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How To Train For A Half Marathon

With the half marathon, fun run and marathon season coming up we thought it would be a good time to reinforce some training guidelines when it comes to your preparation.

How Will Following A Half Marathon Training Program Help You?

Following a structured running program for your half marathon is important for two major reasons;

1. Minimise Running Injuries

A well structured training program will progress your running volume, frequency and pace in a way that minimises the risk of overload injuries and “training spikes”. A training spike is where your running load increases too rapidly and increases your risk of picking up an injury. It is more complex that just how long you run for, or how many kilometres you run each week. It also includes the intensity, frequency and type of sessions, as well as overall volume.

Not following a well-planned program is one of the major reasons why runners get injured when training for a half or full marathon. This is especially trues for newer runners, maybe doing their first half marathon. The frustrating thing is that most of these injuries could have been avoided by using a properly structured program! It’s heart-breaking to have an initial assessment with a runner who has been training hard for 2-3 months and is only a week or 2 out from their big race, and their race is now in doubt because of injury. We love our runners and we feel their pain and frustration, so we encourage you to get on a good program early to avoid this scenario!

2. Maximise Running Performance

Following a proper training program for your half marathon (or any other race for that matter!) helps maximise your performance as well as minimising your risk of injury. Putting the right volume and type of load through your body effectively prepares it for race-day. Using a professionally designed program gives you far more bang for your training buck – i.e. it means that you get far better results out of the same amount of time and effort you put in to your training, when compared to just trying to gradually do more longer runs.

So, the bottom line – following a well-structured half marathon training program will get you far better results with much less risk of injury.

Step 1: Establish A Base – 8 Weeks

1. Increase your running frequency first (days per week) with lots of easy paced running

2. Steadily increase your overall volume (time/km) and your long run

3. Include small amounts of speed work. Build up a base of neuromuscular fitness (leg speed) for blocks of training down the line

4. At this stage each week should have one easy paced long run (increasing by 5% each week)and one faster session such as a Fartlek or interval session eg 5-8 x 3-5 minutes

Step 2: Build strength – 6 Weeks

In this phase you will start to build strength and speed through more specific sessions, while still maintaining mileage and strength training. The volume of workouts will increase and become more specific to your target race pace. The workouts may include hilly tempo runs, intervals and hill repeats.

Step 3: Peak/Get specific – 4 Weeks

This is the phase when you will be doing longer race specific workouts at your target race pace. Include one interval session at 5-10k range per week.

Increase the intensity of your long runs, eg progression runs, HM pace blocks within the long run eg 3 x 3k etc…

AVOID increases in mileage during this block.

Targeting a 10k race during this block is beneficial.

Step 4: Taper – 1 or 2 Weeks

This is where we reduce training load in order to optimise performance on race day. Reduce volume of long runs and sessions. Maintain intensity and frequency of your usual training week. Back off strength training.

Step 5: Race

This is where you put all that training into practice! Have a great day, think back on all of the hours of hard work you’ve put in and be happy with whatever result you achieve! And then make sure you give yourself a break, relax and recover, then start targeting your next event…

Need Help With A Running Training Program?

Our running coaches work with runners of all abilities, from beginner to elite, get the most out of their running. We help runners over 5k,10k, half and full marathon distances to train safely and effectively. We personalise your program exactly to your ability, gaols, and time available to train. We keep you motivated and engaged, loving your runs while working hard to perform. For more info contact us or call us on 9280 2322.