Intermediate half marathon training schedule

Improve your half marathon PB with these commonsense strategies

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Once you’ve done your first half, you know the demands of training and have experience of what to expect in the race itself. You’ve also got a good base of mileage and endurance from previous training cycles. If you’re looking to get faster, now is the time to add a bit more quality and more mileage into your schedule. It also helps to develop a good sense of race pace, says Janet Hamilton, a running coach and exercise physiologist ( To do this, start by running 800m (or half a mile) at your goal race pace, checking your pace as you go. Once you can nail that half marathon pace within a few seconds without looking at your watch, build up to running up to five miles at half marathon pace, sandwiched by a mile of easy running to warm up, and a mile of easy running to cool down.

Fuel up

You’ll need to eat and drink on the road, says nutritionist Pamela Nisevich Bede ( ‘Some runners think they can get through a half marathon without sports drinks or gels, but that can make for some painful and slow last few miles,’ she says. Aim for 30-60g of carbs each hour that you’re running and practise fuelling on long runs so there are no nasty surprises on race day. 

Run down

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that when runners trained on ascents and descents, they improved speed and foot turnover more than when running up hills or on flat surfaces alone. Running downhill requires the muscles to lengthen, or make eccentric muscle contractions, which can generate more force than when you’re running uphill or on flat ground. Don’t let your feet slap the pavement or try to brake with your quads. ‘Keep your toes under your nose,’ says RW chief running officer Bart Yasso.

Get upwardly mobile

When you’re going up, avoid charging the hill; you’ll burn up valuable fuel. ‘Don’t try to attack the hill,’ says Hamilton. At first, work on maintaining an even effort going uphill as you do on level ground – even if your pace slows. As you build your fitness, work towards maintaining an even pace on the inclines. If you don’t have hills in your area, use treadmills, bridges and slip roads to practise your ascents.

Run negative

The best strategy for nailing a PB in the half marathon is to run an even or negative split, says Yasso. A negative split is running the second half of the race slightly faster than the first. ‘When the starting gun goes off, everyone takes off like they just got let out of prison,’ says Yasso. ‘That’s a big mistake. Hold steady in the first miles, and gradually accelerate. You’ll get a boost from passing people in the final miles.’

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Discuss this article


Can you clarify is HMP Half marathon pace and what is LSD?

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 16:16


LSD = Long Slow Distance, i.e. your long run at a slow pace.  I'd guess that HMP does stand for half marathon pace.

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 17:04


Posted: 11/07/2013 at 15:08


Can anyone please explain exactly what the procedures for running the mile repeats are?  It says in the training programme to do, for example, 6 miles total with 4 x 1 mile repeats. I don't fully understand the concept!



Posted: 24/07/2013 at 14:42

Hi - I can't print a decent copy this plan off - how do I get a full copy to print off please?


Posted: 25/07/2013 at 13:13

Have you come across a schedule in kilometres rather than miles? I know you can convert, but it's a pain to say the least.  I don't understand why the plans mix distances in miles and metres.  Plus, it is far easier to get down to a pace when doing kilometres for obvious reasons.  RW, when are you going to finally convert to metric - the system that makes sense?  Please!

Posted: 22/09/2013 at 16:51

This will typically mean that you'll do a set of 4 faster single miles with slower ones inbetween. The idea is that you'll recover from the hard efforts during the slower ones, and teach your body how to work harder and recover more quickly.

Posted: 04/10/2013 at 11:40

Just multiply or divide everything by 1.6 

Posted: 04/10/2013 at 11:51

Runnerian - The mixture of imperial and metric comes down to the fact that longer distances are traditionally given in miles, whereas shorter / interval distances come from the track, which is measured in metres.  I can't really see training plans changing in the near future, since it's the convention that most people use.  Maybe you can find a European plan and translate it. 

But really, it's not that difficult to convert for training purposes.  Off the top of my head...

400m = quarter mile
800m = half mile
1600m = 1 mile
3M = 5k
5M = 8k...

If your mental arithmetic can stretch to adding up multiples of 2,3,5 and 8 do you really need someone else to do the conversion for you?  if you want to be a little bit more accurate, then 1 mile = 1.61k and 1k = 0.62 miles.  Get the calculator out.


Posted: 04/10/2013 at 11:56

What Dave said!

Posted: 04/10/2013 at 11:57

If you want to schedule the training you go argue Monday over the long term the entire 45 minutes Tuesday to peace Wednesday calm with only 20-30 minutes of easy running. Devon ke Dev Mahadev

Posted: 16/11/2013 at 00:08

get a mile/kilometre converter Samsung apps or google play have them for free

Posted: 07/08/2014 at 06:36

And weight converter, and pace calculator....... these are well handy tools...... and they  is all free 

Posted: 23/08/2014 at 15:22

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