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My first half-marathon: The plan (so far)

Amberly McAteer runs in St. Thomas Ontario

Wayne McAteer for The Globe & Mail/wayne mcateer The Globe and Mail

I'm training to complete my first ever half marathon, and writing about the process.  I've started a plan 10 weeks away from the run, Toronto's Women's Half on May 25th.

Alan Chud, co-owner of Absolute Endurance Training & Therapy in Toronto has developed a plan for me - which, as it happens, is not to have a big plan.

"You eat an elephant one bite a time. We'll start with two weeks, instead of a giant 10 week plan. After two weeks,  we'll set out two more weeks based on how you did, how you felt," he says.

I run with a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest and a wrist watch that relays that information: I run at the prescribed time, in the prescribed zone.  To find your heart rate zones, try this calculator  - and also talk to your doctor before starting any training program.

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If you've just started running, I suggest completing a 10K first: get a tailor-made 10K program here. (Here's the intro and finale to my 10K journey.)

Here are the first 2 weeks of my plan (more to come!).

Week 1:

Monday: 30 minutes, all zone 2 (for me, zone 2 is 155-165 bpm)

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 35 minutes, all zone 2

Thursday off

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Friday: 20 minutes total: 10 minutes zone 2, 10 minutes zone 3

Saturday off

Sunday: 45 minutes all zone 2

Week 2:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 40 minutes all zone 2

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Wednesday: 30 minutes total: 15 minutes zone 2, 10 minutes zone 3, 5 minutes zone 4

Thursday: off

Friday: 30 minutes all zone 2

Saturday off

Sunday: 55 minutes all zone 2

Week 3:

Monday 40 minutes all zone 2

Tuesday off

Wednesday 35 minutes total:  zone 2 for 30, and zone 3 for 5

Thursday off

Friday 30 minutes total: zone 2 for 15, and zone 3 for 15

Saturday off

Sunday 55 minutes all zone 2

Week 4:

Monday off

Tuesday 40 minutes all zone 2

Wednesday 45 minutes total: 15 minutes zone 2, 15 minutes zone 3, 5 minutes zone 4, 10 minutes zone 1 or easy walk to cool down

Thursday off

Friday 35 minutes all zone 2

Saturday off

Sunday 1 hour all zone 2!

Coming week:

Week 5:

Monday 30 minute recovery run and easy spin on a spin bike!

Tuesday off

Wednesday 45 minutes all easy and slow

Thursday off

Friday 60 minutes all zone 2

Saturday off

Sunday 90 minutes (focus on proper hydration)

Week 6:

Monday 40 minute recovery run all easy, optional spin on a spin bike

Tuesday off

Wednesday 55 minute run all easy efforts

Thursday off

Friday 50 minutes keeping heart rate low to begin!

Saturday off

Sunday 75 minutes all easy and slow

Follow @amberlym on Twitter and tweet running tips with #globeruns

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About the Author
Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More

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