8 Weeks to Your Best: Unleash Your Half Marathon Potential

Introduction to Half Marathon Success

Welcome to the journey of transforming your half marathon dreams into reality!. At Grit Coaching, we understand that embarking on an 8 week half marathon training plan is not just about lacing up your running shoes; it’s about embarking on a journey of personal growth and athletic achievement.

We tailor your marathon training program to meet your specific needs and goals. This applies to both beginners and those striving to surpass their personal records. Now, let’s take a look at a broad range of strategies and insights that can help guide you on this exciting path.

Week 1-2: Building a Strong Foundation

Starting Right: Initial Assessment and Goal Setting

The first two weeks of your training is critical. Normally, an in-depth assessment to understand your current fitness level, running experience, and personal goals is completed. This initial step is crucial in crafting a half marathon training plan that resonates with your aspirations and sets you up for success.

Essential Strength and Mobility Work for Runners

It’s not all about the long runs. A well-rounded half marathon training program includes strength training and mobility work. These early weeks focus on building a solid foundation, incorporating exercises that enhance your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injury. Think of strength training as your secret weapon; it’s what helps you cross the finish line feeling strong.

Creating Your Customized 8-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

Your personalized training schedule balances running, strength training, and rest days per week. We design each week to gradually increase your endurance while ensuring your body gets the necessary recovery. Whether it’s a tempo run, an easy run, or cross training days, each aspect of your plan is there for a reason. Remember, training for a half marathon isn’t just about the distance you cover; it’s about the quality of your training runs and the smart integration of various workouts.

Week 3-4: Enhancing Endurance and Speed

Intermediate Running Techniques and Workouts

As you enter weeks 3 and 4, your training intensifies. Now is the time to focus on enhancing your endurance and speed.

This phase introduces more challenging workouts, including tempo runs and speed work, which are essential for improving your race pace. Remember, it’s not just about running faster; it’s about running smarter. This is where our expertise in tailoring your marathon training schedule plays a vital role.

Balancing Speed and Endurance in Your Half Marathon Training

Finding the right balance between speed and endurance is key. Our plan includes a mix of long runs and shorter, faster sessions. This combination not only boosts your cardiovascular fitness but also trains your body to maintain a steady pace over the race distance.

And let’s not forget about cross-training days. Activities like swimming and cycling are excellent for building endurance without the high impact of running.

Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Optimal Performance

Nutrition and hydration play a crucial role in your training. We provide guidance on how to fuel your body for both training runs and race day. Eating the right foods and staying hydrated can significantly impact your performance and recovery. It’s not just about the miles you run; it’s about how you support your body throughout the process.

Week 5-6: Overcoming Challenges and Injury Prevention

Advanced Running Drills and Injury Prevention Strategies

As your training progresses, so does the intensity and complexity of your workouts. Weeks 5 and 6 focus on advanced running drills designed to fine-tune your technique and improve efficiency. Alongside these drills, we emphasize injury prevention strategies. Our holistic approach includes mobility exercises and tips on choosing the right running shoes to keep you safe and injury-free.

Tailoring Your Training: Adjustments for Injured Athletes

Injuries can be a setback, but they don’t have to derail your entire training plan. If you encounter any injuries, we’re here to adjust your schedule accordingly. Our expertise in kinesiology allows us to modify your training, ensuring you stay on track while prioritizing your health and recovery.

Mental Strength Training: Staying Motivated and Overcoming Plateaus

Training for a half marathon is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Weeks 5 and 6 also focus on building your mental resilience. We offer strategies to stay motivated, overcome mental fatigue, and push through plateaus. Remember, the power to reach the finish line starts in your mind.

Week 7-8: Tapering and Final Preparations

The Art of Tapering: Reducing Volume, Maintaining Intensity

As you approach the final weeks of your 8 week half marathon training plan, tapering becomes crucial. Tapering involves reducing the volume of your training while maintaining intensity. This strategy is essential for allowing your body to rest and recover before race day. It’s about fine-tuning your performance and ensuring you’re at your peak when it matters most.

Final Week: Rest, Recovery, and Mental Preparation

In the final week leading up to your race, rest and recovery take center stage. This period is about more than just physical rest; it’s also about mental preparation. We guide you through techniques to calm pre-race nerves and set a positive mindset. This is the time to visualize your race, go over your strategy, and prepare mentally for the challenge ahead.

Race Day Strategy: Achieving Your Personal Best

The culmination of your hard work is race day. We help you devise a race strategy that plays to your strengths. Whether it’s pacing, hydration, or navigating the course, having a solid plan is key.

Remember, every mile of your training has led to this moment. Trust in your training, trust in yourself, and run your heart out.

Conclusion: Crossing the Finish Line with Grit Coaching

As you cross the finish line, remember that this journey is more than just training for a half marathon. It is about pushing your limits, discovering your potential, and achieving what you once thought impossible. With Grit Coaching, you will not only prepare your body but also your mind, for this incredible achievement.

Your success is our success, and we take pride in every athlete who embarks on this journey with us. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer, our mission is to provide the support, guidance, and expertise to help you exceed your goals.

So, what’s next? With Grit Coaching, the road to excellence never ends. Let’s set goals for an amazing journey together.


Coach Faye in 'GRIT' athletic attire confidently poses with crossed arms.

Faye’s journey in athletics is marked by dedication and impressive achievements. Throughout her high school and university years, she was deeply engaged in running, competing for the University of Calgary’s track and cross-country teams. Her standout moments include earning the “All Canadian” cross-country status and participating in the 2008 Olympic trials for the 5000m. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Faye embarked on a career as a personal trainer, where her passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle became a source of inspiration for her diverse range of clients.

Transitioning from competitive running, Faye soon discovered her next athletic passion: obstacle course racing (OCR). Her strong foundation in running and strength training quickly propelled her to success in the OCR world. Faye’s talents were recognized in 2016 when she joined the Spartan Pro Team, and her athletic ability was furthered with a bronze medal at the Spartan World Championships.

Continuing to compete among the elite, Faye has consistently demonstrated her skill and tenacity in OCR. She has secured two 4th place finishes at both the Spartan North Americans and the Spartan World Championship. Her record of Spartan podium finishes over the past decade showcases her enduring excellence in the sport.

Beyond the thrill of competition, it’s the OCR community that deeply resonates with Faye. The opportunity to travel, share her passion for fitness and adventure, and connect with an array of positive, inspiring individuals fuels her year after year. Faye embodies the essence of the “work hard, play hard” ethos, living it to the fullest in both her professional and personal life.

Jess O'Connell

Coach Jess in 'GRIT' athletic attire confidently poses with crossed arms.

Though Jess spent much of her free time growing up competing in Irish dancing, once she hit the track, she never looked back! As a specialist in the 5000m, she boasts a personal best time of an impressive 15:06.66. Her accomplishments include competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 5000m and formerly holding the Canadian national records for the indoor 3000m and 2 mile races. Jess’s career is further highlighted by being a 15-time Canadian national team member across track and field, cross country, and road running, a four-time National Champion, a Pan Am Games silver medalist, an NCAA Division I All-American, and achieving a personal bests of 32:22 in the 10km (road race) and 4:30 in the mile.

Jess has always been “nerdy” about her training, which shows through in her impressive academic background. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Calgary. As a CSEP-CEP (Clinical Exercise Physiologist) with a High-Performance specialization, Jess holds the highest level of certification available in Canada. Jess also holds NCCP Performance Coach certification for endurance events. She applies her vast athletic experience and educational background to her role in Grit Coaching, and also serves as the distance track and cross country coach at the University of Calgary. 

Jess’s commitment to sport extends beyond her personal achievements, as she actively works to inspire and uplift the next generation of athletes. She has passionately volunteered for Fast and Female, an organization dedicated to empowering girls and young women to remain active and engaged in sports, and has served as the athlete representative on the board of Athletics Alberta, the provincial governing body for track and field. Jess believes that balance, health, and FUN are essential for longevity in sport, and she loves sharing her love of running with others.