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, youre allowed one low-mileage week as a recuperation phase before doing a serious race over 10 miles or 10K.
Above all, youve 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 youre ready to run hard again. As race day approaches, the efforts become easier and the recovery periods longer, so that youre bursting with energy on race day.
Remember that what you do in the last week wont 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.
|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. Dont drink half an hour before the start, or youll be bursting for a pee while waiting for the gun!
If youre 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 youre doing an event with a large field, youll 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.