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You Too Can Become a Marathon Mom

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RunnerMom takes us from the couch to the finish line in three sessions!

woman running
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: Our pal, Vickie Leff, a.k.a. RunnerMom, returns with a goal in mind -- to lift our asses off the couch and through the finish line of a half marathon in just three installments.

Participation in half marathon (13.1 miles) races has gone up 15% in the past few years, and 52% of those runners are women. Leff says half marathons mark a rite of passage into the realm of serious running. "It's a challenge, but not one that's out of reach," says Leff. "A mere mortal can easily do a half marathon with some time and training, and the bragging rights are fantastic!"

What do you say? Ready for takeoff?

Commit. Find a race and sign up, allowing 12-15 weeks to train. Half marathons aren't cheap -- they cost a hefty $60-$100 to register, so this commitment is a wager on yourself. Some races sell out, so don't just show up with your shoes and expect to join in. To locate a race in your area, or find one to travel to if you feel so inclined, visit RunnerMom's website for helpful links.

Train. Now that you've put your money down, it's time to get training. Here's a schedule RunnerMom recommends:

• Run 3-5 miles, which takes a half hour to an hour, 3 days a week.

• Carve out about an hour one weekend day and bump up the miles. Run 4-5 miles the first weekend, 5-6 the second weekend, 6-7 the third, and so on.

• Keep track of your progress. Download a training guide and runner log through a link on RunnerMom's website. Be faithful to the log -- it will keep you honest.

"It's a myth that you need to be fast," says Leff. "Slow down! Remember, this is not about speed in any way, shape, or form. It's about finishing something. And it's not about age -- I ran my first half marathon at 44!"

Tune in next week as RunnerMom takes us through the second leg of the training process.

next: The Three-Month Rule
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