Links to other sources
- Wellington Marathon Clinic Training information
- Gary Moller Training & Health
- Gary Moller new web site
- Endurance Coach Endurance Coaching
- Performance Lab Training & Testing
Training article courtesy of Runner’s World magazine. runnersworldonline.com.au
Training for 21
Whether you're planning to run your first or your fastest half marathon, we've got the plan for you.
By Brian Schepisi
The half marathon is an increasingly popular race distance. It doesn't leave you as fatigued as a marathon does and doesn't require as much training, yet is still far enough to leave you with a feeling of immense satisfaction on race day. Our schedule covers 12 weeks -the Gold Coast Half Marathon and the Mid-Winter Half Marathon in Kawerau, New Zealand, are right in your sights. But if those don't suit, there are plenty more half marathons on the race calendar. Read the description for each level and choose which program is best suited to you. Then get training!
Before starting this program you should have been running for at least six months. Your weekly long run should be close to 10km and you will have completed some funs runs of this distance. Ideally, you should be running 20 to 25km a week. Your aim is to finish the half marathon with a smile, so don't worry about finishing times. This is a stress you can well do without in your first big race.
You have been running for at least 12 months and have already run a half marathon. This time around you're looking for a PB. Your current running base is 35 to 40km a week, with a long run of 15km. You include speed work in your training at least once a week throughout the year.
Looking to really hit your best? Runners following this program will be doing a regular long run of 18 to 20km and a base of 50km a week that includes one or two speed sessions. Regular racing over varied distances is a must.
Setting intensities using heart rate: if you train with a heart rate monitor use the training zones described. These are a percent of maximum heart rate (MHR). The basic formula of 220 minus your age gives an approximate MHR, although the only way to get an accurate assessment is to do a time-trial over a kilometre. Only runners doing speedwork regularly should attempt this. In my coaching I prefer to get athletes to run intervals to pace rather than heart rate/km repeats for example.
Run at a relaxed pace (about 70 to 80 percent of MHR). It is okay -even quite sensible -for beginners to include walking breaks. As long as you cover the distance it really doesn't matter how you do it; it's learning to be on your feet for that length of time that counts. Stronger runners should run at a pace 45-to 60-seconds per kilometre slower than their 10km pace with the option to come home stronger. Hills can also be included in the long run but don't make them too steep. Ifyou you're doing most of your running on a flat course make sure your legs know how hills feel.
Just as the name suggests, these runs are relaxed! You should be running at 70 to 80 percent of MHR. If you feel good, work at closer to the 80 percent end of the spectrum, but if you are struggling, stick to the 70 percent of MHR. They are not as easy as easy runs but not as fast as tempo runs.
Keep these at a very easy pace with your HR in the 60 to 65 percent zone.
The pace of these runs is strong, but not so strong that you can't hold a good relaxed rhythm. Aim to be in the 85 to 90 percent maximum heart rate zone. For advanced runners the pace is around 10 secs per kilometre slower than 10 km race pace. Intermediate runners can go by their HR or “feel”: steady but without lactate accumulation. If you are huffing and puffing madly and starting to slow down you have gone too fast. Slow down until you are running at a steady pace you can maintain for the duration of the workout.
1 km repeats
Run these 10 to 15 secs per kilometre faster than your 10 km pace. Aim for an even pace the whole way. If you have to slow down near the end you are going out too fast at the start. It may take you a few of these sessions to judge the right speed.
This simply means "speed play": are changing pace regularly throughout your run. After your warm-up run, start surging for the time indicated then run easier before the next surge. Around 10 km race pace is a good surge speed, but you should go by feel. It is better not to go too easy on the recoveries. Keep the overall intensity of the session up.
These are part of your preparation, but not and end goal in themselves. Be careful not to focus too much effort on these otherwise you may peak for the wrong race. The risk of injury is always there in racing. Save your maximal effort for the next marathon.
Studies show that cross training – for example cycling or water training – gives a boost to your running. (The exception is possibly elite runners). So consider adding one or two cross training sessions to your weekly routine.
Core strength (focusing on the muscles in your abdomen and back) is important for all runners. Being strong in theses areas helps stabilize your pelvis during running –important in preventing injury. Such strength will also help maintain good posture and techniques even when you are tiring, such as during a race. This means you will maintain better speed. One or two 20 to 30 minutes strength sessions a week is all you need.
The two major causes of injury to runners are increasing distances too quickly and doing speedwork without proper conditioning first. Whichever program you choose to follow, make sure you have the required fitness before you start.
Diet and rest
The importance of a good diet and plenty of sleep can’t be overstated. The better you eat and sleep, the faster you will recover between training runs. If you feel sore or tired replace your run with an active recovery session – a cycle, swim or walk. Or have an extra rest day! Massages, stretching and cold water (ice) are all great for sore legs.
Run your own race
This also applies to training. Work at your own level, not somebody else’s. Don’t get into the habit of chasing faster runners on all your runs. Easy running days are just as important as stronger days. Save your best effort for your goal race.
Vary your route.
The excitement of training for a marathon can be hard to sustain every day over three months. Trying to fit a run into a day filled with other obligations means many of us end p running the same route every day because it is convenient. This can get boring and dull your motivation. Drive somewhere different for you Sunday long run – perhaps somewhere the family can have an outing too. Or join a club or running group for a run every fortnight. This adds variety to your routine, without interfering with your training.