Creating a cohesive, structured workout plan is an important part of improving times at any race distance. The goal is to find the right mix of speed, distance and mileage that will prepare you for the specific demands of your chosen race. I know I have googled “half marathon workout plan” a million times, and have found the possibilities endless, and the information at times contradictory.
So, I’ve put together a list of four of my favorite half marathon plans, each of which offers a slightly different workout mix but with the same basic philosophy.
1. Greg McMillan’s Half Marathon Plan for Irish HM record-holder Martin Fagan: From a Running Times magazine, this six-week half tune-up plan stresses long steady-state runs(think marathon pace or slightly faster for 8-10 miles) and tempos, hill workouts for lactic acid tolerance, and long runs with some speed thrown in. In my opinion, a steady-state run of 8-10 miles has best prepared me for grinding it out over 13.1.
2. Ryan Hall’s Half Marathon Training Plan: There are a few Ryan Hall plans floating around, and I tend to like this one–originally posted on Nissan.com of all places. I would tinker with the mileage and rest, but this plan has three fairly tough workouts a week, although none are too long. He has one short, intense interval session per week, and one or two tempo or steady-state runs. I’ve incorporated one workout into my regiment fairly regularily:
- On a long run of say 16 miles, at mile 10, I’ll start doing 10×1 minute sprint surges, with one minute jog between. The change in speed stresses the system when you’re already fatigued, which should help for the grind of 13.1
3. Let’s Run 5 Key 15k Workouts: This is from the Let’s Run forum contributor responsible for 5 Key Marathon Workouts. He has a great blend of workouts–go with two a week and a long run–which include cruise intervals, steady-state runs and sub-threshold repeats.
4. RunningPlanet Half Marathon Workouts and Training: These plans all stress more or less the same thing: speed workouts combined with working speed over distance. From this list, I like the 3-8 mile repeats at 10k pace with 3 minute recovery, and goal pace running. Well, maybe “like” is not the right word. Let’s just say mile repeats are productive. Like all of these plans, two workouts a week is going to put you in amazing shape come race day.