RW’s 10-week sub-1:25 half-marathon schedules

This band covers serious athletes. The schedule will take you up to over 50 miles a week, which is about as much training as is compatible with a lifestyle that involves a job and a family.

The main ingredients of the programme are repetition and interval running, but with an emphasis on continuous, fast-paced runs to build up your speed endurance. Thus, much of your steady running should be at around threshold pace, which is reckoned to be the speed of your best 10 miles; this is slightly above half-marathon pace, but it is the best pace to train at.

For a bit of variety you also need some hill running and some short, fast bursts to ‘zap’ the muscles’ enzymes.

As the training progresses, you should have the feeling of building up strength, because of your increased mileage. However, you’re allowed one low-mileage week as a recuperation phase before doing a serious race over 10 miles or 10K.

Above all, you’ve got to listen to your body and fit your training to its needs, rather than impose a rigid schedule. The pattern is: hard effort, followed by easy running until you’re ready to run hard again. As race day approaches, the efforts become easier and the recovery periods longer, so that you’re bursting with energy on race day.

Remember that what you do in the last week won’t make you run any faster. Doing nothing at all would cause you to put on weight, so you do need to keep running, but anything too long or energetic may leave you tired on the big day.


  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
WEEK 1 5M easy 7M steady 4 x 1200m (or 4 x 4 mins), with 3-min recoveries. Warm down 6M easy Rest or 3M jog 6-8M steady, inc a few strides 8-10M easy
WEEK 2 5M easy 7M hilly run, working hard on the hills 5M easy 6-7M, inc 8 x 1 min fast, 1 min slow in the middle Rest or 3M jog Warm up, then 5M fairly fast. Warm down 8-10M steady
WEEK 3 6M easy 6M fairly fast, then 1M easy 4 x 5 mins, with 4-min recovery jogs 5M easy Rest or 3M jog 8M, inc fast bursts 10-11M steady
WEEK 4 6M easy 6-7M hilly run, with hard bursts up hills 6M easy 6-7M, inc 10 x 1 min fast, 1 min slow, and 6 x 30 secs fast, 30 secs slow Rest or 3M jog 1M jog, then 6M fairly fast, then 1M jog 10-12M slow
WEEK 5 6M easy, off-road Warm up, then 6-7M, inc 6 x 2 mins fast, 2 mins slow 6M, starting slow, finishing faster Intervals: 12 x 400m, with 90-sec recoveries 3M slow jog Warm up, then 5M fairly fast. Warm down 10M steady
WEEK 6 6M easy 3 x 2M at threshold pace, with 6-min recoveries 6M easy 8M fartlek on grass, inc 20 x 30 secs (approx) 3M jog 5M, no pressure 3M warm-up, then 5-6M race (not flat-out)
WEEK 7 5M easy, off-road Rest 2M jog, then 5-6M at half-marathon pace, then 1M jog 5M easy, inc 8 x 200m strides Rest or 3M jog Rest Warm up, then race 6-10M. Warm down
WEEK 8 6M easy, off-road 7-8M, inc bursts up hills 6M easy 6 x 1M with 3-min recoveries 3M easy jog 5-6M on grass 14-15M slow
WEEK 9 6M easy 3 x 2M at threshold pace, with 6-min recoveries 6M easy 8M fartlek on grass, inc 20 x 30 secs (approx) 3M jog 5M, no pressure 3M warm-up, then 5-6M race (not flat-out) or 13-15M steady
WEEK 10 5M easy, off-road 6-8M at a comfortable pace 2 x (8 x 200m) fast, on grass, with 1-min recoveries 6M easy, inc 1M at race pace Rest or 3M jog 4M easy, in race kit Race day

Half-Marathon Race Preparation
Although nothing like as taxing as a full marathon, the 21K distance does need to be treated with respect, particularly if the weather is hot. You should finish your breakfast three hours before the start, but there is nothing wrong with drinking tea, coffee, water or squash up to an hour before the start, and if it is really hot, I suggest drinking half a pint of water five minutes before the start. Don’t drink half an hour before the start, or you’ll be bursting for a pee while waiting for the gun!

If you’re aiming to run fast, you should go through a gentle warm-up routine during the 20 minutes leading up to the start – jogging, stretching and striding. If you’re doing an event with a large field, you’ll probably find yourself running very fast in the first mile, so try to keep warm and loose during the final few minutes when you are wedged in the crowd.