How To Start Training For Next Year’s Half Marathons

It’s never too early to start half marathon training – and this is why.

The Windsor Half Marathon will be held on 29th September 2019. That’s more than 9 months away. Surely too early to start training? What can you possibly do this far ahead?

Plenty, as it turns out! In fact, if you start half marathon training now, you will be ahead of the pack when the real work starts.

Here’s how to get a head start on half marathon training.

Half Marathon Training For First Timers

If next year’s Windsor Half will be your first ever half marathon, then it’s a really sensible idea to train for a long time. Don’t panic – this doesn’t mean you’ll be doing the serious mileage of a half marathon training plan for all that time! It simply means you’ll be able to add an extra block of foundation work onto the start of your training. And this can only be a good thing. More time in that prep zone means higher fitness, less chance of injury, and easier adaptation to the high mileage weeks.


What Kind Of Training Should You Do 9 Months Out?

With 9 months to go til the Windsor Half 2019, you have the luxury of really taking your time and perfecting the basics. This is something most people rush or gloss over. By starting so far out, you can put in the solid base work and eventually be a better half marathon runner. Most half marathon training plans last 12-16 weeks. So what should you do for the 5 months leading up to it? Well, you’ll be running anyway right? So make it count towards your half marathon by building a solid base.


Build Your Best Base

The goal of a base training period is to boost your fitness, add strength, and build endurance without impacting your recovery abilities. This means adding just enough extra intensity to your running to force adaptions, without getting tired.

During the base period you don’t need to go above 90% of your maximum heart rate. In fact, you should keep most of your runs around 70%-80%, with some higher intensity (but shorter) runs in there too. Think hilly runs or tempo runs to boost your cardiovascular system. But this is not the time for intervals, sprints, or track work.

In this longer base training period, you should mostly ignore the data from your Garmin and go by feel (or RPE) instead. Being tied to data feedback could mean you push yourself too fast, too soon. And this isn’t the goal of this build-up period.


Try this for a solid approach to your base training period

Day 1 Run 45-90 minutes at a steady pace which pushes you slightly

Day 2 Rest or cross train

Day 3 Run 30-60 minutes at moderate effort

Day 4 Speedwork: warm up, then run 3 x 3 minute pushes at 10K pace (with 2-3 minutes easy between each)

Day 5 Rest or cross truing

Day 6 A hilly 45-60 minute run (power up the hills)

Day 7 Rest

Day 8 Run 45-90 minutes easy pace

Day 9 Rest or cross train

Day 10 Run 30-60 minutes at moderate effort

Day 11 Speedwork: 30 second fast pace efforts with 1 minute recovery jogs (repeat for 10-15 minutes total)

Day 12 Rest

Day 13 Run 30-45 minutes moderate effort

Day 14 Longer speedwork session: 40 minutes at half marathon pace with middle 5K at faster pace

After this two-week block, take one week deload where you run 3-4 times at a moderate pace with no speedwork, hills, or high effort. Then repeat the block.


Get The Basics In Place

Use the time from now until the start of your official half marathon training plan to get the basics in place. Find a pair of running shoes that really suits you. Join a club if you can. Consider doing your local parkrun every few weeks. Get any niggles, aches and pains looked at by a physio or sports massage therapist. Make running a solid, non-negotiable part of your lifestyle healthy habits. Then when you come to crank up the intensity for proper half marathon training, you’ll be almost there!

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