Training for sub 1.30 half marathon

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17/10/2013 at 09:48

I got a PB by nearly 4 minutes in a half marathon last weekend - 1.34.53. This was off the back of less than 3 months of only easy running after a fractured pelvis early May. I took training easy but built up to higher mileage slowly (about 40 per week in month before race). This result brings my HM time more in line with shorter distance results, although due to haing a baby and the fractures I've never been able to get a decent few months of training in.

I've been running on and off for nearly 4 years and feel like I can get a lot faster with the right training (HM on Sunday felt very easy until last 2 miles). So, 2 questions - a) what kind of quality work would people advise to improve my time, given that I've only done easy running til now? b) is a sub 1.30 a realistic goal for say, March/April next year?

Never done a 5k but other PBs are: 5 miles- 33.35 (Feb 2013) and 10k-42.55 (Feb 2011). These are the only road races I've done in the last 2.5 years!

Thanks in advance for any advice more experienced runners might have for me...

17/10/2013 at 20:15

Run Mum - keep with the easy running....  The long and short of it is that 6+ months of consistent running should give you what you if you can stick at 40 miles a week for that period you will see further improvement..... and ultimatley will give you a good base to do speed work in the spring without getting injured. 

if you get bored throw in a session of faster running every couple of weeks. Mix those sessions up - eg race a parkrun, or do a few mile reps as close to 6mm as possible etc, try some hill reps off road.  In short - do what you fancy. you could use a plan but they tend to introduce weekly speed sessions and are quite presciptive. Thats fine but maybe too stressful on your body if you easily break - best to keep it easy for a few months with the odd faster sessions to feel good rather than break yourself. 

( note - this is just a view - probably others disagree ) 

Good luck...

17/10/2013 at 21:01

I'd say that sub 1:30 is more than doable for you.  How about cutting your mileage back and incorporating a speed session per week, maybe focussing on longer intervals to build up some speed endurance over the winter? just make sure that you are doing them on grass / trail and have a decent warm up beforehand.

17/10/2013 at 23:18

Thanks for the advice, I am tempted to keep up with mostly easy running as it has been so enjoyable (and meant I can run with hubby/other folks at club) but was just concerned that with no interval/tempo I wouldn't carry on improving. Like you said, I guess I could throw in the odd session or race here and there to check progress. Luckily the fractures were nothing to do with running and more of a case of being an idiot and going TFF downhill on a mountain bike with little skill! lesson learned, I will stick to running!

18/10/2013 at 00:58

I'd say keep up your easy running for another month, then start to introduce weekly tempo runs. They'll make the difference  IMO.

22/10/2013 at 22:26

Hi guys, I'm coaching someone who is looking to do sub 1.30 in March 2014. Her best HM is 1.38.26 but that was done in 2011 and she's just done a marathon in 3.31. So as it stands we're probably looking to improve HM by about 5 mins too. Last 3 months we've done weekly interval training and it's improved her 5k, 10k and Marathon times by quite a bit. This will continue but I'm going to introduce HIIT to and also some long runs where you're increasing speed each mile.

23/10/2013 at 08:51
Stylish - I'd be interested in knowing what intervals you recommend for HM training? I've always run by best HM (PB 1.34) in the middle of a marathon build up (marathon PB is 3.16) and never really properly focused on a HM. But I would also like to go under 1.30 and think it should be possible from my marathon time.

I tend to focus on longer intervals when I am training for a marathon - anything from 800m up to 1 mile. What length intervals do you tend to use for HM training?
23/10/2013 at 22:19

Hi Freemers, great times you have there and sub 90mins is definitely in your range.

We shall still be doing the longer intervals of 800m to 1m but we're going to introduce lots of 100m, 200m, 300m & 400m intervals at high intensity. Basically you run them flat out. You'll need a longer recovery period than usual but 3/4 of those after a 1m warm up and a couple of 1m tempo intervals should get you running faster. Be careful to avoid injury especially with cold weather around the corner. 12 x 400m intervals with 90 sec recoveries and a 1m warm up and 1m cool down is an excellent session too.

it would be good to compare how the training goes.

24/10/2013 at 08:28
Thanks Stylish - I'll incorporate some of the shorter sessions into my training and see what happens. It's more long term for me - I'm in VLM next year, aiming for sub 3.15 but then have a few HMs in the late summer/autumn to try for the sub 90. So I expect for the marathon programme I will tend to stick to longer intervals, but then add in shorter high intensity ones after that.
24/10/2013 at 18:53

No worries; there's no reason why you can't do a few now and again Even for the Mara training.

As a matter of interest what will be your longest slow run in your sub 3-15 attempt and what pace will you be doing them.

24/10/2013 at 19:01

Like Freemers (hello Freemers!) I'm desperate to go under 1:30 but just can't seem to manage it.  Is there not just a pill you can take...?  

24/10/2013 at 19:10

I know I'm obviously of the opposite sex here but I'm at 1:30 at the mo and it was my first half attemp too.

im in the same opinion of KK here by just running consistent miles each week.

my marathon P.b is 3:45

embarrassing I know! 

24/10/2013 at 19:17

And looking at your profile pic I'd say you're quite young. 

24/10/2013 at 19:28

I'm a long way off sub 1:30 but will follow this thread as really want to shave some time off my HM time of 1:35, set in Feb this year. It's the only HM I've done (during marathon training) and I don't feel that I've made much improvement speed wise since then for this distance. Only marathon is 3:29. My BMI is already considered underweight so not sure that losing any weight would help me.

24/10/2013 at 19:32

 Yes 24. So I know I've got plenty of time to improve the Mara.

24/10/2013 at 19:39

I'm the same digits but the other way round! 

24/10/2013 at 20:15

I'm 34 so apparently time is on my side! (Well age anyway, time for training is a bit harder to come by with work, toddler and hubby's training needs) KK, how many miles did you run per week to go sub1.30 within the year? Was it all just easy running? It's interesting to see that lots of people do half marathons simply on the way to a full marathon and get fairly good times but think they could do better with specific training. Perhaps lots of miles will only get you so far, although I seem to be getting a lot faster on that basis for the time being...

24/10/2013 at 20:37

Runmum 30's peak marathon age so I can't see sub 1:30 being so hard ( that's only 6:52 m/m anyway)

24/10/2013 at 21:01

Hi everyone After reading all of this thread, I am positive all of you guys and girls can break 1.30, a few tweaks and you could all see positive results...

Unfortunately easy running will not get you their though Firstly you will all need to enter more half marathons, a lot can go wrong at this distance so confidence and being comfortable with running this distance is huge. It took me 4 attempts to get under 1.30.

If sub 1.30 is your goal then consistent 25+ miles a week with at least one interval session/hill session and one long run session is a must

You all know you can do it, its the leap into the unknown which is the big step


24/10/2013 at 21:48

I run around 50 miles a week when not marathon training. I've run 1:32 loads of times in the last 2 years and managed 1:31 last month. I really think a lot of it is in my head. It took me years break 3:30 for the marathon and once I did I carried on and got faster so I'm hoping it's the same with the HM.   Just need to sort the head. 

Oh and runmum I've run both my marathon and HM pb this year and I am 44!   I'm sure you'll do it much sooner. 

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