Improve your running – half marathon preparation

This is all about half marathon preparation. It is aimed at steady and medium paced runners, including people who are looking forward to running their first half. It is written during lockdown, so assumes that you won’t be training with the club at least for a while. We may be able to train in groups of 6 from 29 March. Your coaching team plans to set up virtual half marathons for the weekends 1 & 2 May and 19 & 20 June.

Half Marathons
If you can run 10k (6 miles) you should be able to complete a half marathon, after following a 16 week programme that gradually increases in intensity. If you can already run a half marathon, you should be able to improve your time. You will see from the schedule that the minimum distances suggested start pretty low: you can of course run longer distances if, at the start of the programme, you are running further than the advice given here. It is important to build variety into your sessions, partly to increase your flexibility and stamina, partly to stave off boredom. It is also important to take care of yourself: if you have an injury, or a very busy week, or just a case of lead legs, ease up on the training. You are more likely to catch up if you listen to your body.

The programme

Week beginningTuesday intervalsWed/Thurs (min. dist.)Sat/Sun (min. dist.)Notes
1    1/35k speed trial5k/3m tempo6k/4mCross train at least 2 other days each week.  Build ABC drills into your warmups once or twice each week
2    8/3Flying 30s5k/3m tempo8k/5m 
3    15/3Hill pyramids6k/4m tempo10k/6m 
4    22/350m sprints6k/4m tempo10k/6m 
5    29/3Long hill efforts7k/4.5m tempo11k/7m 
6    5/4100m sprints7k/4.5m tempo11k/7m 
7    12/4Fun & fartlek8k/5m tempo13k/8m 
8    19/4200m sprints8k/5m tempo13k/8m 
9    26/45k speed trial repeat9-10k/5.5-6m tempo14k/9m ProgVirtual Half #1 Set your target race pace (coaches will help – just ask)
10  3/5Hill pyramids9-10k/5.5-6m tempo14k/9m Prog 
11  10/5400m sprints10k/6m tempo16k/10m prog 
12  17/51k flat efforts10k/6m tempo16k/10m prog 
13  24/5600 m sprints11k/7m tempo17k/10.5m prog 
14  31/5Long hill efforts11k/7m tempo19k/12m prog 
15  7/6800m sprints8k/5m tempo10k/6m 
16  14/6Fun & fartlek8k/5m tempoRace 21k/13.1mVirtual Half #2

Tempo: running at a pace where you can only just exchange a few words with your running partner.
ABC: Agility – Balance – Coordination; week by week we will give you ideas.
Prog: Progression runs. Pace most of your run 1.5 – 2 k (about 1m) slower than your goal pace.
Steady pace runners: run last 1.5k (last mile) at your half marathon goal pace.
Medium pace runners: run last 3k (last 2 miles) at your half marathon goal pace.

Training tips

  • Details of Tuesday intervals follow this link. The first 8 weeks are already there and the second 8 weeks will follow.
  • Be honest with yourself. Build a training schedule that you know will fit into your life. Set realistic speed and pace targets.
  • Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body, and don’t overdo things. Especially don’t go on training if you are injured. Remember you are already wonderful just to be planning to run a half marathon!
  • Build variety into your training .It’s not just about preventing boredom – although that is important. Varying the intensity of your running and including cross training work different bits of your body, helping to increase your fitness, flexibility and resilience.
  • Train with others. Yes, I know it’s impossible to run with the club right now but do find ways of building your support group. Even in the depths of lockdown we can run with one other person. Sharing runs on FaceBook or a platform such as Strava can be very supportive. We hope that club sessions will be back at the end of March.
  • Keep records. Do keep a log of your exercise, not just distance, pace and elevation gain but how you were feeling and what the weather was doing. Keeping records helps you learn more about yourself as a runner.

Have fun!

Please get in touch if you have questions
Val Kirby 07969 789938