Ask the Experts: Half-Marathon Q+A with coach Bud Baldaro

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27/07/2012 at 09:43

Hi everyone,

Running coach and ASICS PRO Team member Bud Baldaro will be giving expert advice to all your half-marathon training questions in the forum today between 2.30 and 3.30pm.

Bud Baldaro is one of the country’s leading middle and long distance running coaches. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience and he has worked with Olympians, World and European Champions.

A former national marathon coach, he now works as a mentor for England Athletics, so he’ll be ready for all your half-marathon training questions.

Find out if your target time is feasible, get training tips or any racing strategy advice you need. Bud joins us for the second in our series of live webchats, courtesy of our Half-Marathon Newsletter sponsor ASICS.

We're opening the discussion now so Bud will be able to get stuck in straight away at 2.30pm - so get posting!

Dominique RW

Edited: 27/07/2012 at 10:19
27/07/2012 at 10:23

Hi everyone,

Due to unforseen circumstances Bud will be joining us slightly later for today's half-marathon webchat. He'll be joining us at 2.30pm - which gives you even more time to post your training posers in advance.


27/07/2012 at 10:38

Hi Bud,

My training has been all over the place recently. Ive gone from speed based 5k runs to marathon to an ultra-marathon this weekend. Obviously this has had an effect on the shorter distance times.

What training advice would you give to me in order to get a pb half marathon in 7 weeks time?

Thanks, mat

27/07/2012 at 10:46

Just entered (this morning) my first HM. My question follows on from the one above really about training. I want to do it in 1.40 and I currently run speed/interval sessions on track once a week with my running club, usually one long run a week (up to 8 miles currently but plan to increase one mile a week) and then another mid pace run inbetween (anything from 5k to 10k depending on how I feel!). Is this enough of a mix? I also take two spin classes and two strength/conditioning classes and a swim each week. The run is in October. My long run pace is about 8 min/miles and my 5k PB is 21.00 if that helps.

27/07/2012 at 11:16

I've started to increase my mileage using RW's HM plan and suddenly have a pain in my right knee  - up 'til now I've been pain free and I'm worried that I won't be able too do my first HM on 2nd October.  Do you know how I can mitigate this please?

27/07/2012 at 13:36

I'm running a HM in 6 weeks. I've just been away travelling for 2 weeks and dropped my training considerably- I only managed around 3 short runs during this time. Before that I was running 6 times a week including a long run of around 20k.  How fast can I build back up to my previous level? I feel like I am starting from scratch and am worried about getting injured such a short time before the race. Thanks!

27/07/2012 at 13:54

hi there,

i'm looking at beating my pb for half this year (it's 2.15) i do 3 short runs a week (around 30 minutes each, it's all I have) at lunch time and a long run (2 hours max)  at the weekend, time is sparse as a full time worker and mother, so how can i increase speed without increasing time running?

27/07/2012 at 14:01


I tend to get a bit bored on long runs, pretty much anything over 10K. Is there anyway of making them more varied/interesting whilst still being useful?



27/07/2012 at 14:21


I am running a HM at the end of November and my target is to run it in 1:30 or as close to 1:30 as possible. Last week I ran a 10M time-trial in 70 mins. I currently run on average 35M per week over 5 days following the RW 1:45 - 1:30 HM schedule. I am 31 and have been running since April this year ( I had base fitness from gym prior to running). Am I setting myself too much of a challenge to run a 1:30 HM (or sub 1:30 in my dreams!) in 4 months time? If it is a realistic goal how does my training need to change? 

Thanks very much



27/07/2012 at 14:23

I'm doing a half marathon at the begining of September and up untill now my traning has been relatively low key - two 10-15km runs a week.  What are the key things I should be concerntrating on in my training in my last month of preparation?

27/07/2012 at 14:30

afternoon Richard

Diffic to be too precise without  knowing your full background  but would definitely recommend:-

tempo runs of up to 10miles

long rep sessions eg 6-8 x 1mile

mix of tempo and shorter intervals eg 15 min tempo 10 x 400 15 min tempo

long relaxed over distance steady runs

and obviously hard day followed by recovery day

finally don't train too hard  in  the week of competition.

good luck

Bud B

27/07/2012 at 14:33

That sounds a good combination  and balance of training Nicky.

Use some of ideas in reply to richard and do ensure you practise running at  reps/intervals appropriate to your target time.

Try and reduce recovery time between reps as you go thru  your training program

and emphasise feeling good running at  race pace.

All the best


27/07/2012 at 14:35
HI Bud

I have plans to do a HM in October. Currently running 10 miles as my LSR in around 90 minutes, and shorter runs in the 3-5 mile range at around 7:30-7:45 pace fast or 8:30-8:45 steady.

What is a realistic time target for the HM? (It's the Oxford one, which I believe is pretty flat and fast), and what's the best tips for training to hit that time?


27/07/2012 at 14:35

Hi, I am running the Great North Run then have two HM (Great Birmingham and Coventry) - one a week after the other. What should i do in that week? Rest? Some small runs? Cycling? I am running 11 miles on a Saturday/Sunday as it is so am sure my legs will manage one after the other but unsure how to keep ticking over in that week. Thanks Caroline

27/07/2012 at 14:38

Would definitely try and see a physio/masseur acquainted with running  injuries.

If you are  uncertain where to go  use RW or your specialist  running store as information point.


Very  often knee pain is caused by  stiff IT Band, which  is muscle running  outside your thigh, and notoriously diffvicult to stretch.

Get  this looked at asap and don't just hope it will go away.

Good luck with injury free  running


27/07/2012 at 14:44

Stay calm Isabel,

Good thing is you won't have lost  a great deal in those 2 weeks so no need to panic.

If you  have 6 weeks to  go you could rebuild gradually  for 4 weeks and taper for 2 or you  might feel happier training well, albeit  patiently and sensibly, for 5 weeks and then  having easy  pre race week.

Certainly don't go mad in  the first 4-5 days.

lots of relaxed enjoyable running, preferably off road.

you might well be surprised how fresh  and good you  feel having had 2 lighter weeks.

Stay calm and above all smart and  avoid getting injured by running too hard  too quickly.

hoppe it goes well

bud B

27/07/2012 at 14:49

Classic case Andreia of maximising  training time by utilising quality  tempo runs  in your programme.

Would strongly recommend 10 mins easy 10-15  mins tempo  and 5-10 min easy.

Tempo  is controlled discomfort pace so you should be able to snatch out  short word sentences but equally feel you are quite pushing  the pace.

 a progression  could be 6 mins easy  6 min tempo 6 x 1min  effort at 10k pace off 1min recovery and then  6 min easy etc

 Hope that helps


 Bud b

27/07/2012 at 15:00

Lots of runners can feel the same way  Graham.

Think about  varying your routes

running route in reverse direction

running  with mates

joining a club if you don't belong to one- you dont have to be a star to belong to a club

how about  doing small  interval session initially  eg 5 x 3-4 mins/ 90sec jog then running steady  half hour.

or doing   a lap  long run and at  the end of each  long section running a measured mile and see how fast it is eg  15 mins mile 15 mins etc


combining  steady  long run with form  of circuit training

eg the Oregon circuit.

Devise route and at  every appointed station stop and exercise eg press ups,crunchies etc.

Great for conditioning and endurance.

Above all  use your imagination and be creative in your approach to training

And remember to have fun



27/07/2012 at 15:02

Hi Bud,  I've seen quite a few guys run good marathons when utilising mixed pace sessions in their training e.g. switching between marathon pace and 10k pace.  Can you explain the theory behind it and how it could be applied to training for a half marathon please? 

27/07/2012 at 15:11

Your  target time is most  definitely feasible Charlotte.

if you are running 5 times a week would aim to cover

long run- ideally going  over distance at  manageable steady  pace

good quality tempo running  of up  to 8-10 miles ( in shorter more accessible  blocks if that  sounds intimidating eg 2-3 x 15-20mins )

relevant and appropriate interval.long rep work

easy  recovery runs

rest and massage

 plus good nutrition  and effective hydration

hope that  all makes sense

Good luck 


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