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I go running once or twice per week (30 minutes and around 5 km). I never measure time, or anything else, since that will stress me out.

Now I would like to prepare for a half-marathon. I guess I need to start to time things, improve them and so on. What is, in your opinion, the best system/method for which time is not stressful and you just enjoy running?

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If you're not timing things now, why are you worrying about timing things for a half? I'd recommend just building up your distance (the coach's favourite is 10% - try not to increase this week's total distance by more than last week plus 10%).

Certainly you'll get a happier all around experience by starting to time yourself - the idea of doing shorter, sharper, harder runs as part of a training programme where you're also doing longer pieces is fairly well understood.

Even if the timing isn't about setting targets - "today's run is going to be 10k at " - it is about learning about how your body should be reacting to specific pieces of work. Many plans will say things like "60 minutes at 70% of 10k pace" or similar. This is indicative of the effort you should be doing - but if you've no idea what that means, the plan isn't going to be helpful.

It might be useful to consider what is stressful about the plan for you? Do you react badly to targets, to being pushed, to not just getting out there are making it up as you go along, the idea of missing a requested aim?

Why have you decided to do a half? Work back from that to formulate your plan. If it's just to tick it off, time no option, then all you really need to is beef up your distance; so do 33mins next week instead of your normal 30, 36 the week after that - within a few months you'll be well over an hour and well on the way to covering a half!

  • yes, I think I agree with your last paragraph, and from now on I will measure distance, not time. thanks. I will also try to realize why timing stresses me – Open the way Feb 27 '12 at 12:30
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There are a lot of different ways to train for a half-marathon. Which plan to choose depends on many different factors:

  • how much time do you want to spend every week
  • how many weeks are there until the race
  • which other types of cross-training can you do in the same period
  • do you want to run or run/walk the half-marathon
  • what is the target result for the race
  • can you train with others or will you be alone

I cannot recommend one specific plan over any all other plans - only say you can find an ocean of plans on google - just search for "half-marathon training plan".

  • yes, I understand what you mean. there are plenty of plans in google, but my main factor is "stressful" and at the moment, i did not find anything that suits me – Open the way Feb 27 '12 at 8:50
  • Well, I dont have a specific reference, but I know that several plans just focus on the distance and not the timing... – Tonny Madsen Feb 27 '12 at 9:15
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A half-marathon is a distance, not a competition/stress level! If you want to extend your stress free running to a longer distance, then go for it! Keep in mind though, jogging for 13.1 miles can take a long time.

Tonny suggests some good first questions if you don't really want to just jog, but instead want to participate in a more competitive fashion. I would add another question to be answered:

  • What about running stresses you out?

Running shouldn't stress you out!!! If it's dealing with all the timing gear, GPS's, heartrate monitors, etc. - then don't use them! If finding time to run is a stressor, then you'll need to (gradually!!) increase your intensity. If the competition stresses you out, then plan on being the last guy in the starting chute, and finish in the same position - and enjoy conversations with other back of the packers!

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