shape through the holidays, I thought I’d share one of my go-to treadmill workouts.

Things to know before you start:

  • Your Base Pace: level you can comfortably sustain for 3 or more miles
  • Your Goal 5k Pace: you know what it is — approximately 1:30-2 minutes faster than base pace


  • Warm Up: 5-10 minutes at base pace (or slower)
  • Main Set: {repeated 6 times}
    • 1 minute at base pace
    • 2 minutes at 5k pace
    • 1 minute at :30 seconds faster 5k pace
    • 1 minute recovery
  • Cool Down: 5 minutes

What are your favorite winter workouts?