Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Intermediate 2

Average Weekly Training Hours 00:46
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 00:46
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Intermediate 2: This is a new program, one of three new programs I created for my recent book, "Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training. I split the old, single Intermediate program in two: Intermediate 1 (endurance) and Intermediate 2 (speed). The main difference between the two is that Intermediate 2 features one day of speedwork. I don't consider one program harder than the other. They exists parallel to each other in different universes, like the Earth 1 and Earth 2 of comic book lingo.

The third new program is Half Marathon 3 (HM3), similar to my Marathon 3 program in that it features only 3 days of running and 2 days of cross-training. It is aimed at those runners who find it difficult to train 4, or 5, or 6 days a week. Take a look at all my training programs before you push the "buy" button. Make sure you select the program most appropriate for your level of fitness.

Mondays in 1/2 Marathon--Intermediate 2 is for cross training, starting at 30 minutes, peaking at 1 hour in Week 11, one week out from your half marathon race. Tuesdays and Thursdays are easy days: 3-5 miles. In between on Wednesdays, you do speedwork, alternating tempo runs with interval training on the trac. Fridays are rest days leading to some pace running on Saturdays and long runs on Sundays, starting at 5 miles, peaking at 12 miles one week before the half marathon.

Half Intermediate 2, make no mistake, is for experienced runners: individuals who have left their Novice roots behind and who want to improve their performances. Each day I will send you an email message telling you what to run and offering a tip about training. For more information, visit my website: halhigdon.com.

Good luck following my Intermediate 1/2 Marathon Training Program.

Sample Day 2

Three miles at a comfortable pace. Run at a pace easy enough so that you can hold a conversation with a friend without getting too much out of breath. You simply want to cover the distance, not cover it fast. Do you strength train? Tuesdays and Thursdays might be good days for such alternate exercises. It always works best to lift after your run, rather than before. That's because your muscles will be looser after they're warmed up.

Sample Day 3

The difference between Intermediate 2 and Intermediate 1 is one day of speedwork each week. Head to the track: 5 x 400 meters at 5K pace, walking and/or jogging 200-400 meters between. Be sure to warm up and cool down before and after this workout, and that means doing some stretching as well.

Sample Day 4

Run 3 miles at the same comfortable pace you ran on Tuesday. Speed doesn't matter on Thursdays; distance does. You will burn approximately 300 calories covering 3 miles. Over a period of 12 weeks--if you kept the distance the same--you would burn 3,600 calories on Thursdays. Theoretically, this would allow you to lose one pound of weight from your Thursday workouts alone.

Sample Day 6

Three miles at an easy pace. You can flip-flop the Saturday and Sunday workouts if you want. As we progress through the 12-week program, you will be asked to run some of these Saturday workouts at your half-marathon race pace. If you want to do your long runs on Saturdays rather than Sundays, simply adjust the dates on your planning calendar.

Sample Day 7

This is the key day of our Intermediate program for the half marathon. On Sundays, we run long. Five miles this first weekend may not seem long, particularly if you have a previous background as a runner, but over the next 11 weeks we will take you to 12 miles for your maximum long run.

Sample Day 9

A relatively easy day. Go 3 miles at a comfortable pace. One way to determine that comfortable pace is to wear a heart monitor that tells you that you are keeping your pulse rate between 65 to 75 percent of maximum. Or listen to your body. If you begin feeling uncomfortable, slow down. Or even walk!

Sample Day 10

Do a 30-minute tempo run, a change of pace from the 5 x 400 you did last week. It's still speedwork, but in a different format. Run easily for 5-10 minutes, accelerate to where you are running almost as fast as 10-K pace in the middle section, hold for a few minutes, then slow your pace over the last 5-10 minutes. Tempo runs can be done anywhere--even on a track--but I like doing them in the woods, where there are no landmarks to tell you how far you've run.

Hal Higdon
Hal Higdon Communications

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).