Couch to 5K
52,886 members84,935 posts

HM training - some tips please

At my last post I have had just committed to half marathon and ended up in A&E. I have recovered from whatever it was (inconclusive MRI), signed up for the gym, and have been training away for the Hackney Half Marathon in May (thought it was in June, one month less to train!).

I am at 12KM and have been increasing 1KM per week (reaching around 18km the week before). I also do some short (4Km-ish) interval runs to increase my pace, but am still quite slow. How do you work on increasing your speed?

I always ensure to eat before running, specially these long ones, but I notice towards the end I get quite light headed. How do you cope with the long runs/light headedness?

I try to pass by water points, but have been avoiding carrying bottles as I never know how to carry them properly. Do you carry water on your training?

Any tips on these or other subjects are helpful. I believe I can do the HM (even if I have to walk) but am a bit concerned about it. Also, I wanted to do it in less than 2h30min, but this seems quite a far dream at this stage.

7 Replies

I am doing the hackney HM and so is Rob and his westie. Sounds like your on Plan with your distance. my longest run before race day in my plan is 17km a lot of the plans I looked at had 17km as the longest run. I am up to 14km at the moment with the step up coming in a couple of weeks. I am doing 7km runs to work on my speed. I have been using the Asics plan. Food wise I have got it so wrong over the last couple of moths as the distance has gone up. I run with jelly babies that I eat in halves and have two water bottles on a hip belt filled with fresh. orange juice and water 1/2 and 1/2 with a pinch of salt. I have just gone out to do my trial getting up with breakfast run this morning. I had oats, fruit yogurt and milk whizzed up in a food blender and a cup of coffee, that gave me a good start for the run. But we are all different try a couple of things and see what fits with you the best. There is still time to experiment. On the speed side of things I am a plodder and am hoping to finish in 3hr. The most important thing is to enjoy it.

1 like

For my longs runs I experimented with both a hydration belt (bum bag with water bottles!) and a streamlined Camelbak rucksack with a water bladder (one or the other, I didn't run with both of them on!!). My hydration belt has two bottles, one I fill with water and the other I decant energy gels into. Both were a lot more comfortable to run with than carrying something in my hand (which I just can't do!). I believe that Lidl do the hydration belts but I don't know if this only on special runners' promotion events.

With regards to fuel when you are running then it really is a case of what works for you but I do recommend that you carry something as it makes such a difference. I use the gels because I find them easy but I am in the minority in that I like the taste of them (they can also be expensive). Others use flapjacks, jelly beans, dried fruit, etc. anything really that can give you a quick psychological and physical burst of energy.

I would also follow RFC's lead and look at a MyAsics plan. It might be a bit late in the day to start the plan from day one (plus you probably don't need to as you are already far enough through) but it will give you an idea of the combination of runs plus target pace that you need to aim for to get around in under 2:30. Play around with the numbers and see what it comes up with.

And regardless of what time you do it in, it will be a PB for you :)


It's a tricky one. I have struggled with getting faster, but I am now seeing improvements....but slowly. The best way to increase speed is intervals and hill training. I still use the C 25k speed podcast, and I do it then run to make it a 5k and I have used on a 10k before as well. With regards to fuelling, I have a 'break' ie running slower every 3 miles on a long run and have sweeties, energy drink etc and I found that made all the difference. I aim to train my body in managing glycogen release better ( our bodies aren't trained for this which is why we get dizzy)... Good luck and I'm sure you will nail it :)


Hi! I too have my first HM in June, and I struggle with everything you have just asked, I'm following a plan and currently up to 8 miles which is roughly the same as you, and just thought I'd mention that you might find cross training an easier and safer way to get faster, especially because you have joined a gym, one or two cycling sessions a week really can make a difference, I can't say Ive seen the benefits in my own pace but thats because I have been slacking big time and not doing it properly. Good Luck! Hoping to finish around 2:30 too but if I finish then that would be good enough too!


on a training plan you will see 3k fast sessions early on. These are excellent for speed building

i ran without water on my training sessions but i would take a few sweets and a home made energy bar and have bits of that after 10 k. i would be well hydrated before setting off though



Yes, I'll be there. And I look forward to meeting you on the start line..... Assuming we can find eachother: there are 10,000 people who have entered now, anyhow, having done 22k this morning as part of my training for the same event, the light headed ness is without doubt due to a lack of hydration. Now bear in mind that on the day there will be drinks tables (you will have had the same emails as me) its important that you use them. It's also important to hydrate about 30 minutes before you start your training run and to take something with you when you run. I took a half litre bottle this morning into which I dropped a caffeine tablet and drank half of it after a third of thenway and the remainder after two-thirds. I also took some Lovehearts to give myself a sugar rush reward after every mile. These rewards are important not only from the point of view of replenishing water and energy but also to reward your head, which I maintain is the most important thing you use during running. Caffeine gets your heart rate up and reduces the initial 'start up' time so that you get into your rhythm more quickly.

Hers my big tip: I regularly record these long runs in km but reward myself every mile meaning that I am forced to do some mental maths and count in 1.6km slices. It's a distraction and it gives me focus. I can run 5k any time you like, 10k competently but a 21.1k HM is a heck of a challenge R and I think you and I need to prep seriously for it,

I'm sure you'll be fine. See you there!


Thanks for all these suggestions. Will take some mango sweets in my pocket for my 12KM today and see how it goes. May pop into SD later today and look for some water belt, in the meanwhile I'll take advantage of all the water points in the park.

10.000people? WOW!!! I look forward to maybe meeting some of you there. Good luck to all!


You may also like...