How to plan for a half marathon
A half marathon is 13.1 miles or for those of you that prefer kilometres it’s 21.0975. It is one of the fastest growing running events as the distance is challenging, yet does not require as much training time as a full marathon demands.
They are designed for all abilities and the main things to think about when deciding if this event is for you are: 1- Can you dedicate yourself to 3 runs/endurance sessions per week, 2- Can you currently run 2-3 miles at a time and 3 – have you got the determination and dedication to go running no matter what the weather is doing?
If you answered yes to the three questions above, then the half marathon may be for you. The next thing to do is, get your diary or calendar out and start planning your runs around your weekly calendar. I find if I put them into my diary then I have no excuse!
The rule of the thumb is to do one recovery run a week, one middle distance which has some speed to it, and finally a longer run that you slowly increase weekly taking you up to 10-11 miles a couple of weeks before your race.
If you have completed a half marathon before then you know the demands of the training and what it is like to run that sort of distance. Your endurance and base level of fitness should be higher and now you may be thinking about beating your PB! If this is the case here are some things for you to follow:
- You do need to a speed session once a week. This should be performed at your maximum intensity where your breathing sounds labored and talking is out the question. I think Park run is an ideal opportunity to do this at. It is a free timed 5km event and encourages you to aim for a PB week on week! Click here for more details. Or you can do interval training on hills or on flat.
- Make sure you also do some runs at race effort to train your body to know where it needs to be during the race. I would do this on your mid distance runs and leave your long runs to get the mileage under your belt and not the pace. For your mid length runs try 3 miles at a nice comfortable pace in which you can have a chat to someone, then complete 3 miles at race effort, this should feel just outside your comfort zone. Make sure this pace is something you can hold consistently for the 3 miles. Be careful not to go all out on the first mile then flake out after that.
A lot of runners make the mistake of just going out for their runs and completing the mileage. This is one way of completing the training but if you do want to work on pace then speed and tempo runs are a key aspect. Give it a go and see what happens. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like help in creating your half marathon training programme.
My season kicks off with the Cardiff Half marathon so I will keep you posted with my training and news!