Sweet Pea’s Side Dish: Half Marathon Training

Welcome to the fourth edition of “Sweet Pea’s Side Dish”, where once a week I share with you what’s going on in my life besides food.  This is a place to share with you what is going on in my life, baby stuff, our traveling adventures, and whatever else I feel like rambling on about that week. This week I want to share with you my half marathon training schedule and how I began running.

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again…the time to start training for spring races. Never in a million years did I think running would become such a huge part of my life. I love how accomplished I feel afterwards and how it lifts my spirits. Five years ago, I would never have imagined using the word “marathoner” to describe myself; I could barely run four miles, much less 26.2 miles.

Mini Marathon Training
It wasn’t until college that I really started running on a regular basis. It was a form of exercise that was “easy” because I didn’t have to mess with the weights or machines, all I had to do was throw on my running shoes and go! I would run three to four times every week but never ran more than 4 miles at a time. I enjoyed running but I looked at it as more of a way to ward off the freshman fifteen then anything else! 😉

Fast forward to my first year of teaching where a handful of my coworkers would get together after school and run. It didn’t take long before I found myself joining them on these after school runs. During one of the runs one of my coworkers suggested that we sign up to run the Indianapolis Marathon as a relay team. Looking back now I must have been crazy! I had never ran further than 4 miles at one time but peer pressure won me over. A few days before the relay I found out that my leg of the marathon was 6.55 miles long. The thought of running that far made me so nervous but I was determined to do it. I couldn’t believe the energy coming from the crowd as I ran my part of the rely. There were people cheering, bands playing and people holding signs. All of the excitement made those miles fly by like it was nothing and after finishing my leg of the race I was instantly hooked!

At the time I was living in Indianapolis where they host the largest half marathon in the nation. The same friends that I ran the relay marathon with decided that we were going to run the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May. Knowing that I needed some guidance and training, I signed up for the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. It was an incredible program where over the course of 14 weeks we would meet up one night a week and run our designated long distance with a group of 10 to 12 other runners. It was addicting! I started to love running and would look forward to our runs every week (even if it was in snow and high winds). Although we were planning on running the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon we didn’t sign up in time (the race sells out in December), so we ended up running the Geist Half Marathon instead. Blame it on the runners high. Blame it on the fact that I am crazy, but two weeks after running my first mini marathon, I ran my second one (Capital City Half Marathon) in Columbus, Ohio. Since then I’ve ran a full 26.2 marathon, at least one mini marathon a year (with the exception of 2012 when I was signed up but per doctors request told not to run because I was pregnant), hundreds of miles and made some awesome friends in the process. I honestly can’t imagine my life without running now.

Mini Marathon Training

During this time of the year I always get really excited to start my half marathon training. The first few weeks when it is super cold outside I do all of my running on our treadmill. Luckily by the time the miles really start to rev up it is warmer outside and I can run on the 26 mile public rail trail that’s within walking distance to our house. I just strap Little Sweet Pea into my Bob Ironman Running Stroller and take off. He loves being in the stroller and it gives me a great upper body workout too! Nothing like pushing a combined 45 pounds to make you work! 😉

Bob Ironman Running Stroller

Listed below is my Mini Marathon Training Schedule that I follow. Print it off and add your own dates.  It’s perfect for someone that is a beginning runner that wants to finish a mini marathon. It starts off slow and gradually builds as the mini marathon approaches. Don’t expect it to be easy and don’t get discouraged when it’s hard. Running is difficult..be proud of what you can do. :)

Half Marathon Training Plan...perfect for beginning runners who want to run their first mini. Starts out slow and gradually builds.

The Races I Have Ran:

Indianapolis Marathon (as part of a relay team) October 2009

Geist Half Marathon May 2010

Columbus Capital City Half Marathon May 2010

Indianaolis Monumental Marathon November 2010

Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon  May 2011

Heights Half Marathon: signed up unable to run per dr. request (pregnant) March 2012

Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon May 2013


Are you currently training for a spring race? If so, what’s your goal for it?


Disclaimer: Please remember that I am not a physician. Do what is best for YOU and your exercise needs. Please ask your doctor for advice specific to your needs and body. I just want to share with you my experiences and what works for me.

27 Responses to “Sweet Pea’s Side Dish: Half Marathon Training”

  1. #
    Layla @ Brunch Time Baker — January 27, 2014 @ 7:23 am

    That’s great that You are running! It’s very healthy and productive. I can’t believe you have a body like that after having a baby! I’m so jealous! I have yet to lose my baby weight and my daughter is already 1 year..

    • Christina replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 8:31 am

      Thanks Layla! I’m still in the process of losing the baby weight (I wrote about it here) and getting back to that shape. My son is now 13 months and I am about 5 pounds from my pregnancy weight (why are they the hardest to lose!) but I’m getting closer. The pictures above are from previous races I have ran. :)

  2. #
    Jackie Longmire — January 27, 2014 @ 9:31 am

    I have been running for a few years now. I have participated in many 5 Km and 10 km races and seriously thinking about my first 1/2 marathon. Is your above schedule in km or miles?

    • Christina replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 9:51 am

      Hi Jackie! The schedule that I posted is in miles. It’s a great schedule to follow if you’ve never ran a half marathon before. It starts off slow and allows two days of rest and one for cross training! If you’ve ran a 10k before then a half marathon would be a great one to try next! :)

  3. #
    wendy@chezchloe — January 27, 2014 @ 9:39 am

    Congrats on your consistency. I’ve gone on and off running- I get interested in other gym classes or now it has been yoga and there’s never enough time to do it all. But I do like the idea of a relay marathon and possibly a half marathon or even a 15K.

    Anyway… well done and I like your schedule- feels doable

    • Christina replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

      You are right there is never enough time for everything! I love doing yoga too, I try to do a little bit at least once a week.
      A relay marathon is a great way to transition into running a half marathon. I loved the experience so much and was hooked on running ever since! :)

  4. #
    Katie — January 27, 2014 @ 11:38 am

    The timing of your post was fantastic. I am going to begin training for my first half marathon this week. I started doing 5k’s and trail running this summer but I’m ready for something more. I work for the Akron Marathon in Ohio and it’s hard not to get motivated when surrounded by amazing running stories and runners. My first half will be the Flying Pig in Cincinnati in May and I can’t wait.

    If you ever make it to Akron, OH for our race in September let me know!

    • Christina replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

      I’ve never made it up to Akron, most of my family lives in Columbus, Ohio so when I go home we tend to stay close to Cbus. But you never know if I might make it up there sometime.

      Good luck with your training for the Flying Pig! I’ve heard great things about that mini! :)

  5. #
    christina — January 27, 2014 @ 11:49 am

    You know those comics that say, if you see me running, you’d better run too because something unsavory is chasing me? Yeah. I do not run. My big goal this year is to run two 5Ks: one to raise funds through Komen for in-state mammography programs and one just fun color run with my sister-in-law.

    • Christina replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

      Haha! That totally used to be me and now look at me! 😉
      I’ve always wanted to do a color run or one of those tough mudder races..they look like so much fun!
      Good luck with your goal for running for the Komen foundation and the color run! :)

  6. #
    Lisa — January 27, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

    I’ve always thought I couldn’t run but a couple years ago I trained with friends and ran two 5ks. I didn’t enjoy running at all but it’s quick and inexpensive (relatively). Plus, knowing I can is huge!

    • Christina replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

      Great job Lisa!!! Like I said, 5 years ago I would have never looked at myself as a runner and look at me now-I love it! :)

  7. #
    Kloé Sundberg @ kloeskitchen.wordpress.com — January 27, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

    I have been running for the last two years. I absolutely love it! This year I am aiming for a 10k. I am so inspired by your training schedule. My sister and I framed one after yours to train for our race this coming spring. I think I might try to use your exact one for next year…

    • Christina replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

      How exciting!! Good luck with your training Kloé! 😀

  8. #
    Maureen Harrod — January 27, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

    Love reading your new post. They have a Mini Marathon that then goes into a Marathon here in Louisville which is part of the Derby Festival

    • Christina replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

      I bet that would be a fun mini to run…I’ve never made it down for the Derby but I have friends that live down there and go every year. It always looks like a lot of fun! :)

  9. #
    Gloria // Simply Gloria — January 28, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

    Christina, you are just awesome! Love how you have the motivation to run and run. You go, girl! (Can you tell, I’m not one bit a runner… unless someone is chasing me!)

    • Christina replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

      Ha!! Thanks so much Gloria! :)

  10. #
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef — January 28, 2014 @ 9:02 pm

    i didn’t realize you had lived in indy! i’m from west lafayette, but lived in ohio for college and moved to bloomington a few years later. small world! now we live in nashville, TN and while i’m not signed up to run a spring race i’m probably going to run some 5ks! just ran one this weekend. i’ve run several half marathons and 4 full marathons and while i love it, just need a break. the indy mini is a fun race! way to go on your consistency :)

    • Christina replied: — January 29th, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

      What a small world! :) We lived in Indy for about 5 years while my husband completed his medical residency and fellowship. I loved it there…always something to do. I bet Nashville would be a great place to live!
      That’s awesome that you are also a runner..and wow, 4 marathons? That’s great! I thought I was going to die after one! Ha! 😉

  11. #
    Laura Dembowski — January 29, 2014 @ 10:47 am

    This was a very interesting read! I love to run too, but I don’t think I’d ever do a marathon. It is great you have friends to run with too – that always makes it easier!

    • Christina replied: — January 30th, 2014 @ 9:09 pm

      Running with friends always makes the miles pass quickly. Unfortunately since moving to Peoria I moved away from all my running buddies and I’m still looking for a running partner. Right now Little Sweet Pea is my running buddy and occasionally my husband joins us! :)

  12. #
    Kita — January 29, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

    I just started running last year as a way to work on cardio when I wasn’t on a bike. I hated it! But darned if I am not addicted now! I have a marathon (OMG, did I just write that) on the bucket list now and really want to accomplish it! Totally printing this out at work tomorrow. Looking forward to the next side dish :)

    • Christina replied: — January 30th, 2014 @ 9:15 pm

      That’s awesome Kita! Good luck with crossing the marathon off your bucket list! I really want to run another one as crazy as it sounds-they do get quite addicting. You are always thinking, I bet I could run that a bit faster-and that’s how it all begins! I hope you enjoy the training plan I posted! :)

  13. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats — January 30, 2014 @ 9:24 am

    Wow, I wish I liked running…i’m jealous. So awesome that you love it so much and have run so many races. Keep up the good work!! :)

  14. #
    Alice — February 1, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

    Hi! Lived in Peoria for three years for the hubbs job (nope, surprisingly NOT for CAT, haha!), but now we’ve relocated to Arizona. I love to run, as it is my stress relief “therapy” that I too picked up in college, but I just hated running in the midwest once the first snow fell, since I just struggle to run on the treadmill! When we first moved here to AZ, I was finally motivated to train for a full marathon, and let me tell you what, I’m so glad I did it, but I will never do it again! I’ll stick with the half marathons for now on, thankyouverymuch!

    I had planned to do our local Whiskey Row half marathon this spring, but now that I’ll be just at nine months pregnant when it runs, that will have to wait until next year :-).

    I was curious about how long it took you after having your Little Sweat Pea to feel like you were “back to normal” running wise (trying to keep my expectations reasonable here), and how do you like your BOB? Also, wanted you to know that every recipe I’ve tried from your blog has always been put in my “keeper” file :-)

    • Christina replied: — February 2nd, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

      Ah Arizona. That’s the one place that I would love to live in (especially after the huge amount of snow that just got dumped on us!). Running on the treadmill is terrible, the only way I can deal with it is to do running splits. Congratulations on your full marathon! I totally understand about not wanting to run another one. I felt that way for a while after mine, but now I’m starting to get the marathon itch again. It took me a while to get back to running like I did before I had Little Sweet Pea. I had him at the end of November and signed up to run a mini in May. I finished it, but it definitely the slowest race I’ve ever ran. I feel like I didn’t get back to my normal pace and distance until he was 7 months old. I really like the Bob stroller. I chose the Bob Iron Man because it was lightweight and had a fixed front wheel. As you know, the Rock Island Trail in Peoria is pretty straight and having a fixed wheel is great. :)
      I love hearing that you have enjoyed the recipes that I have posted! :)
      Good luck with your little one in the spring!!

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