T Nation

2 Day a Week Half Marathon Training?


I'm planning to run a half marathon towards the end of July. I've spent the last ten years powerlifting and running very little. Before that, I ran a lot (i.e. regular weekend long runs of 10+ miles). I've been running a bit recently and have enjoyed it. I'm also looking for a new challenge. So, I figured I'd give running a half marathon with my wife a shot. I'm not willing to stop lifting heavy and my goal isn't to run any particular time, just to finish and to finish having run the whole race.

I'm currently running twice a week, about 3 miles on one day during the week and 4 or so on the weekend. The runs haven't felt too taxing yet. I'm considering doing the following over the 17-18 weeks leading up to the race. Am I crazy for thinking I can get ready for a half marathon running only twice per week, lifting the other days and taking one day of rest? To reiterate, I really, really don't care about how fast I run it, just that I finish.

Week Day 1 Day 2

3/13/2011 3 4
3/20/2011 3 4
3/27/2011 3.5 5
4/3/2011 3.5 5
4/10/2011 2.5 2.5
4/17/2011 4 6
4/24/2011 4 6
5/1/2011 4.5 7
5/8/2011 4.5 7
5/15/2001 3 4
5/22/2011 4.5 8
5/29/2011 4.5 8
6/5/2011 5 9
6/12/2011 3 5
6/19/2011 5 9
6/26/2011 5 10
7/3/2011 5 10
7/10/2011 4 2


i would train on the grass or trails. 13.1 is a long way, but if you're averaging a very slow 8-9-10 minutes per mile, you should be able to finish it non stop..
good luck


As someone who also attempts to balance weightlifting with running, I'm just gonna say straight up it's a bitch.

But, personal advice, running a full half is a lot different than running a 3, 4, or even 5 mile race. Something to keep in mind is terrain- it's easy to jog a hill when you're fresh. It's much harder after 10 miles of road have gone under you. I'd certainly advise replacing or supplementing some of the shorter runs with hill sprints, as:

A) Pretty much everyone can support hill sprints, as they are obscenely difficult, and,
B) It's an excellent way of increasing, but also importantly measuring the increase of, your work capacity.

I'd definitely advise running a half at least once before you actually race, simply because if it's been a while you need to get pacing back into your mind.

Finally, as I'm sure you're aware, it's incredibly easy to get injured running. Which will then fuck up your weightlifting, and then your life. So foam rolling, fish oil, and a cheap pair of shoes should go a long way in preserving your legs for both activities.

Good luck! There's no reason you won't be able to crush it on your timetable.


Thanks for the feedback. I was considering adding some hills on a third day, perhaps after one of my easier upper body sessions. I hear what you're saying about the injury issue -- I've already got some tightness in a hamstring I pulled back when I was playing rugby. I'll make sure I'm taking good care of it.


The last half I did was about 5 years ago...my weight then was about 235lbs.

I think I did only 2 runs most weeks, with some weeks having 3. I'd do only about 3 or 4 miles most runs and every week or week and a half do 7 or 8 miles.

My time was 2:02...not bad if I don't say so myself.

Back in the 90s I did about 4 or 5 Halfs and the best was 1:52.


I'm guessing I'll be about 235 or so when I run mine as well. I'm at 245-250 now. While weight loss isn't my goal, I suspect it will be the natural consequence of going from not running to running even if I'm only going 2 times a week.

It surprises me that you were able to be so successful without longer long runs. Everything I've read suggests the weekly long run is the key. Any ideas on why long runs of 7 or 8 miles did the trick for you?


I did a half a few months back in 1:57. Not great, but I also had weird training/nutrition. I was running 30 miles per week, and also doing Military Athlete, which is similar to Crossfit, 5 times per week. I learned that it's more efficient to pick a goal and stick to it. Weight lifting and running are different sports. Nobody trains for football and soccer at the same time, and this is no different. Pick one and stick to it. Maybe lift twice a week, and run 4 or 5 times. I agree with Ithiel - sprinting once or twice per week will help you greatly, but you have to put the total miles in to be able to finish the race. I also learned that some supps really help, like sucking down an Energy Gel or something about 6 miles in. Just make sure to hit around 30 miles a week, and accept that you WILL lose some muscle, but if you have muscle to begin with, it will be easy to get back when you decide to hit the weights again. PS just because you run a lot doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want (learned that the hard way). Good luck and keep us posted


I think it's one of those things where you don't need to run that actual distance till the race itself.
I'm sure if you were able to fit in a couple of 13 or 14 mile runs before the half-Marathon then your time would be even better....but I'm about 250lbs myself right now and can't handle more than 3 days a week of running or else I just feel like a beaten up sack of shit...my knees and all feel fine, I just feel like I'd been ridden hard and put away wet as they say.

It might be like lifters hitting the PR only at the meet itself. The thrill of the run and of passing guys that are half my age and half my weight is quite an evil pleasure.


I highly reccomend the "Run Less Run Fast" FIRST method of running for lifters. It's a speed program where you do 3 runs (short, long interval and one tempo) and two crosstraining workouts for the aerobic work. I structure this around my squat day so I either have a day off before and after squating or I do a crosstraining workout on of those 3 days. The book is about 11- on Amazon and has percise tables telling you exactly what pace to do by week.