Today starts off my 12 week half marathon training. I have officially signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9th. I was choosing between that one and the Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half, which is on July 22d. I have done both and each has its benefits and disadvantages. I ultimately chose the Chicago Half for three main reasons:
2. September is a better time of the year to run than in July. Obviously, September in Chicago is not as hot as it is in July. I don't mind running when it's hot out (especially since the run starts early in the morning), but I would obviously prefer to run during a time that there a possibility of cooler weather.
3. September 9th is close to my birthday which is September 17th. I love having completed something big right before my birthday. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment and gets me excited for the year to come.
My favorite training schedule to follow is from Hal Higdon. Higdon is a runner and a writer. As a runner, he ran in eight U.S. Olympic Trials and won four World Masters Championships. As a writer, he has written 34 books and has contributed to Runner's World magazine more than any other writer. Higdon has 5 levels for his half marathon training schedules: novice I, novice II, intermediate, advanced, and walk. In the past, I used the novice II training plan. Since I have a goal time, I am going to use the intermediate training plan this year (it has speed work training incorporated into the schedule to help improve your time).
I was always told to "finish your run strong". That being said...this is my inspiration for finishing all of my long runs. I promise to find the energy in myself to end running this way when I run the half.