How To Train For A Half Marathon On 3 Runs Per Week

The busy man’s guide to making the step up to 13.1 miles

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If you’re feeling ready to make the step up from 5-10K races, but aren’t sure whether you have the time to train for a half-marathon, fear not – you do!

To start, the key to any successful training plan is feasibility. To train for a half-marathon, you will have to up your mileage, but it doesn’t have to conflict with your packed schedule.

First thing’s first: book yourself on to a race. Allow yourself at least three months. Done that? Good. Now there’s no turning back.

Quality over quantity

Here’s the good news: half-marathon training can be successfully conducted on just three, high quality runs a week. But it is absolutely essential that one of those runs is long and steady.

Begin with a three-miler in week one and work your way up to twelve miles the week before the race. Timing isn’t important; just focus on running for the full duration. Aside from the physical conditioning that this will bring, running for longer will also help you mentally prepare for running 13 miles. As much as anything else, it will show you that you really can do it.

The other two runs should be used to hone tempo and speed. One should involve a steady progression throughout the weeks, starting on three and building up to no more than six to eight miles, at your desired race pace. So, if you’re planning on running a 1:45 race, three miles should be completed at around 8:10/8:20min/mile pace.

Your second session will be hill repeats. Find a hill with a challenging incline and, after a proper warm-up, complete eight to ten, controlled 60 – 90 second runs. These will be tough, but they will build up your glutes and work wonders for your aerobic capacity – you’ll thank us when mile 10 comes around on race day!

And that’s it: a half-marathon training schedule, fit for all. If you have more time, then one day of low-impact cross-training, such as swimming or cycling, would be a bonus, but don’t go all out, as rest-time is crucial.

Good luck!

3 beginner-friendly half-marathons

Maidenhead

One of the flattest 13.1-miles on offer, Maidenhead is a great entry point into the half-marathon world.

Sunday 2 September, £28/£30

purplepatchrunning.com

Cardiff

Sunday 1 October, £39/£41

A fast course taking in the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Bay, this is a good bet for first-timers and PB-chasers alike.

cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk

Glasgow

Sunday 30 September, £35

A little more undulating but packed full of atmosphere, this event is a starting place for your half-marathon adventures.

greatscottishrun.com

Men's Running

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