13.1 miles or 21 kilometres
These half marathon plans aim to build your endurance so that you can go longer distances, you should be able to run 5km without walking and have completed a couple of 10k runs as well. There are 3 plans, plan one is can be used if you are new to half marathons and you would like to take it cautiously, you can use this plan if you can only run twice a week, just miss out run 2 on the plan. The plan 2 is for runner's who are doing their 2nd half marathon and plan 3 is for runners who wish to push themselves a little bit further and have experienced the GSR and a couple of half marathons before. And don't panic there will be opportunities to run more miles on some Wednesday evening sessions.
These plans are not set in stone, they are recipes, see what works for you, you can combine a bit of one with another, take each week as it comes and please ask me if you are in any doubt. The main focus is arriving at the start line ready and injury free. The long runs should be run at a very easy pace, so a chit chat pace, the tempo runs are runs where you run the middle section at a slightly faster pace than the start and finish and your first run of the week should be a recovery run, again at an easy pace. I haven't included any speed work in these plans as they are basic, but coming along to a Thursday speed/hill session will really benefit you if you have the time.
Please read the following notes I have written about the basic principles of starting and following a training plan.
Base training When you construct a house, you start with the base and build on that, the same is true of running, first build the base of aerobic endurance, slowly increase the mileage, recover and rebuild your miles. Build your weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week, so if you run 5km in a week, run 5.5km the next and about 6km the next and so on. There may be times when even a 10% increase proves too much so use it as a guideline and not a rule. Do not run more than twice a week to start off with, this will ensure you have a good base. Stay with twice a week until you feel strong enough that you know what your body can tolerate, then you can increase to 3 times a week when you have developed a sense of your limits.
Don’t overtrain If you overstress your body it will break down, you will lose form and you could get injured. As your fitness improves your body will adapt to handle the training load, you will learn to feel when you have over done it…so listen to your body. Avoid the terrible too’s…doing too much, too soon and too fast is the number one cause of running injuries. If you rush the process you could break down rather than build up. The body needs time to adapt..see below
Recovery Make sure you recover, don’t do too much too soon ;) have easy days and rest days, Easy days are runs at conversational pace and don’t forget what might be easy for you may not be easy for someone else. Eat well and eat for the run you are going to do so that you get optimal results from the run, don’t skip meals, so eat carbs before a run and protein after the run.
Consistency Consistency is key to successful running, run when it’s hot or cold, when you are high or low. Small amounts of training on a regular basis is better than sporadic running followed by days of inactivity. If you run consistently you will grow stronger and stronger.
Patience Success is measured in months and years, not days and weeks, with experience you will become a wiser runner, each day you put more miles in the bank you build for the future. You need to experience important lessons so you can learn from every run that you do, no matter how far or how fast you go.
Get good shoes Your goal should be to find a shoe that offers the best support and fit for you and you should replace your shoes every 300-500 miles so note the date that you bought your shoes. Always visit a specialist running shop.
Respect the miles each person has their own limit, don’t compare yourself to others and respect the miles, whether it is 1 mile or 10 miles, respect each one and run the mile that you are in.
These plans for half marathons are 16 weeks long and are aimed at the GNR and New Forest Half which are both on September 9th 2018. The plans build on a base endurance with a slow increase in mileage to reduce the risk of fatigue and injury. They can be adjusted to fit in with your lifestyle as they are generic and you are an individual. Please do not chase the miles if you are going away on holiday, we are not elite athletes who run professionally, we all have lives that we have to live and so whilst you are away just enjoy your holiday and if you can get out for a few miles brilliant, if not, don't worry, come back and pick up the plan. The rest will do you good and if you are unsure of where you should start back on the plan, just ask me and I will advise.
Easy runs should be run at an easy chit chat pace as should long runs, if this is your first half marathon or your first for a long time I wouldn't worry about speed, just run aerobically as a half marathon is an aerobic event so you should be able to run 13.1 miles at an easy pace for you.
I have included some hill training in all of the plans as this will make you a stronger runner and it breaks up the boredom of just doing the long miles, but this doesn't come into the plan until two thirds of the way in.
The Intermediate plan is if you have run a half marathon and a few 10ks before and you feel able to take on the challenge of more weekly miles. You can mix the two up and again if you are away during training do not chase the miles. For this plan I have incorporated tempo runs right from the start, these are an opportunity for you to increase your chit chat pace (your threshold pace). You run the first bit of your tempo run at an easy pace, the middle miles you run slightly uncomfortably and the last bit of your run you run at an easy pace.
There are also hill training sessions in this plan to get you used to running up hills and to build strength and endurance in your legs.