Half marathon training : week 1

I have never done a half marathon, nor a marathon for that matter. My favorite race distance is 10km and my longest distance is the Paris 20 km race a few years ago. This race took place in 50 degree weather and pouring rain. It was such a bad experience, it really put me off.

Rain before a race

Rain before a race

Fast forward a few years to the end of February 2015… I was coming off 2 weeks’ vacation where I had exercised almost every day and I was feeling physically and emotionally really good. With all my professional travel in March, including two conferences, and several changes of time zones, I was looking for something to keep me focused. I wanted an objective that would keep me “on track” with my healthy lifestyle, because I knew I would be tempted by a drink (or several) with my colleagues, and dessert in all those great restaurants.

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To keep myself focused I decided signing up for a race would be a good idea. So I scanned the internet for something in April and found the Fontainbleau half marathon on Easter.



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Everything about it seemed to suit me. It was not all pavement, but also on trails, not a huge race but a more personal, fun race.

So I figured if I signed up for a race, I wanted to do it properly and try a training plan. Since I have had on & off problems with my knees, I figured that a training plan might help avoid injury. I am not racing for time, I just want to finish the race with no injury.

So I choose a training plan to finish the race in under 1 hour 50 minutes, but in all honesty, finishing in about 2 hours 15 minutes would suit me fine ! So I followed my training plan from a Runner’s magazine in France, with training 3 days a week. In addition, I was able to get in a lot of exercise in the many hotel gyms I frequented this pas week.



  • Sunday (training) : 40 minutes at 8,8 km/h
  • Monday : muscular reinforcement to avoid knee / leg injuries
  • Tuesday (training) : interval training on the treadmill
  • Wednesday : off
  • Thursday : elliptical / weights / leg work
  • Friday (training) : 60 minutes at 7,5 km/h
  • Saturday (15 minute elliptical + 30 minute weights / abs + 20 minute airport walking

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I am very proud of myself for having stuck with a plan while travelling. And it did keep me in line. I limited my alcohol intake to only one glass of wine if I went out and I avoided desserts most of the time.

My feet / knees ? they are feeling OK for the time being. I might have overdone a bit the exercise so I will listen to my body but I am looking forward to week 2. This week I am also travelling 3 days  so it will be another training week with some treadmill work.


What is your PR on a half marathon ? Do you follow a training plan or just wing it ?

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Comments: 4

  1. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork March 16, 2015 at 5:47 pm Reply

    I have never done a half marathon, though my husband has. I believe he had a loose training plan-nothing he was nuts about, but definitely a plan. It’s definitely a commitment time-wise to train for such a distance and I applaud you for your dedication!
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    • Karen - French Inspiration March 21, 2015 at 7:49 am Reply

      Thanks Stephanie. Week 2 was a complete training fail but that’s ok. Still trucking on…

  2. Tamieka@fitballingrunningmom March 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm Reply

    I just completed my 3rd half. RnR DC where is was rainy and cold-booooo! Sucky race 🙁

    I have used Hal Hidgdons trainings. I like them because the week trainings stay below 5 miles and the long runs increase by a mile each week. I have found them helpful.

    I have been having knee problems and I am considering the Jeff Galloway (run/walk) -i need to do some more research.

    Good luck! You got this!

    • Karen - French Inspiration March 29, 2015 at 9:36 am Reply

      I will check out Hidgdons…. I have also heard about run/walk from Jeff Galloway but did not check it out yet. I just want to finish in one piece. I did 20Km in the pouring rain and cold…worse race of my life and it took me forever to recover. Don’t want to relive that experience.

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