Perhaps you started with a low-key 5k race–you know the running workout plan for that distance. You ran a few more and graduated to a 10k. Maybe you tackled a few ten-mile races, and now you’re thirsty for a longer race. You’ve decided to go for it and run a half-marathon.
The Ultimate Killer Running Plan for Half-Marathoners
You’ve signed up for a race in one of your favorite cities and the countdown is on. No matter what your journey has been to that first half-marathon or if you already have several under your belt, you’ve come to the right place for running workout plans. Keep reading to discover expert tips that will get you ready for your next half-marathon!
Develop a Robust Aerobic Base
While you want to practice training at your goal race pace, the bulk of your running workout plan to going to revolve around running slower-paced miles to build solid aerobic fitness.
That being said, let’s explore three training runs that you can incorporate into your running program every week.
Workout #1: Mile Repeats
Mile repeats are a great way to get your heart rate up and practice your race pace–or even a little faster–while building speed, stamina, and endurance. During your first week, you’ll run three one-mile repeats during the workout. Here’s how:
- Start with a short warm up.
- Run one mile somewhere between your 10k to half-marathon race pace. For example, if your half-marathon race pace is eight miles per minute, aim to run the mile in about seven and a half to eight minutes.
- Rest with a light jog at an easy pace or walk for two minutes. Repeat for a total of three one-mile repeats with a two-minute break.
- Finish up with roughly 10 minutes of light jogging or walking, followed by a few minutes of stretching to help prevent injuries and limit soreness.
That’s the running workout plan for the first week. On the second week, add one more mile repeat. On the third week, build up to four one-mile repeats. During the fourth week, do five one-mile repeats. Finally, on the sixth week, put your wheels on for some speed work and power through six one-mile repeats.
Tip: If you find the five and six-mile repeat workouts to be too much, that’s okay. Stick with the same amount of repeats you did the week before, but focus on getting faster during each repeat.
Workout #2: The Negative Split Long Run
Adding this workout to your running workout plan gets you primed for race day. Rather than a typical long run that you cruise through at the same pace, in a negative split long run, you’ll speed up a bit as you go through the run–prepping your body to do the same when it’s time to race. Here’s how:
- Start with the same warm up described in workout #1.
For newer, intermediate runners:
- You’ll want to go slow and steady for the vast majority of your run, especially if you’re new to longer runs.
- Keep a conversational pace along with a tall, relaxed running form.
- If you need occasional walk breaks, that’s fine. This is about building your base and getting the miles in.
- Run the last 20% of your long run at your half-marathon race pace. This teaches your body to be patient early on during the race and toughen up towards the end and finish strong on race day, rather than going out too fast early and hitting the wall.
For more advanced runners:
- If you’re already used to running 10+ mile runs, follow this strategy for negative split long runs to focus on stamina and race pace.
- Each week, you’ll increase the amount of time you spend at race pace during your long run.
- On the first week, start with an easy conversational pace and ramp up to race pace for the last 20% of the run, the same way newer runners should.
- On the second week, increase your race pace to the last 25% of the run.
- During the third week, up it to 30%.
- On week four, go to 35%–it should feel pretty challenging!
Workout #3: Drill Day!
This workout focuses on optimizing your running mechanics so you get the most out of every stride during ever run and on race day. You’ll practice each drill for about 20 seconds and run back to the start.
- Start out with your typical 10-15 minute warm up. You can add some extra miles to boost your mileage base–it’s up to your and your individual running workout plan.
- Walk up on your toes for 20 meters, developing strength in your feet and calves.
- Once you turn around, walk on your heels for 20 meters. Curl your toes back to help develop your shin muscles.
- Do a straight leg run for 20 meters. You’ll run with your legs straight out and a quicker cadence. It might feel funny, but it’s great for your hip flexors!
- Jog back to the start. Repeat two more times.
- Now we’re onto strides to help develop your speed and form! Start slow with a tall posture and powerful arm swing, then accelerate your speed for about 100 meters or 15-20 seconds.
- Jog back and repeat for a total of five strides.
Finish your workout with a couple of easy miles, stretch, and you’re down! Incorporate these into your weekly running workout plan to be feeling strong, confident and prepared when you toe the line of your next half-marathon race!