January 17, 2018
A half marathon is a great distance to train for. 13.1 miles is a real challenge but it isn’t so long that it means giving up your day job. Most novices will be aiming for between 1 hr 50 mins and 2 hrs 30 mins to complete.
You should start your training plan at least 12 weeks before your chosen race and ideally be running a minimum of once or twice a week. A base of steady training is needed before progressing to faster sessions. It is important to build this aerobic base gradually and get into a routine of running regularly.
When you have a few weeks of miles under your belt the next phase is to build the length of one run and introduce a bit of intensity into another. Keep your plan simple. If you have had success preparing for a 10k, training for a Half Marathon doesn’t have to be too dissimilar, just a few adjustments here and there. If you can run up to 3 times per week include a long easy run, a tempo run at a comfortably hard pace and a short quick repetition session.
Over the course of your plan increase your long run to 10-12 miles, you don’t have to cover the full Half Marathon distance. These long runs are great for endurance. Make your longest run 2 weeks before the race and use it as a dress rehearsal for the big day.
A tempo run is a run at a pace that you could hold for up to an hour at a push. Incorporate 20-40 mins of tempo efforts into your schedule each week to improve fitness. An additional shorter session for a bit of speed such as 10-15 x 60 secs at 5k pace with 60 sec recovery could be done as hill, track or road repeats.
Other factors that you will need to consider is the course profile, equipment and nutrition. If you have chosen an event with several elevations I would suggest that you pick an undulating route for your long steady runs and occasionally include a few hills into your tempo and/or speed sessions.
Try out race day equipment in all weather conditions. Do your trainers grip enough on a wet surface? Finally you will need to take on fluids during the race. Most race organisers will provide drinks and gels at aid stations throughout the Half Marathon. If you plan to use these supplies check out the brand name and practice consuming them during your long runs on a regular basis to help prevent any stomach issues.
Remember to enjoy the Half Marathon training experience. Run with friends or a club group for motivation and encouragement.
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