Q+A: Is it okay to move from 10K to half-marathon?

Q I’ve been running for a couple of years and I’m now quite used to doing 10Ks (my PB is 48 minutes). I’m seriously considering trying a half-marathon, but I don’t know what time to aim for and I’m wondering whether I should do an intermediate distance first.

A The basic training for a half-marathon is the same as for a 10K, because performance is directly related to oxygen intake – your basic running speed. However, there’s obviously an extra endurance factor, which has to be taken into account in your training.

You must get used to running for over one-and-a-half hours, and your ‘quality’ sessions have to be a little longer than before. Over a 10-week build-up, make your long run a little longer week by week, and try to make the weekly mileage 10 miles more than usual. Your good sessions should include things like 5-6 x 1 mile, or 3 x 3K. To estimate your time, you should be able to go through the first 10K just a minute slower than your usual 10K performance, which would give you 98 minutes at 20K and another five minutes to the finish – so your aim for the first one should be to break 1:45.

And yes, it is a good idea to run an intermediate distance first – a 10-mile run if possible – so that you can get used to the slightly slower rhythm. Incidentally, the harder training should improve your 10K performance at the same time.

Bruce Tulloh, RW Coaching Editor