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Programs don't address my needs

Original Post
Bruce Heckelman · · Tryon, NC · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

I'm 70 years old and in good health.  I walk 4 to 5 times a week on hilly terrain for about 2 1/2 miles each time.  I'm planning on running my first half marathon trail run at Bryce Canyon in June of 17 however, every training program I've found on the internet makes the assumption I have a starting point which expects me to start running for 30 to 40 minutes in the first week.  I'd be lucky to run 5 minutes the first week.  Any suggestion as to how I can find a program that allows me to gradually work my way up to the half marathon distance without killing me?

Magnus Edwards · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 11

Hi Bruce. That sounds like a great event. I'm not a running coach and maybe one will speak up here, but I suspect that you haven't found a training plan for your situation because what you're trying to do is very ambitious bordering on hopeless. They expect you to do those runs in the first week because that should be your baseline now if you want to run a half-marathon in five months. (I could tell you about my own overly ambitious plans and overuse injuries over the decades.)

One way to look at it: It would take four hours or thereabouts to walk the whole distance. At the other extreme, two hours would be a fine time for an experienced non-elite runner. Whatever mix of walking and running you can handle, you're going to be somewhere between those two. You might look up Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run strategy. A lot of recreational marathoners have had good results with his idea of adding walking breaks to their running. Maybe you could think of it as adding running breaks to your walking.

It sounds like you're walking close to an hour now. With a couple of "long outings" a month, extending 10-15 minutes longer each time, you could get to three hours by June and be in good shape for the event. I've done a lot of stuff like that to build my max distance up quickly, starting out walking with as much running mixed in as was comfortable, but mainly just putting in time being on my feet moving under my own power.

I hope that's helpful somehow. I'd say that the main thing should be to not get injured and to do the distance and enjoy the experience.

Kristen Arendt · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 3,524

Hi Bruce,

Bryce Canyon certainly looks like an amazing place for your first trail half! I stumbled across this article today and thought of your post. I think it is interesting how David breaks out his five-day plan into percentages as opposed to time or mileage which might be helpful, as having the ability to customize the program to your starting point seems key. Hope that helps, and would love to hear if you find a plan/program/coach that fits the bill! 



Lee Shaver · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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