Advanced half marathon training schedule

To run your best half, add intensity to subtract from your time



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Many half marathoners gunning for faster times or PBs know that they need to add quality sessions to hit their goal. There are no two ways about it: you’re going to have to feel the burn to get results. ‘Most people going into the half run medium-hard,’ says Terrence Mahon, head of endurance running at UK Athletics.

But if you’ve only worked at the middle or lower end of the intensity spectrum, you haven’t trained your muscle fibres to go fast,’ he explains. ‘And you don’t want to call on them in the last 10 per cent of a race if you’ve never called on them before.’ PB-hunters need the strength and fitness to hold an ambitious pace. Shown here are three key workouts recommended by Mahon. ‘You’ll work the upper end of your spectrum with these workouts,’ says Mahon. ‘This will give you the fitness – and confidence – to reach your goal on race day.’

Progression run with hills

When Every other Tuesday.

How Start at an easy pace and increase your pace gradually at regular intervals throughout the run to do the last couple of miles at goal half marathon pace. Then do three hill reps: 300m, 200m and 100m. You should be at 80-85 per cent of max HR (or 8 out of 10 in exertion). Rest for three minutes between reps.

Why ‘They develop endurance, mechanics, and lactate clearing efficiency,’ says Mahon.

Mile repeats

When Every third Thursday.

How After a one-mile warm-up, run a mile at 88-90 per cent of max heart rate (your 10K race pace or eight or nine out of 10 in perceived exertion). Repeat as directed, with a recovery time of half to two-thirds of the rep time. After a four-minute rest, do 4x200m efforts at 3K pace with equal recovery time.

Why ‘Interval training increases anaerobic endurance, and improves lactate buffering capacity,’ says Mahon.

Cut-down runs

When Every third Sunday.

How Run 10-14 miles, increasing your pace every few miles. So you could start a minute or more slower than your target race pace and reduce it in 15-second-per-mile increments, running the last few miles at or just slower than race pace.

Why ‘They teach you to increase your pace after the initial fatigue of easier running,’ says Mahon. ‘That reinforces the mental and physical processes needed to hit your goal.’


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