Half Marathon training begins (again)!

walthamHere we go again, readers… Half Marathon No.5! The Waltham Forest Half Marathon, to be specific. A rather bumpy tour of the A112 through Chingford and Leyton (I shit you not, the course hangs a right at Leyton Midland Road station). This race is almost as local as my local parkrun! Admittedly it’s not the most scenic of routes, but apparently the marshals are super, and when you’re trying to finish in under 1:50 you need all the enthusiastic cheering and encouragement you can get.

That’s right, sub-1:50. Actually I’m aiming for 1:48. I want to knock 10 minutes of last spring’s PB. I’m bricking it.

I had decided on this HM aim late last year and spent a couple of days scouring the internet to find the most local half marathon I could find in the spring. Waltham took an easy victory (Croydon’s half marathon was a close second) and I secretly drew up a training plan before 2012 had even ended. I’m sorry for not telling you all sooner… I was being cautious just in case, I don’t know… I slipped and broke my ankle at this morning’s January 10K perhaps (47:47, thanks for asking), or I got chased down by dogs while jogging in Finsbury Park, or I chickened out…

But now it’s official – I’ve registered and everything – and my training officially starts tomorrow.

I have never successfully followed a training plan, but having now learned the value of consistent and honest training I decided to really stick to one this time round. Before now I would get half way through training and hit that training fatigue that we all know and loathe. Slowly but surely the training plan would be adjusted to suit my mood and I would run 5 reps instead of 6, or drop my tempo pace 10secs per mile, or swap a strength session for a (leisurely) swim.

But not this time! I have learned how much difference 10secs per mile can make to your speed sessions and I have definitely learned how much difference weight training can make to staying strong on race day. My training plan was painstakingly designed by yours truly and incorporates invaluable advice from marathon superstar/king of hills/fellow Chaser, Tim. The training sessions are short – 30-40 minutes – so that I can run them in the mornings, as I do at the moment. Any longer than 40 minutes and I would start making excuses about finishing the sessions and having too much work to do and needing to go food shopping and needing to do chores and, readers, there is no room in this training plan for excuses, ok? (You can all remind me of this in a few weeks time if I start slacking.)

My training has two main focuses, firstly I will practice my race pace. The reason I finally achieved my sub-2hr dream in the Berlin Half Marathon was because I had done a weekly 7 mile run at race pace for nearly 6 months. I was like a metronome. Put me in my trainers, push me out the front door and I would undoubtedly fall into a nigh-on perfect 9 minute mile. By this April I need to be able to know my race pace that well again. Only this time it’s going to be 8:15min/mile (yikes!).

Secondly I will continue building leg strength. Since I started training regularly with kettle bells last year I have consistently run gloriously speedy 10Ks. I continue to be shocked by how much difference they have made to my running (if only I’d tried sooner!). In addition to weekly weights sessions I am going to incorporate regular hillwork into my training. This might be in the form of continuous hill running at threshold pace, but I’m also going to do hillsprint sessions, the slightly more retro style of hillwork that seems to have fallen out of fashion following Runners’ World’s love affair with Kenyan hill training.

I designed many of the sessions to increase gradually over the 13 weeks of training, starting at my current level of fitness and activity, and I have been sure to have an ‘easy’ week every 4th week so that my body (and mind) can chill out. It has also accommodated club cross country fixtures, our monthly 10K races, and of course parkrun. With all this in mind my weekly training will consist more or less of:
4 runs:
1 long slow distance run (10-15 miles)
1 race pace session
1 threshold session, either flat speedwork or hillwork
And 1 weekly strength session

Take a look… What do you think?

1
7 Jan
STRENGTH:
Core, arms and shoulders
6 x (4 minutes @7:50; 1 minute recovery) ½ mile warm up;
2 x (1 mile @8:15);
3 minutes recovery;
½ mile cool down
REST LSD
11 miles
Hard tempo (7:35-7:50) 3 miles recovery OR rest
2
14 Jan
5 x (4 minutes threshold hills; 2 minutes recovery) STRENGTH:
Legs and core
5 x (4 minutes @ race pace; 2 minutes floating recovery) REST LSD
12 miles
Race pace (8:15) 3 miles recovery OR rest
3
21 Jan
10 minutes flat threshold; 5 x (200m hill sprint; 90 seconds recovery); 10 minutes flat threshold STRENGTH:
Core, arms and shoulders
Progressive run:
10 minutes @9:00-8:15; 10 minutes @8:15; 10 minutes @8:15-9:00
REST LSD
13 miles
Hard tempo (7:35-7:50) 3 miles recovery OR rest
4
28 Jan
3 x (10 minutes @7:50; 5 minute recovery) STRENGTH:
Legs and core
4 miles continuous @race pace REST REST Volunteer 10K race
5
4 Feb
STRENGTH:
Core, arms and shoulders
5 miles continuous @race pace 4 x (6 minutes @7:50; 2 minutes recovery) REST LSD
12 miles
Race pace (8:15) 3 miles recovery OR rest
6
11 Feb
½ mile warm up;
3 x (1 mile @ race pace);
3 minutes recovery;
½ mile cool down
STRENGTH:
Legs and core
5 x (800m @7:35; 200m @9:00) REST LSD
13 miles
Hard tempo (7:35-7:50) 3 miles recovery OR rest
7
18 Feb
6 miles continuous @race pace STRENGTH:
Core, arms and shoulders
5 x (4 minutes threshold hills; 2 minutes recovery) REST LSD
14 miles
Race pace (8:15) x 2; 5 minutes recovery 3 miles recovery OR rest
8
25 Feb
10 minutes flat threshold; 5 x (200m hill sprint; 90 seconds recovery); 10 minutes flat threshold STRENGTH:
Legs and core
3 x (10 minutes @7:50; 5 minute recovery) REST REST Volunteer 10K race
9
4 Mar
STRENGTH:
Core, arms and shoulders
6 miles continuous @race pace 4 x (6 minutes @7:50; 2 minutes recovery) REST LSD
14 miles
Race pace (8:15) 3 miles recovery OR rest
10
11 Mar
½ mile warm up;
4 x (1 mile @ race pace);
3 minutes recovery;
½ mile cool down
STRENGTH:
Legs and core
10 minutes flat threshold; 5 x (200m hill sprint; 90 seconds recovery); 10 minutes flat threshold REST 15 miles Hard tempo (7:35-7:50) 3 miles recovery OR rest
11
18 Mar
5 x (6 minutes threshold hills; 2 minutes recovery) STRENGTH:
Core, arms and shoulders
Progressive run:
10 minutes @9:00-8:15; 10 minutes @8:15; 10 minutes @8:15-9:00
REST LSD
10 miles
Race pace (8:15) x 3; 5 minutes recovery 3 miles recovery OR rest
12
25 Mar
4 x (6 minutes @7:50; 2 minutes recovery) STRENGTH:
Legs and core
3 x (10 minutes @race pace; 3 minutes recovery) REST LSD
10 miles
Race pace (8:15) 3 miles recovery OR rest
13
1 Apr
4 miles @race pace REST 3 miles @race pace REST REST 2 miles @race pace with 5 x 60m strides RACE DAY
Advertisements

2 responses to “Half Marathon training begins (again)!

  1. Super duper impressed / inspired. I admire your dedication to the cause. I will also be asking for some kettle bell tips when you come to ours for dinner!

  2. This looks great! Good luck with the training. I usually give up half way through too but I feel that with me now training for ‘the big one’ (a marathon that is), any sessions missed with definitely come back to haunt me on race day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s