I just finished my first half marathon, starting from no running base at all.
When I registered for the half, I had to guesstimate my projected running pace.
I had no idea what to put in, so I registered in the 12 minute corral and hoped that I would be able to hit that time.
I googled around to find the answer to my question- how quickly can I realistically and comfortably expect my running pace to improve during my training?
I couldn’t find anything about pace for beginner runners- most half marathon training references for beginners focus only on the goal of finishing. So I thought I would post here the exact run schedule that I actually followed and also a plot of my pace over time to show results for an average person (no running base) following a half marathon training schedule.
Below is the schedule of what I actually ran. I followed the Nike+ Running coach beginner half marathon program for a little while, but moved long runs to Saturdays and backed off a little more on the running than the Nike+ coach suggested because I started to get burnt out in the last month. For cross-training I did 30-45 minute workouts from the Nike+ Training coach app. Sundays, I frequently did 45 minutes of yoga. I also did additional short 15 min yoga sessions pretty regularly (3 or 4 times per week).
|1 (14.1 miles)||3 miles||4 miles||X-train||Rest||3.1 miles||Rest||4 miles|
|2 (16.3 miles)||3.1 miles||5 miles||X-train||Rest||3.1 miles||Rest||4 miles|
|3 (19.5 miles)||3.1 miles||5 miles||X-train||Rest||3.1 miles||2 miles||6.3 miles|
|4 (22.3 miles)||Rest||5 miles||3.1 miles||X-train||3.1 miles||3.1 miles||8 miles|
|5 (23.9 miles)||Rest||6.1 miles||3.1 miles||X-train||3.3 miles||3.4 miles||8 miles|
|6 (27.2 miles)||Rest||4 miles||7.1 miles||X-train||4 miles||3.1 miles||9 miles|
|7 (25.1 miles)||Rest||3.9 miles||7.2 miles||X-train||4 miles||X-train||10 miles|
|8 (27.95 miles)||Rest||8.1 miles||4.25 miles||X-train||4.5 miles||X-train||11.1 miles|
|9 (32 miles)||Rest||5 miles||9.5 miles||X-train||5.2 miles||X-train||12.2 miles|
|10 (30.7 miles)||Rest||5.1 miles||X-train||3.6 miles||6 miles||3 miles||13 miles|
|11 (11.9 miles)||Rest||6.6 miles||X-train||5.3 miles||Rest||Rest||Rest|
|12 (27.56 miles)||5 mile (race)||Rest||5.35 miles||4 miles||Rest||Rest||Half Marathon!|
Running pace improvement
Here’s a plot of my running pace. I started really slowly at 14’ pace (my excuse is that I also ran in the snow), but I was able to get down to a 10:30’ pace in the last week or so before the half. My official pace for the half marathon was 10:38’ for a 2:19:26 finish time.