Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Training Plan

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Training Plan

After a nice recovery period and base building segment after the Portland Marathon, this week initiates my training period for the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon in early March!

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Training Plan

The Lake Sammamish Half Marathon is Sammamish, WA, which is less than 45 minutes (in weekend traffic, it’d probably take me 90 minutes to get there on a work day) from where I live. The course follows the flat and scenic Lake Sammamish Trail, which wraps around Lake Sammamish. I learned about this race last year when I saw it on Oiselle’s Instagram shortly after Ryan and I visited Seattle and I had fallen in love with the Sammamish/Issaquah area. Even if we were not living in Washington by then, I wanted to travel back for this race.

Of course, we don’t need to travel for this race! After traveling to all of my big 2015 races, I’m relieved that this year I can sleep in my own bed and prepare my own food before most, if not all, of my goal races. 2016 is the year of racing local! I can even train on the course if I want to fight Eastside traffic in the mornings wish.

I followed Brad Hudson’s introductory half marathon level 2 training plan over the past few weeks, which essentially transitions you from base building to race training. (If you are interested in Hudson’s adaptive training plans, I highly recommend his Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach (affiliate link).) This prevented me from doing too much too soon while also making sure I added a bit of variety to my runs and built up my mileage appropriately before I began formal training. As you can see from my training logs, I’ve mostly stuck to easy runs with just a few progression runs and some hill sprints thrown in: the bread and butter of Hudson’s introductory period.

Of course, modifications will be made over the course of the plan for holidays, including traveling to St. Louis for Christmas and our vacation to London in January. I still plan on running during those times, of course, but I scheduled extra rest days for travel and moved around key workouts (I would much rather stick to short runs in London than have to worry about a tempo run on jet lag!).

My plan for the Lake Sammamish Half is a combination of Brad Hudson’s Level 2 Half Marathon Plan and my own knowledge from being a running coach. I pretty much am following the workouts that Hudson provides will adjusting the easy days and overall mileage to my preferences and making some of the long runs more race-specific during the sharpening period.

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Training Plan: In a Nutshell

  • Hill work! Lake Sammamish is a very flat half, but hill work offers significant benefits even for flat races. Hill work is, after all, physiologically similar to speed work in terms of benefits, but much gentler on the body. Short sprints will be a weekly occurrence, in addition to some hill repeats scattered throughout the 12 weeks.
  • The first few weeks are by EFFORT and the later weeks are by pace for my workouts. This will help me set appropriate goals for the race. Hudson includes a time trial in the middle of the plan so that you know what pace to run your half marathon goal pace workouts.
  • Most long runs include a small amount of work. Since my base is sufficiently there for the half marathon distance, it’s time to start making the most of my long runs. For the first half of the plan, my long runs will include progressions where I increase the effort to moderate or hard over the last 10-30 minutes. As the race approaches, long runs will include 3-4 miles at goal pace or some fartleks at tempo effort.
  • For strength training, I’m sticking at what I done for the past few weeks and what works best for my mind and body: Pilates and kettlebell. Pilates helps prevent injury and strengths my core, glutes, and hips. Kettlebell provides total body strength training with an emphasis on the back, core, glutes, and legs.
  • Ranges for easy days. To let me listen to my body, all easy days will have a range, usually 5-7 miles. If I’m feeling good, I can run longer, while if I’m feeling fatigued, I can make it into a shorter recovery run.
  • Long runs are on Friday because Saturdays are for hiking and I learned the lesson during marathon training NOT to do a long run before a hike.
  • I’m only running five days per week, rather than the six days per week I logged while training for Hansons, so that we can hike on Saturdays. 

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon: Goals

I want to PR (at least a 1:42), but I’m not setting a specific time goal until partway through training when I can determine where exactly my fitness is. I want this training cycle to be as intuitive as possible on paces—meaning that I don’t want to be a slave to my Garmin, but rather train and race by effort. Of course, I would love to sub-1:40, but more importantly I want to experience a strong and enjoyable training cycle in which I progress physically and mentally as a runner. 

Why am I spending so much time and energy training for a shorter race? To put it quite simply, I believe there is significant value in spending full training periods focused on distances shorter than the marathon. I plan on doing a post on this before the end of the month, so I’ll explain my reasoning in full then.

What races do you have coming up? How are you training for them?
If you are looking for a running coach, I would love to help you achieve your goals! Learn more about my services here
Do you do hill work regularly?
What’s your favorite distance to train for and race?

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14 Responses

  1. I have a half coming up in manhattan in January. I am sort of training and like you,making my long runs count with some work to them. It’s hard to though to think about anything more than best effort possible because we can’t predict the weather! It may be icy and snowy which means just run for fun and think about safety first!

    1. Safety definitely comes first if it’s icy or snowy! I hope you have good weather for your half – those long runs with “stuff” will make you in great shape for your race. Good luck on your training!

  2. We don’t really have hills around here to work on, lol. I am trying to figure out what to do about Boston, currently. The problem is that I won’t know until January if I can really do it or not., SO the waiting game proceeds.

  3. Looks like you have a great training plan for your half, Laura! It has always been important for me to keep up with strength training when training for a specific race too. I am like you and need a specific plan going into training. I am going to check out Brad Hudson’s stuff too. I run hills on every run it seems because I leave from my house and my subdivision and surrounding areas have so many hills. I wish you luck as you start your training and look forward to following along!

    1. Thank you so much, Angie! I highly recommend checking out Hudson’s book – his whole emphasis is on adapting your training plan throughout training to stay injury-free and peak just right for a race. His plans therefore are SO much more flexible than Hansons.

  4. I really love hill work and lately it is my second workout of the week (aside from intervals). I agree it is easier on the body than more intervals and takes less time to recover from, which is why I like doing it, and it helps me in flat races as well. Plus it works other muscles and while I don’t run or work out for aesthetics, it really helps keep the runner’s butt away (along with squats!).

    I am interested to see how it goes using the Brad Hudson style plan. I run 6 days a week like I did when I did the Hansons Half Marathon plan for last year’s half, but I’ve never read Hudson’s book (honestly, I couldn’t get through it… ). With all the hiking I totally understand running 5x a week instead of 6x too!

    1. I did some hill work (just hilly runs, nothing fast) during my marathon cycle, so I’m excited to see how specific hill work benefits me. Hudson’s book is a bit dense (I admittedly skipped the parts on master’s running and youth running) but his approach is more flexible than Hansons, but not easier, if that makes sense. Hopefully it goes well!

  5. Hey Laura! Sorry it took me so long to get to your blog today. I’m glad I did though. Do you know how close we are to Lake Sammamish?! We pass it all the time! I’m really, REALLY curious about it. I actually have no doubt that either Andrew or I or the both of us will race that one. Wouldn’t it be cool to meet each other?! I’d love that.

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