Planning to progress to HM distance - Marathon Running ...

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Planning to progress to HM distance

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K

Hello. This is my first post in this section, although I know many of you already from B210K. Having graduated last week, I’m looking forward to a month or more of consolidating 10K, but then I want to progress to HM distance.

Many of the plans out there are a bit off-putting because there’s so much cross-training and so many variables re: consecutive days/rest days etc. Seems like a lot of “management” and I don’t have access to a bike or pool so those aspects would make the “easy” aspects of my current routine very complicated.

Can I keep it simple, like B25K, and just add 1K per week to my long run every week until I hit HM distance? For variety, my other two runs would be a general-fitness “regular” 5K and a speed-based 5K (Parkrun).

Would be really interested in your thoughts and advice, on:

1. how essential you regard cross-training to be.

2. whether you would/wouldn’t recommend a basic increase in km per week.

3. whether there’s a particular plan you recommend to someone who has been doing this only since February but is committed to pushing it further.


53 Replies
backintime10 Miles

I would be interested to know this too !

Being a single parent of 3 children plus working full time, I need a plan I can fit around my life - I don't mind if it takes a bit longer than a full on training schedule.


Oh wow..hey you! Just wait for the answers... the folk on here are amazing and they will certainly give you the advice needed.

I am saying nothing right now as I am a beginner... and have only done one HM... but for what it is worth.. for me and many, many folk, cross training is essential.... stamina and strength is what is needed and that is what you get.

I am sure Sqkr and roseabi will be right along here soon :) x

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Oldfloss

Thanks, OF. I was pretty sure you’d say that! At the moment the only other exercise I do is walking. But plenty of it. Can that count as extra training?

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Stephen_UK

I walk too, a lot, and cycle... but there is much more to it than that...wait until some of the experts come along, they will give you advice that counts.. I am just finishing baby steps on this and I said after my first I would not do another... that is why I am already looking at one for next year, obviously :) Ha Ha..

The graduates on here and Sqkr and roseabi on here are amazing!

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Oldfloss

Thank you. Great to hear that you are planning for a half marathon.

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Stephen_UK

Well having done the one..I know a little bit of what to expect ...and I was only ever going to run 5K! Oh my! X


Hi Stephen. Here's a half marathon plan for 'beginners'.

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Hidden

Thanks, Clubber!

backintime10 Miles in reply to Hidden

there are so many, I was checking them out on the internet the other day

is this the one you're following?

how do you pick one? Are some better than others ?

Hidden in reply to backintime

I picked this one for Stephen_UK because it's for people who have just run 10k, and it seems pretty simple, you're not running more than 3 times a week and it has a long run that gradually builds up. It's very similar to the magic plan. But it's basically what most people do, you're just gradually building up distance, time on your legs. So just find one that works for you.

Personally I circuit train 2-3 times a week anyway.. I've been doing this from the very beginning. I just throw in some sprints/hill/interval training... a parkrun and a long run. This is how I've trained in the past, so I know it works for me.

AlMorr10 Miles

I don't see any harm on adding 1 Kilometre per week onto your running schedule, I have been running a 5K either on a Saturday at a parkrun or on a Wednesday near to where I live, but recently I have ran a 6K and a week later, yesterday, I ran a 7K without my problems whatsoever, my pace on the 6K was 7.25, on the 7K, pace was a little faster at 7.18, so sometime soon I will try for a 8K, amazing what I can do using my metromone app set at 162 steps a minute and also with my proper running shoes and socks to match. 😊 🏃

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to AlMorr

Thanks, Al. Adding a K per week always seems to work. It’s the complicated other bits that bother me! And as BIT said above, it’s fine if it takes more weeks to reach the same goal.

Xylem10 Miles

I looked at a lot of different plans before starting my HM training (wanted one that showed km) and settled on the Bupa beginner plan as it started where I had got to (5Km). Might be worth a look?

I tend to do yoga as my cross-training...

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Xylem

Thanks, Xylem. This certainly looks like one of the easier-to-conprehend plans.

I would love to keep Saturday Parkruns as a core part of any running plan I do, so whatever I do go with will need to be adapted to include that.

MacmacMarathon in reply to Stephen_UK

Yep, I used this as a starter and tailored it to suit my weekly schedule. Essentially a mix of speed work, easy and long runs are the main elements you will need. It worked well for me and I am now using their intermediate marathon plan to move up to the next distance. I don’t do much cross training as such these days, apart from push-ups.

cheekychipmunksHUHM v10Mile

Hi Stephen! 👋👋👋 Please tell nobody, but I’m very bad. Apart from walking my dog and (when my dicky rotator cuff lets me), doing yoga, I currently do nothing else except run. And yes, I add a km or so to a long run every 2-3 weeks. I did 18k this week, and KNOW that I’ll be able to achieve HM distance. 🏃‍♀️💪

The difference is, speed isn’t a priority of mine. I run my way, which I love. My 5k PB is 34.50, my 10k PB is 1:18:52 (give or take) and my 10 mile PB is 2:14 or so. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

So yes it’s doable, and I dare say I could shave time off with more cross training - but I don’t! Just putting it out there, but please don’t necessarily copy my example! 😅😅

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to cheekychipmunks

Hi CC. That’s incredibly reassuring to hear! I am not trying to cut corners or skimp in any way. Far from it. Just trying to fit this into a busy life and hold on to the momentum/enthusiasm of my first six months of running.

cheekychipmunksHUHM v10Mile in reply to Stephen_UK

My theory is that I have always carried a basic level of fitness as I used to ride a lot, plus work with horses which involved loads of lugging heavy things. So for me I work on common sense.

I try to incorporate runs with hills (PR sees to that!), and I use JogRunSprint every so often.

It just works for me, and I don’t feel like I’m cutting corners either. But like I say, I don’t mind about not being a gazelle - in fact I like snails! 😅 🐌 🏃‍♀️

OldflossAdministrator in reply to cheekychipmunks

I am glad you like snails:) That means you like me:)

It is definitely not about speed for so, so many of is about doing the distance and having enough left for those last two miles... or in my case the last one mile:)

We are all so different, that what works for one is not going to work for another and like you, I listen to my body and it tells me what to do and what I need :)

cheekychipmunksHUHM v10Mile in reply to Oldfloss

Absolutely OF! 🐌🐌 I know I definitely like you! 🏃‍♀️😀 I want to enjoy my running and I want to be able to appreciate my surroundings.

You’re right, some people strive to be the quickest, which is fantastic, but that’s not me. I’m happy to trundle along! 🏃‍♀️🐌🏃‍♀️🐌🏃‍♀️🐌🏃‍♀️

OldflossAdministrator in reply to cheekychipmunks

Me too..just pootling along... and the first HM is so special anyway... I stopped, very briefly and took photographs from the top of the viaduct on the Monsal Trail:) Just for misswobble who was ( and still is), such a support and inspiration to me when I was training for my HM...:)

cheekychipmunksHUHM v10Mile in reply to Oldfloss

I still maintain that without the support and camaraderie on here, I definitely wouldn’t have got this far, or met so many wonderful people! (Can’t wait to meet you Floss! 😀)

misswobbleMarathon in reply to Oldfloss

Speaking of which ....... 😁.

OldflossAdministrator in reply to misswobble

I really fancy a run together..even if you left me trailing in the dust! Haha 🐌

limberlouHalf Marathon in reply to cheekychipmunks

Yeah, I’m much the same. Run 3 times a week, don’t even do hills or speed work ( though I’m going to try to incorporate hills once it cools down again), ran 18k last week but my other runs vary from 3-10k depending on how I feel and I’m not fast at all. My times are much the same as CCs....5k 37:42, 10k 1:22, 18k 2:39. I do a bit of Pilates most weeks and a lot of walking/ gardening. But no cross training. I expect I’d be possibly stronger and faster if I did but at 66 I’m just running for me not to beat records.

cheekychipmunksHUHM v10Mile in reply to limberlou

Like minded spirits LL! 👊

Madge50Half Marathon

Hi Stephen, exciting! I’m no expert, but for me, I found cross training essential, I believe in needing to be strong and have stamina, and having a strong core is important, once you up to HM.......I do weight training twice a week and have done yoga - excellent for stretches. I cycle a bit too - I try to cycle to work twice a week, but I am a fair weather cyclist 😂

I run twice a week, one of which is parkrun - sometimes I’ve gone round parkrun again to get the distances in.

Any plan you find can be adapted to your routines, key thing is take your time.....

Good luck, let us know how you’re getting on


Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Madge50

Thank you, Madge. I’m very impressed that you fit all of that in.

Madge50Half Marathon in reply to Stephen_UK

Aahhh, it’s not quite as busy as you might think......I have a home gym, the weights happen after the runs.....and we have a yoga teacher who does sessions at my work place (term time), my work commute is the shortest it’s ever been, 10 mins by car, so it’s guilt that makes me cycle....😒 good weather.....and I swear a lot on the hills...😂

I’m quite lazy really, if it wasn’t so convenient, I’m not sure I’d do it.....


FlickM3Half Marathon

I never did any cross training. I sold my bike because I had so many near fatal misses cycling round Oxford when I lived there. I can’t use most of the gym because of old injuries. The Polar heart rate zone HM training plan I chose gave you an option of the plan plus structured cross training g, or just the running training. I chose the latter, run to the plan 5 days a week and swim on the other two days. I’m already walking a lot with the dogs every day, and I’ve started doing yoga again every day. The yoga and swimming are strengthening my core, arms etc, and help stretch out my leg muscles. The swimming is a real pleasure as Abingdon has a heated outdoor pool by the river and surrounded by trees: we even have ducks swimming up and down the lanes sometimes, and on sunny days it’s heaven. I’m finding this all the cross training I need, and it’s really helping my running.

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to FlickM3

Thanks, Flick. I’m going to take a look at the plan you mentioned.

Love the mental image of swimming in lanes alongside the ducks.

FlickM3Half Marathon in reply to Stephen_UK

The plan is only available if you have a Polar watch. The ducks are brilliant 😊

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to FlickM3

Oh, I see. That’s a shame. I think I will end up just adapting another plan to make it work for me.

FlickM3Half Marathon in reply to Stephen_UK

Sorry, I should have been clearer. You can still adapt a plan and substitute your own activities for cross training

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Stephen_UK

Any plan you choose can be adapted, they often have to be, just because of life... the important thing is, find one that feels right for YOU... we are all so, so different...and cross-training does include a lot of non equipment based is not all about gym work or cycling etc etc..:)

Flick is doing a lot that is building up her strength and her stamina... and I, count my two days with my small runner in training ( granddaughter) as real workout days!!! :)

K8nnoHalf Marathon

I’m hoping that what you’re planning will suffice, because it’s exactly what I’m up to. I completed C25K in Feb. I currently do a Parkrun at full pelt (27mins), then a long run two days later (last one was 15K in 1’36”) and another gentle 5K three days later. I’ve just been adding 1K to the long run per week and it seems to work well. I’m aiming to get up to around 19k before my half in September. I think that in an ideal world, yes it would be better to cross train and all that good stuff , but most of us already have to fit our 3 runs in between everything else that life throws at us. Good luck with it.

cheekychipmunksHUHM v10Mile in reply to K8nno

Sounds like me K8nno - except you’re a LOT quicker than me! 😅😅

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to K8nno

K8nno, this is very good to hear. Thank you. Is that an event coming up in Sept? If so, good luck.

K8nnoHalf Marathon in reply to Stephen_UK

Yeah, Great Scottish Run. I’m hoping that I don’t enjoy it too much and sign up for a full marathon!

SqkrAdministrator in reply to K8nno

Just jumping in to say Great Scottish Run, yasssss! I had a blast doing that last year. It's a really fun one. I'm still deliberating entering this year though as I know it is going to clash with another run, and I don't know where to pledge my allegiance!

Snuffy_THalf Marathon

Hello, make sure you put a cut back week in every month. I do every 2 weeks now as I'm over 50 and prone to injury. Your body makes adaptations with the increased mileage, so you need to give it a chance to adapt by giving it a rest by dropping your running by 20 to 30 % every 3 or 4 weeks. Overtraining injuries are common reading. Cross training will help you to avoid an injury from running alone. Good luck !

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Snuffy_T

Snuffy, this is very good advice re: cutting back and yes I would follow that pattern as established in the B210K plan.

C3POVirtual HM

It’s definitely doable that way, and that’s how I got to my few HMs. At the time, I also did 1-2 strength training sessions at home. I’m not doing the strength training right now, but really need to get back to it!

I’ve mostly done cross-training on a cheap stationary bike when I’ve been unable to run. This included when I injured my left foot before a major event.

So, yes, you can work up to a half without a complicated plan!

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to C3PO

Thank you, C3PO.


Don’t need a plan - just go to each week no more than 10% and every 4 weeks have a step back week. I don’t do any cross training besides walking the dog as I don’t have time. Well done.

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Tasha99

Thanks, Tasha. That’s extremely reassuring.

WhatsappHalf Marathon

I don''t do any cross training. I can't tell you whether I would be fitter if I did, but I doubt I would be a better runner. If you want to be a good runner, you need to spend time running. I did my first HM having done no more than 5k before staring a 12 week plan. I built up week by week.

You could probably afford to build up more than 1k per week as it is 10% of your overall weekly distance. So if your doing 5k/5k/10k say then you could add 2k to your long run the following week. You would also benefit from adding in a reset week every 4 weeks or so where you cut back on your mileage and revert back to say a 10k long run. Just to prevent any overuse injuries.

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Whatsapp

Hi Whatsapp. Yes, makes perfect sense. Rest and reset will definitely be parts of whatever approach I take. Thank you.


Oof look at all these replies 😄 Hello! Welcome to this wee corner of HealthUnlocked! Everyone's given you lots of excellent advice here already, but basically now you're used to regular running you can be a little more free with your regime and bring in much more personal choice.

We're all at different stages here, with people starting their training for a half right up to those doing ultra running and trails. So ask away, and unlike the other forums you might get several different but equally valid answers—it's best to absorb things and play about with it a bit, and figure out what works for you!

If you benefit from the motivation of following a plan Abi has devised a brilliant one that follows on beautifully from Ju's 10k plan, you'll find that stickied on the top of the forum somewhere. You can pick it up at any point, or wait for the next group start if you like. Alternatively, adding a bit onto your long run each time will also work, it's a more organic approach but gets you to the same point in the long term. As mentioned up there somewhere though, don't forget to rest... Overdoing things will likely lead to injury and that is the pits! Err on the side of caution, and most of all have fun! And tell us all about it too 😄

Regarding crosstraining, nope—not necessary. However, it's very much recommended, if possible! The more additional muscle groups you strengthen, the better your running will feel. It doesn't have to be anything formal, for example I walk an awful lot at a decent (read: impatient) pace, and also dot about on a bike most days on my commute, that's my cross training.

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Sqkr

Thank you very much. Yes, so much great advice on here, including yours. I am still mulling it all over during 10K consolidation and will work out a plan for September. I’m very pleased that there are so many possible approaches. And yes, rest will always be part of the programme. Thanks again

WindozeHalf Marathon

You can cross train at home with a mat, a kettle bell and some utube vids. A solid core is a bonus for distance running. A good core improves your running technique and a good running technique is more energy efficient

limberlouHalf Marathon in reply to Windoze

Ahh I’ve just remembered I have some dusty kettle bells in a cupboard.... might have to unearth them and browse youtube

Stephen_UKHUHM v10K in reply to Windoze

Thanks. Yes, I will work on some exercises at home. I do a few from pilates days so can add to those.

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