The 12-week sub-1:45 half marathon plan is designed for the advanced to intermediate runner looking to take their half marathon training to the next level with increased mileage and more challenging, race-specific workouts.
To start this plan, you should be comfortable running 40-50 miles per week and currently be doing about 35-40 miles with at least a 10 mile long run. Your previous personal best should be at least better than one of the following:
5k – 23:00
10k – 43:30
HM – 1:50
Marathon – 3:45
The goal of this half marathon plan is to increase your weekly mileage to 45-50 miles per week and is a blend of stamina and speed endurance (the ability to hold a fast pace for a long time), which are critical to running your fastest half marathon.
The first 6 weeks of the program are designed to increase your general level of running fitness to its highest level by working on every energy system – threshold, speed and aerobic endurance.In the final 6 weeks we introduce the half marathon specific workouts and quality long runs. The half marathon specific workouts come in two varieties – stamina workouts, like tempo or threshold runs, and long speed workouts, like 5 or 6 x 1 mile. In addition, we mix in hard, quality long runs so you can teach your body how to run fast late in the race when you’re tired.
Plan written by Jeff Gaudette.
4 miles easy at 9:00 to 9:45 per mile
Start to get your legs by jogging easy for four miles. Concentrate on staying comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. Tell your friends, family and/or coworkers about your goal to break 1:45 in a half marathon. Committing to a goal is something to be proud of and talking about it helps many athletes stay dedicated and feel accountable to themselves.
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2 mile warm up, 8 x 800 meters at 7:25 to 7:30 pace w/45 sec walking rest, 2 mile cool down
When you have a rest period between intervals, what should you do? Stand, walk, jog? In short, I suggest standing if your rest period is less than a minute, walking if the rest is 1-3 minutes, and a slow shuffle jog if the rest is longer than 3 minutes (once you catch your breath). 1:45 is an ambitous goal. To reach that milestone, you'll have a short, fast workout like this one most weeks. They will improve your aerobic fitness, efficiency and confidence.
Exclusive training video: The 5-Minute Dynamic Warmup
2 mile warm up, 6 miles cutdown (8:30, 8:20, 8:10, 8:00, 7:50, 7:40 - No rest), 2 mile cool down
Your pace will increase dramatically from the first mile of your cutdown to the sixth. Don't stress too much about hitting your precise pace for each mile--focus on increasing your effort just a little with every passing mile. Make sure to refuel shortly after every strenuous workout. Your body absorbs nutrients fastest in the 30 or so minutes after a training session.
You may benefit from bringing fluids along on this run. To finish strong in a 10-mile run with hard efforts, many people will need a couple hundred calories and several ounces of water. Nutrition will be a big part of a successful race and many training runs, so start refining your nutrition strategy now. Every body is different so try different types and amounts of electrolyte, water and sugars to see what works best with your stomach.
Exclusive training video: Cut-Down Tempo Run
Optional 4 miles easy (9:00 to 9:45 pace) or cross training easy 40 minutes
Cardio cross training, which includes swimming, strength training, cycling, rowing, elliptical, stairmaster, hiking or another activity, is a great way to challenge your aerobic system without increasing the risk of injury or letting fatigue build up.
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4 miles easy (9:00 to 9:45 pace) w/4 x 20 sec strides
Stay comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. Strides are short accelerations from a stand-still up to a fast pace. They help refine your technique and improve efficiency at every speed. Take as much standing rest as you need between strides. Top out at a fast but comfortable speed--strides are not sprints. These will appear repeatedly through your training plan.
Exclusive training video: How and Why to Run Strides
10 mile long run, all easy pace (9:00 to 9:45 per mile)
Run with friends whenever possible. Company makes every workout more fun and fulfilling, and you might learn something from a veteran runner.
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4 miles easy (9:00 to 9:45 pace)
Stay comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. How is your body adapting to the new regimine? If you start to develop even a minor injury or are struggling to recover from the training, you are always empowered to take a day off or shorten a workout. No single training session is worth risking injury.
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