Half Marathon Improvement Plan - Marathon Running ...

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Half Marathon Improvement Plan

R4inbowHalf Marathon
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I've been googling a bit to try and get an answer to this, but wondered if someone can point me in the right direction. I did a HM in March, then did very little running for the two months following and almost stopped completely. Currently working towards another HM in October (with the group here 😍), but my training plan kind of started from the beginning again due to my lazy couple of months so it's very similar to what I tried last time.

So what I'm thinking is that if I have my next HM already planned before I run in October, then I keep going afterwards. But I've no real idea what that plan would look like. If I go for the one I'm thinking of next it's end of Jan, so I would have about 15 weeks between the two. Do I keep my long runs the same length for that period? Do I cut them down, then build them back up? I'd probably do a 10k race or two between them, but apart from that I've no ideas!

I did my first HM in 2 hr 17 mins and think I'm hoping to do the second at a similar pace - both fairly flat although a lot of the training I do is hilly. So when I'm looking at a plan to go a bit faster, I don't want to do something crazy, but maybe try and improve by a couple of minutes? I'm not sure what's realistic to aim for there either!

This is all just planning for the future, but I like planning 😊

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WhatsappHalf Marathon

If you have built up the fitness, its no point dropping back. What you need to do is maintain what you have. When I did one HM in March and a secong in May I just kept my long runs to 15-18km. You could keep this higher (nearer 21km), but I have an arthritic knee so I am conscious not to put too much mileage on.

Other than that two other runs, one about 5-6km and the other at 10km.

Keep this up and you will improve in the second HM just through regular training.

R4inbowHalf Marathon in reply to Whatsapp

Thanks, that sound really sensible and achievable to me :)


You might find it would be nice to take a break for two or three weeks with reduced distances, and then build up again afterwards. You certainly should give yourself a chance to recover at least in the first week after the race. People get a bit paranoid about losing their ability if they take a rest, but that's really quite illogical if you enjoy distance running. When you have built back up, as Whatsapp said, keeping a steady longer run in your regime will help build up your fitness. But make sure you cut back your total weekly distance every three weeks to get some recovery time.

The 10K race is a great idea!

If I were you I would aim to improve my HM time by a bit more than just a couple of minutes - you need to set yourself up for success! Let's say you go for 2 hrs 10 mins finishing time, for example. That would require an average pace of 6:10 min/km. When you start your training for January, plan some intervals, and shorter runs, at 6:10 min/km. This will help you understand how you need to run to get that faster time.

R4inbowHalf Marathon in reply to roseabi

Thanks for the ideas around long runs, very useful!

Also appreciate the ideas for a target pace, I feel a long way off that now, but hopefully by then I'll be a long way from where I am now and it's good to have an idea of what might be achievable.

roseabiAdministrator in reply to R4inbow

You may be a way off it now, but the point is that you can start working towards it. Short intervals to start with, building up to more. Why not give it a go?! xxx


Now you've got the half distance in the bag you'll find a lot of it is mental. I know I can do a half now, so I don't worry too much about doing it all the time. I'll do a longer run once every fortnight maybe, if it's not raining, and one of those will be a halfish sort of distance - but I mix it up with intervals and gentle runs and whatever takes my fancy. Caveat, I'm a wing it sort of person, and most people prefer a more prescriptive approach-including you perhaps, if planning is your thing! But anyway, my point is, my half times have been improving consistently even with my fairly casual approach. So as long as you get out and keep running you'll likely find you improve. The more you dedicate to it the more you'll improve by! Something like a couple of minutes is a good, and very achievable target. That keeps things fun, but going in the right direction. And means that you can keep smashing your PBs on race day for a long time to come! You don't want to peak too soon πŸ˜„

OH and would you like a forum 'half marathon' badge? 😊

R4inbowHalf Marathon in reply to Sqkr

Thank you :)

Yes I'd love a forum half marathon badge 😊

SqkrAdministrator in reply to R4inbow

Ta da! 😁

WindozeHalf Marathon

Ah very good question and one that I have pondered a lot this year. If your giving yourself 15 weeks that is plenty.

First off recovery week. That's a must. Then it really depends on your level of fitness. Some people like to start from scratch and gently build back up as per standard plans.

If you feel comfortable and you are not burning out then 8-10 mile long runs are fine. Tbh I can drop out for a few weeks and quite easily come back with a string of steady 12k 15k 18k runs before taper.

Just adjust the plans. Stick with the speed and interval sessions are those are just as important. Just aim to peak your training at the same point a normal plan would.

I recently came out of a HM with 3 weeks before a 10k. I included a weeks rest and 2 week plan with a few days down time before the 10k. Managed a PB and the run felt good.

R4inbowHalf Marathon in reply to Windoze

I think I overdid the starting from scratch this time πŸ˜‚

But yes these are good ideas, a recovery week then back to 8-10 miles seems good to me. Great to know you did a 10k 3 weeks after and got a PB!


Very interesting answers to a great question. I have a hm early september and then great south in october but I would like to improve my time for great south. I intend to keep running 10 mile runs in training and it sounds like I need to get back into the interval training. Maybe some hill repeats too. Looks like i have some planning to do, i live by plans and dont have the confidence to wing it 😊

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