The Half-Marathon Plan: Daniels’ Running Formula

My newest goal of running a half marathon will take a little while to achieve. I would like to do one in June or July of next year. That gives me 7-8 months to train myself to that point of fitness.

When I mentioned to israel that I wanted to run a half marathon next, he said I should do some more shorter races first. Since the half I want to do isn’t until next summer, I have plenty if time to fit it some shorter races along the way! I’m excited to work towards this distance.

Israel is a crazy runner. He runs 10+ miles at a time, is super quick, and has run for more than half his life. He is my live-in coach ;). I showed him a training plan for a half in a book that I’d been reading. He thought that plan was a recipe for injuries and instead set me up with a book with a plan that has very few injury potentials if used correctly. It is Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels, PhD.

It has a really exciting science based view on training that just makes sense. Each phase of the training program and every run are designed to specifically train certain systems in your body. And every run has a specific pace for those same reasons!

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Until I started this book I had been doing all my runs at basically the same fast-as-I-can-go-without-feeling-like-I’m-dying pace. I was shocked to find out I had been running all my runs too fast to do any good! I had been running basically empty miles. Of course my physical fitness had improved somewhat with running, but only from basic exertion and not anything that will help me attain higher levels of fitness in the long run.

After finishing some evaluations in the book I found my proper paces. These paces take into account my current fitness levels according to various time-based achievements in various distances. Using charts and formulas in the book my 26:08 5K, 17:16 2 mile, 8 min mile, 3:51 half miles, and 39s 1/10 mile to figure out my VDOT of 37. Which gave me the paces I will use for the next couple months until I either run a race and get a faster time that might change my placement or do a time trial for the same reason.

Either way I have been happily running a 10 something pace and i’ve been happy with how it makes me feel more positively while running. And, long runs aren’t so bad now :)

My new paces:

  • Easy and Long runs – (E/L) – are used for base building, recovery, and getting mileage in. They are supposed to feel actually easy, believe it or not! Long runs are about 25-30% of weekly mileage and easy runs are generally at least 30 minutes (unless you’re like me and just gradually building up from a base of 20 minute runs!) My pace is now 10:14/mile and it is a lovely thing.
  • Marathon Pace – (MP) – is like it sounds and is specifically for marathoners getting used to their pace. Mine is 9:08/mile.
  • Tempo (T) – are quicker runs or longer intervals designed to shift your lactate acid threshold to correspond with faster paces of running. 400m 2:07, 800m 5:19, mile 8:33
  • Intervals (I) – increase aerobic capacity and improve speed. 400m 1:56, 1000m 4:54 (7:48/mile)
  • Repetitions (R) – improve speed and economize form. 200m 54s, 400m 1:50. (7:20/mile)

In the Daniels' running formula there are 4 main phases of training: foundation/injury prevention, early quality training, transition quality training, and final quality training. Daniels suggests spending about 6 weeks on each phase.

I started the first phase (F/I) a few weeks ago. It is pretty straightforward: long runs, easy runs and some strides while gradually building up mileage. I'm planning on staying in this phase for about 12 weeks since I have time and I'd like to build my mileage from 10 to 25 miles/week.

The suggested rate for increasing training intensity is every three weeks. So my plan for the last 3 and next 9 weeks is as follows:

Foundation/Injury Prevention

  • Weeks 1-3 (11/4-11/24) – 10 mi, easy runs, 10:xx/mile
  • Weeks 4-6 (11/25-12/15) – 13-15 mi, 1 long + easy runs, 10:xx/mile
  • Weeks 7-9 (12/16/12-1/5/13) – 18-20 mi, 1 long, 4-5 easy runs and strides, 10/xx/mile
  • Weeks 10-12 (1/6-1/26) – 23-25 mi, 1 long,4-5 easy, and strides.

If I have trouble with that much increase in mileage I will, of course, slow down the rate to avoid injury.

Come January I’ll update you on the specifics of the next phases of training :)

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Hopefully this will give me a strong base to go on to the next phases of training at the end of January and a half-marathon!
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Updated: A year or so later, I am finally making it to my goal of a half marathon (going for May of this year- 2014)! In honor of this being my most googled post I’ve updated the post with links to my training plans for each phase to give you a better idea of how this plan works for half marathoners. I hope it helps you reach your goals!

Buy the book on Amazon here: Daniels’ Running Formula

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