Are you looking for a personalised half marathon (13.1 miles/21.097km) training plan? Are you looking to finish the race or are you aiming for a specific time? Sub-2hr15, sub-2hrs, sub-1hr45, sub-1hr30, sub-1hr15? We are going to discuss the key principles of an effective half marathon training plan.
The Half Marathon, a distance not to be taken lightly
A half marathon is a deceptively long distance that requires suitable and adequate training. It’s recommended that a beginner should start with a 10km. For more experienced runners, the half presents a challenge: maintaining a regular pace, even in the final miles, which can be difficult as fatigue inevitably starts to creep into the muscles and joints.
The half marathon is also a gateway to a debut marathon or a good preparation distance a few weeks before trying to set a new personal best over the marathon.
In a half marathon training plan, we recommend aiming for a frequency of at least 3 training sessions per week. And if you can do 4 or 5 workouts a week, that’s even better.
A good half marathon training plan must take into account your experience as a runner. Is this your first half marathon? Have you ever run the full 13.1 mile distance in training or perhaps even a maratho distance?
A personalised half marathon training plan must also take into account your current state of fitness, your schedule and your specific training paces (VO2, threshold, fundamental endurance, etc.).
A half marathon training plan focused on endurance and interval training
For a runner who is not used to long distance running, it is important to run for an extended period of time at a very easy pace. This allows your body to get used to a long-distance effort and the pounding your legs will have to endure. For this “fundamental endurance”, easy running training session, aim for a duration of 90mins for example.
To work on your endurance, in addition to easy running, you will also have to run at threshold paces over intermediate distances.
Of course, you must also continue to work on your Maximum Aerobic Capacity (VO2 Max) which is an important parameter in performance.
In short, a half marathon requires consistent and specific training to feel prepared on D-Day. For many experienced runners, it can actually be a pleasant distance to run.
It’s less brutal than a 10km because you generally run at a pace where your breathing should be under control. When you have trained effectively, only the last kilometers should be difficult. You can even accelerate in the last mile if you’re still feeling good enough and want to gain every second possible. I was able to accelerate 20 seconds faster during the final kilometre compared to my average pace during the half.
Precise training paces
Be careful, for a half marathon, the paces often indicated in half marathon training plans on the internet can be quite erroneous when they are based solely on a percentage of VO2 Max.
You should also take into account your endurance index to get your precise training paces. On long intervals or thresholds, this can make a significant difference!
If your half marathon training plan indicates a target heart rate for each session, it must not only take into account your maximum heart rate but also your resting heart rate to be precise.
Your personalised, easy-to-follow half marathon training plan
In the RunMotion Coach app, your endurance index is automatically calculated for you, based on your race results. Similarly, if you enter your resting and maximum heart rate in your profile, you will receive the right target heart rates.
You will find your personalised half marathon training plan based on:
– your running experience
– your target distance: for example half marathon
– your goal time: 1hr15, 1hr30, 1hr45, 2hrs.
You will find in your personalised half marathon training plan a variety of sessions and paces. The goal is to work on both your endurance and your ability to hold your half marathon pace.
A typical half marathon training session
A specific half marathon session included in RunMotion Coach app, depending on your level: 2×12 minutes up to 2×20 minutes at half marathon pace.
Long runs for the half marathon can go up to 1hr30 to 1hr40 of easy running. This depends on your level and the amount of time available before the race.
Your RunMotion Coach training program also adapts to your availability which can change every week. You can even choose the day of your long run and interval sessions.
You therefore have every chance of achieving your goal by downloading the RunMotion Coach app: finish a half marathon or run a new personal best.
In the Premium version, in addition to the training plan, you will receive advice on nutrition specific to the half, strength & conditioning and mental preparation.
Enjoy your training and have a great race! And maybe one day you’ll want to run a full marathon!