1:35 goal for first half marathon achievable?

18 messages
23/11/2013 at 19:52
Hi all, I've been running seriously for about 2 years now, starting with 5k's, recently moved up to 10k's, though only in training runs, but decent tempo. My 5k PB is 20:27 and today ran a 10k in 42:37, fairly comfortably. There's a half marathon coming up (Llanelli) early March, and I'm seriously thinking about registering for the event. Ideally, I would love to run a 1:35 or less HM. Currently running about 20 miles a week, so am assuming I would need to up that quite a bit. Is it reasonable to aim for that time, not having run a half before? I'm 39/M, 6ft, 12st12. Is there a straightforward training programme to achieve this? Thanks for any suggestions in advance. Cheers, Wim
23/11/2013 at 20:03

Wimdows, I would say that a 1:35 HM is definitely within your grasp with those times. I ran my first HM earlier this year (after just under 2 years of running) in 1:35. My 5k PB was over a minute slower and my 10k PB was around 45 mins at the time. I was training for a marathon when I ran the half so was running more miles per week than you are now. I think RW has HM schedules that you could follow. I would say for you that it is important to build up your endurance by incorporating a long run each week, ideally building up to 15/16 miles. You will probably see big improvements simply by increasing your weekly volume of miles. But I'm no expert so see what others (and your plan) says. (I'm female and a few years older than you BTW)

23/11/2013 at 20:29


I think that is easily achievable, I've ran a 1:31 HM from a similar time a few years ago.

Agree that you'll need to increase your mileage, especially the long run. take care not to increase your total mileage too quickly. 

Add in a few miles at HM pace and 800/1000 intervals at your 10k pace. Weekly total should be around 20% of your total weekly mileage.

I'm running a spring HM too, my schedule is based on 5 runs per wk,

Long Run = 14-15m

Med LR = 9 -10m

7 mile run with 4 at HM Pace

5 x 800/1000 with 1.5 WU / 1 WD

4-5 miles easy

Good luck with your training - go for it!!

23/11/2013 at 21:36

Thanks for the replies Slowkoala and JustRunning, really appreciate it.

Good to hear that you think this is achievable, it's nice to have a decent goal and work towards it.

Increasing mileage is the key then!

Think I might follow something similar to your training schedule JustRunning, perhaps with the odd adjustment here and there, so thanks for posting that.

How about this:

Mon: 5-a-side footy (60+mins)
Tue: 4 miles easy
Wed: 5x1000 interval @6:50/mile pace
Thu: 5 miles HM pace
Fri: Rest
Sat: 7 mile with 4 at HM pace
Sun: Long Run (starting at 7miles, building up to max of 14 in time)

I'm a bit unsure about only the one rest day, given I play 5-a-side on Mondays too. Any other suggestions on how to shuffle things around a bit?

Thanks again!

23/11/2013 at 21:44

Think you may have a bit too much quality in there. Two session is enough. You have two hard sessions in two days. Easy run on Thurs might be a better option.

assuming you won't jump straight from 20 miles to this? Build the other runs just like your plan for the long run.

I used to run 5 times and play hockey twice too in a week so it can be done.

23/11/2013 at 21:49

All the above is reasonable.  You can do this off about 16 weeks training.  Building up your endurance with a LSr, long slow run every two weeks building up the mileage and two+ (preferably 4) other sessions.  Shill session and a speed play session, get out of your comfort zone three times a week, for three different reasons.

Me: 5k 19:45, 10k 42:34, HM 1:35:30, M 3:53:08

I was a similar age to you when I started.  A bit taller and big build.  I got fed up chasing a few seconds on the shorter runs and went up to the marathon quite quickly. then I got into collecting marathons.  At that distance the route matters.  So you just enjoy running somewhere different.  I am older now and cannot touch those times.  But I enjoy a good long off road run, somewhere new.  I don't mind coming 165 out of 180.  Hit your target, and you will. But make sure you enjoy your runs.

23/11/2013 at 21:52

Thanks JustRunning. Easy 5 miler on Thursday sounds good. And yeah, I'm not really intending to jump straight in there from 20 miles/week, though it can be tempting especially when one feels good.

I suppose the risk of injury would be pretty high upping this quickly, so I will try and stay disciplined.


23/11/2013 at 21:55

Thanks for the encouragement and useful info Canute, and yes, I'm definitely enjoying my runs so far. I used to hate running, but I've been surely bitten by the bug!

23/11/2013 at 22:07

forgot to mention, i have a cut back week every so often to allow things to recover. Just a few miles off the long run and replace the HM run with an easy one.

23/11/2013 at 22:11

That's a good idea too.  Also, when I was seriously training I would take a month off every year, usually November, after Snowdonia Marathon, very few events then.  Recharge batteries before the next marathon season started in April.  These days there are more events, but I think the principle of an annual rest in the cycle is a good one.

23/11/2013 at 22:19

Before my first marathon, I ran 22 in training (4 weeks before) and 20 (6 weeks before).  I still missed 4 hrs, by 6 minutes.  I don't think 14 is enough.  I have heard of it being done either by 20 year olds Or by people who ended up walking a lot of miles at the end.  As I said 16 weeks,  adding 2 miles to slur every two weeks.  On the other week go back to a base 12 miler.

23/11/2013 at 22:27

So Canute, is 3.54 your best marathon to date?

23/11/2013 at 22:37

Think LR of 14 is okay for a HM. 15/16 would be better.

I've only done one marathon. Longest was 23.5, 5 weeks before with 6 other 20 milers. Managed 3:13. 

Keep the LR pace nice and easy, probably around 8:30-8:45. 

23/11/2013 at 22:42

Thanks again all, will try and look to build that long slow run up to a couple of miles extra then, 16-17 perhaps.


23/11/2013 at 22:49

Did my first half in 1 33 when my 10k time was around yours and I was running 20 to 30 miles a week.  I had only been running five months at the time and was more than two years older than you are now.

Of course due to injury I can't runa step now.

Edited: 23/11/2013 at 22:50
23/11/2013 at 23:06

Sorry to hear that SurreyRunner.

Are you saying that your low mileage per week may have contributed to your injury woes now?

23/11/2013 at 23:20

No, I did my first half back in 11.  My stress fracture happened when I was running 70 miles a week this spring when training for London.  Hasn't healed yet because I foolishly went to a physio who told me to run on It....

23/11/2013 at 23:44

Thanks for clearing that up, SurreyRunner. Hope it heals well, these things take time unfortunately.

Edited: 23/11/2013 at 23:45

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