/ Half marathon in May - training advice?

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mattrm - on 13 Nov 2013
I'm running a half marathon in May 2014. Instead of the normal, I'm doing a race in a months time (or a week), I thought I'd go, I've got 6 months, what would be the ideal way to train for it?

I'm a fairly regular runner, but I've not done anything since the end of August when I failed on a 85 mile ultra (got to 45 miles and DNFed). I could do with loosing a little bit of weight, but I'm currently 12st and 5' 11" so I'm not that much of a chubber.

I do have a nasty tendancy towards getting injured easily. So suggestions of plans with lots of cross training would be a good idea.
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to mattrm: whats your current training/X training?

I wouldn't get focussed on weight.. whats your current pb or goal?
mattrm - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Well currently, I'm not really doing anything much, other than my normal climbing training, eg, core sessions, bouldering and fingerboarding.

I would say that when I'm running normally, I just to a couple of 5ks a week, with the odd longer 10-12k run. I do the odd bit of fell running, which is normally a lot longer around the 10-15 mile mark.

I've never actually run a half, so no PB at all. Last time I ran a 10k I did it in 50 minutes. I'd like to think that 1:45 would be achievable. In an ideal world, I'd love to make 1:30, but that might be a bit much.
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to mattrm: i'd be tempted to start now just light running again.. and maybe add a park run/5k soon as a fitness test. If you aren't close to 21 then 1:30 will be unlikely. but that will provide a nice marker.

You'll certainly complete so you want to chase a good time, so I'd look at trying to work out what is achievable.

Maybe head down a track, or if you have a GPS watch, do some 800m reps/km reps.. just to get an idea of how fast you can do them.. 800's are great because 2 laps = 800.. 1 slow jog recovery for 1 lap... repeat 4-6 times.. but stop once you get a lot slower..

For 1:30 you'd want to be close to 3:00-3:10 for them.. I'd have thought.

We use them as an estimate for marathon time.. yassoo 800s.. so 8 x 800s, match the jog, so 2;35 for 800's.. job 400 in 2:35.. repeat 8 times.. if I can hold that. I know I'm in the 2:35-40 range.. I think they are a little bit optimistic..

So you could use them as a rough estimate of half time.. maybe just do less.. So if you could hold 3:10.. dividing them by 2 would probably give you a rough estimate to work off and try some 10k's at those paces to see.
mattrm - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Just checked and this time last year I did a park run and got 25:38. I am horrible at pacing however and I do recall that at the end of that, I wasn't really tired and I was able to really up the pace over the last K. Doing a park run seems like a good idea however.

No GPS watch, but there is a track nearby. Also the running club that I sometimes go to have a series of local loops which they've measured, so that's a good way to check.

So for 1:30, if I was doing 800m in 3:00 then, I'd be able to run around 1:30. So if I'm a bit slower than that, say 4:00, I've got 6 months to sort that out.

I definitely want to get a good time, I know I'll complete easily enough. It's all about focusing in on a race and getting a good result.
tony on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to mattrm:
> So for 1:30, if I was doing 800m in 3:00 then, I'd be able to run around 1:30.

Yes, but ...

> So if I'm a bit slower than that, say 4:00, I've got 6 months to sort that out.

There's a very big difference between 800s in 3 and 4 minutes. If you want to do a decent time - and there's no reason why you shouldn't - you're going to have to learn pacing over the short distances - Iain's 800s - and over longer distances.

Laps on a track are good for learning pacing for the shorter distances, but for the longer distances, you'll either need a GPS watch or you need a known route where you know the mile marks. Work out a route and then work out timings for different speeds. It'll be a gradual process of increasing speed, but you've got plenty of time.

For a 1.30 half, you need to be averaging a bit less than 7 minute miles. You might find this hard to achieve when you're training over the distance, but race psyche will get you another few minutes. Last half I did I was training at about a 1.35 pace, was expecting to do about 1.32, and actually did 1.29.
The New NickB - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to mattrm:

Gently increase your mileage over the next couple of months, including some regular racing to improve you pacing and as a test of fitness. Longer runs at a reasonable pace will help you get strong and maintain your target pace during your 1/2.

Hopefully you should see some improvement over shorter distances, use Purdy or similar to see what sort of pace you should be looking at for the half. As a rough guide, I run 5k at 6m/m pace, 10k at 6:10m/m pace and half marathon at 6:25m/m pace. A 25 minute 5k suggests a 1:55 half, so you will need to get faster to do 1:45, how much faster you get will give you a clue how close to 1:30 you might get.

I went from a 50:39 10k to a 1:28:06 half in 8 months, but in that time I got to 19:08 for 5k and 39:55 for 10k, so knew that I was more than capable of sub 1:30.
steelbru - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to mattrm:
Loads of training plans available if you google "half marathon training plan". Most will have you running 5 or 6 days a week.

If you don't want to run that often, due to risk of injury, then there is the FIRST plans ( Furman's Institute of Running and Scientific Training ) which do 3 runs per week and 2 or 3 days of cross training. The 3 runs consist of a long run, a tempo run and a speed session ( intervals/fartlek, etc ).

Not sure if the Half plan is available anywhere on-line, but all their plans ( 5k, 10k, Half, Mara ) plus loads more is all covered in a book "Run Less Run Faster" http://www.amazon.co.uk/RUNNERS-WORLD-LESS-FASTER-Revolutionary/dp/159486649X

I have not tried this myself, but a club mate got a marathon time of just over 3 hours using their marathon plan.

Personally I think running more is better, and it's just a case of building up the mileage slowly and getting your body used to it, but you may prefer this approach.

Good luck whatever you decide !
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mattrm - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to steelbru:

I like the look of the FIRST plan, looks like it's right up my street. I'll be doing a 1k 'as fast as I can' test over the weekend, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes. I'll hopefully get to a park run soon as well.

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