RUNNING BY HEART RATE:
HALF-MARATHON, LEVEL 2
Running by Heart Rate: Half-Marathon, Level 2 is a 20-week program suitable for experienced runners ready for a challenging program and a strong race day.
You’ll continue to train by heart rate, using your individual zones, calculated by regular testing, to moderate your effort appropriately. You’ll spend plenty of time in the lower zones, continuing to build your endurance base; you’ll also spend some time climbing hills, finding different gears with pick-ups and intervals, challenging yourself with progression runs and speed workouts, and practicing your race pace so that you’re ready to thrive on race day.
Running by Heart Rate: Half-Marathon, Level 2 warms up with the first four weeks focused on learning to run by heart rate and getting you familiar with form + drill runs. (We also throw in a hill + progression run during those beginning weeks to fire things up.)
Weeks One through Eleven in this program have five days of running; one cross-training session; two strength circuits; two foam rolling sessions; and one rest day.
In Week Twelve, the schedule rotates between running six days a week/running five days a week + one crosstraining day. Every week has just one (very important) rest day.
Running by heart rate requires patience and persistence. You will likely run slower than you have in years, and your post-run, “I’m-a-b*d*ss” glow may not feel as intense as it usually does. (But make no mistake, you are STILL a b*d*ss!) The thing to keep in mind is that that post-run, b*d*ss glow is likely from a Zone 3 effort (we’ll explain more later) which leaves you prone to injury and stagnation.
What’s more, that glow is temporary, and fleeting euphoric feelings are typically not worth the long-term drawbacks. Often athletes abandon training in lower heart rate zones out of frustration or boredom—or because they just can’t bear one.more.slow.run—and move on to the higher zones for one of two reasons:
A) They get to maintain a nice clip and satisfy their inner competitive beast.
B) They believe that training harder will yield faster and stronger results.
A is true—it does feel good to run fast, but it doesn’t do anything for building endurance or warding off injury. And B? Simply not true. We—Coaches Jen + Liz— have trained athletes by heart rate for over twenty years, and have seen huge gains when they lean in, slow down, and trust the process.
PREREQS: You’ve been running for 50–60 minutes 4–5 days of the week for at least 8 weeks and have completed a half-marathon or marathon within the past six months. You’re injury-free. We recommend having completed a Running by Heart Rate: Level I program (10K, half-marathon, or marathon), but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule.
BIGGEST WEEK OF TRAINING: 7 hours, 10 minutes (includes 6 runs + 2 strength circuits)
LONGEST LONG RUN DISTANCE: 2 hours, 20 minutes (you'll hit this twice)
CROSS TRAINING + STRENGTH TRAINING INCLUDED? Yep. One weekly cross-training session is included in Weeks 1-11, and in weeks 12-20, you rotate between running six days a week and running five days a week/1 cross-training session. Each week has two strength circuits. Two of the strength routines include resistance bands.
WEEKLY OVERVIEW: Five or six runs; one cross-training session (weeks 1-11, then interspersed in weeks 12-20); two strength circuits; one rest day.
FIRST AND PEAK WEEKS: (explained fully in the program)