My running partner and I started DAY ONE on October 1, 2012 which was right at the 22-week mark. We have no room for time off or heaven forbid, injuries. Because this is a very scary reality (I'm no spring chicken) and because there are some pretty awesome apps at my disposal, I was able to make these adjustments and so far it's worked out great!
First of all, I adjusted the mileage so that each week never exceeded a 10% increase. Running more than 10% can lead to fatigue, stress and injury; all the things we are trying to avoid. The original training had us running 4 miles a day right out the gate which was further than what we were use to. Instead our mileage goes like this:
Week 1: 2.75 miles a day
Week 2: 3 miles a day
Week 3: 3.3 miles a day
Week 4: 3.6 miles a day
Week 5: 4 miles a day (suggested mileage for the rest of the training)
and eventually we catch up with the training program's long run around week 8.
To carve out that time in the already compact time frame, I eliminated the "Miracle Miles" part of the training. Miracle Miles is a tool you use throughout the training to check your pace. I use the Nike+ app which conveniently works out my pace for me. Again, just a baby runner here so I'm not all juiced up on pacing. I'm completely satisfied with letting my iPhone do all the work.
The other training option we picked up was the run/walk interval training which I was NOT open to. The whole idea behind interval training for a half marathon is that running for three minutes and then walking for one minute will actually improve your overall pace and race time (the training gives you a guideline for the run/walk interval times). It also allows you to finish the race upright.
Let me take a moment to back up. My running partner and I ran in a 5 Miler just a few weeks ago (wrote about it here) and she unfortunately had issues with her knees. Now, back in July I overheated during a race and I remember running afterwards being so scared that I would overheat again and unsure that I could even run. Naturally my partner is experiencing the same thing only it's with her knees hurting and the fear of becoming seriously injured. Totally valid. She does not have the confidence she can run the distance so she asked if we could try the interval training. I believe the interval training breaks down endurance. I'm not 100% sold that it's a good training tool for me. Granted I began my "calling" with the interval app C25K but I feel like at this point we're moving backwards. Having said all that, when using intervals our time has improved as much as one minute and more importantly, my partner feels like she can finish.
This week is a perfect illustration that intervals work. I'm trying to allow myself to walk but it's hard... running a half means running not walking, right? So on Monday and Wednesday of this week, using intervals, our time was 11:39 mpm. Today I ran the same distance with no intervals and my time was 12:21 mpm.
At this point in the training we are using the interval of 3 minutes running and 1 minute walking. Who knows, it may be the way we go for the big race but I'm really hoping that as my partner's confidence grows and her knee adjusts we can get back to running with no intervals.
The last tidbit worth mentioning is Disney offers a "beginner runner's training" for those who have been running 6 months or less. I did not choose this path because I wanted more of a challenge and more mileage under my belt. Having said that, only time will tell if I made the right choice or not. I only mention this if in the very slim chance someone off the street reads this, they know there is another option that is less aggressive.
If you are considering running,
no matter your athletic ability, size or age,
there is a way!!!!