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Golden Rules

Run regularly

The training plan will help you teach your body to cope with the half marathon distance. Regular running develops stamina, strength and staying power and is the key to a successful half marathon.

Regular running means different things to different people. Your current fitness levels, motivation and half marathon target will influence your goal. It’s totally okay at this point to have done no regular running. Your objective is to build up the amount of walking, jogging and running you do so you feel more confident every time you venture out. This schedule is based around three runs a week.

It’s totally okay at this point to have done no regular running. Your objective is to build up the amount of walking, jogging and running you do so you feel more confident every time you venture out. This schedule is based around three runs a week.

Develop a routine

Developing the fitness to complete a half marathon takes time and it is with consistent training that you will arrive at The Big Half confident of going the distance.

Identify the times in your week when you can go for your run, whether it's in the morning, at lunchtime or after work. Find the best times that fit with your commitments and try to stick to them. Missing a few runs here and there is okay, but a stop-start running routine won’t see your fitness improve.

It might seem like you’ve got ages until The Big Half, but your body needs time to adapt. The next 13 weeks will fly past.

Identify the times in your week when you can go for your run. Find the best times that fit with your commitments and try to stick to them. Missing a few runs here and there is okay, but a stop-start running routine won’t see your fitness improve.

Be consistent

So, you get going and establish a routine, then the novelty factor comes to an end, there’s a spell of bad weather, work and family pressures kick in and you grind to a halt.

Week after week of a little regular training is much better than stop-start, disjointed weeks. Following a plan consistently over the 13 weeks will make a huge difference to your fitness.

That said, it’s important to recognise when you need to prioritise other areas in your life. Sometimes, you might need to change your routine and be flexible. That’s just fine; make your training fit around your life and your schedule.

Following a plan consistently over the 13 weeks will make a huge difference to your fitness. That said, it’s important to recognise when you need to prioritise other areas in your life. Make your training fit around your life and schedule.

You can do it

The hardest steps to take for many runners (novice or experienced) are the first ones up off the sofa and out of the front door.

The greatest hurdle is making that first commitment. Taking those first tentative steps outside in running shoes and getting going is easy once you’ve decided you want, and can, do it.

Don’t be daunted by the prospect of getting started.

The greatest hurdle to running is making that first commitment. Taking those first tentative steps outside in running shoes and getting going is easy once you’ve decided you want, and can, do it. Don’t be daunted by the prospect of getting started.

Hurry slowly

A common problem with novice runners is that they leave their front door and sprint as fast as they can. By the time they reach the end of the road, they’re red in the face, doubled over and thinking, ‘It’s no good, I can’t do this running’. They give up and drag themselves home, exhausted and dejected.

Spend the first few weeks of your new regime regularly walking until you feel confident enough to break into short periods of jogging with regular walk breaks.

Gradually lengthen the time you spend jogging and shorten the time you spend walking.

Don't run before you can walk! Spend the first few weeks regularly walking until you feel confident enough to break into short periods of jogging with regular walk breaks. Gradually lengthen the time you spend jogging and shorten the time you spend walking.

Get the training right

This 13-week training plan is designed to get you gently to the start and finish. Even if you’ve done no running in the past you can start with this plan.

Consider your effort level when getting going. Be kind to yourself. Walk when you need to, slow down when it feels right, gather yourself and keep moving. The plan starts off with walking and running and builds up so you are running longer, and then faster, and feel confident and ready for The Big Half.

Remember: there are no style prizes in running. What matters most is not what you look like but the fact you are doing it!

Be kind to yourself. Walk when you need to, slow down when it feels right, gather yourself and keep moving. The plan starts off with walking and running and builds up so you are running longer, and then faster, and feel confident and ready for The Big Half.

Form and posture pointers

  1. Keep your head relaxed and steady
  2. Let your shoulders hang naturally; don’t hunch
  3. Bend your arms to 90 degrees by your sides and allow them to swing freely backwards and forwards close to your body like a pendulum
  4. Keep your body upright
  5. Keep your knees, hips and lower legs in a forward line
  6. Most of all – feel relaxed, balanced and in control
  1. Keep your head relaxed and steady
  2. Let your shoulders hang naturally
  3. Allow your arms to swing freely, close to your body like a pendulum
  4. Keep your body upright
  5. Keep your knees, hips and lower legs in a forward line
  6. Feel relaxed and in control

Schedule

How to use the training plan: types of running and effort levels

Levels 0-4 (40% max): Easy, a gentle pace.

Levels 5-6 (50-60% max): Steady, able to hold a conversation.

Level 7 (70% max): Tempo, starting to get out of breath.

Level 8 (80% max): Threshold, difficult. Controlled discomfort.

Levels 9-10 (90-100% max): Fast, high intensity. Quickly out of breath.

Long runs (LR) – effort level 4-6

Long runs are the money miles that build your stamina. Gradually build up the time/distance you are able to run for over many weeks to train your body to deal with the distance.

Steady Runs (SR) – effort level 5-6

Running at ‘threshold’ pace is about running under ‘controlled discomfort’ and improves your running efficiency. They require concentration but are well worth the effort. Threshold runs give a great fitness return on your running.

Steady Runs (SR) – effort level 5-6

These are the bread and butter of your training and the ‘miles in the bank’. They build stamina and economy.

Threshold Runs (TR) – effort level 8

Running at ‘threshold’ pace is about running under ‘controlled discomfort’ and improves your running efficiency. They require concentration but are well worth the effort. Threshold runs give a great fitness return on your running.

Speed Training (SP) – effort level 9

Running fast (9-10 in terms of effort) helps build top end speed, increase VO2 max and is great for running form and technique. A little speed training helps in all training plans.

Select a week

Week 1

Get going. Establish a routine that works for you. Commit to four runs per week

30'

Tuesday

  • 30 min easy run effort level 4

45'

Thursday

  • 45 min easy run effort level 4

40'

Saturday

  • 40 min steady run effort level 5

?

Sunday

  • 6 mile long run effort level 6

Week 2

Stick to your routine. Your goal is to become habitual with your running; to make it a regular feature of your week

Tuesday

  • 40 min steady run effort level 5

40'
45'

Thursday

  • 45 min easy run effort level 4

40'

Saturday

  • 40 min steady run effort level 5

?

Sunday

  • 7 mile long run effort level 6

Week 3

Introduce some faster paced running as a threshold interval workout

Tuesday

  • 40 min steady run effort level 5

40'
35'

Thursday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 5 min threshold (effort level 8) x2

  • 5 min easy recovery run

  • 10 min easy run

45'

Saturday

  • 45 min steady run effort level 5 

?

Sunday

  • 8 mile long run effort level 6

Week 4

Four weeks ticked off. Up the ante on your longer stamina run. Start to understand some pace and effort control

Tuesday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 3 min threshold runs (effort level 8) with 2 min easy run recovery after each effort x5

  • 10 min easy run

45'
45'

Thursday

  • 45 min steady run effort level 5

46'

Saturday

  • 10 min steady run effort level 5

  • 8 min threshold runs (effort level 8) with 5 min easy run recovery after each effort x2

  • 10 min easy run

?

Sunday

  • 8 mile fast finish long run effort level 6 

Control the pace. Feel comfortable for the first four miles then pick up the pace for the final four miles. Run the second half of the run faster than the first.

Week 5

Build your longest run and introduce some speedy stuff!

Tuesday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 2 min fast runs (effort level 9) with 2 min easy run recovery after each effort x6

  • 10 min easy run

44'
50'

Thursday

  • 50 min steady run effort level 5

56'

Saturday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 7 min threshold runs (effort level 8) with 5 min easy run recovery after each effort x3

  • 10 min easy run

?

Sunday

  • 10 mile long run effort level 6

Control the pace from the start. Be disciplined.

Week 6

Introduce a sustained threshold run. Top up your long run with a focus on some half marathon paced running

Tuesday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 90 second fast runs (effort level 9) with 90 second easy run recovery after each effort x8

  • 10 min easy run

44'
30'

Thursday

  • 30 min continuous threshold run effort level 8

50'

Saturday

  • 10 min easy

  • 7 min threshold runs (effort level 8) with 3 min jog recovery after each effort x3

  • 10 min easy run

?

Sunday

  • 10 mile long run effort level 6

Break this run up into sections: 3 miles at slower than target half marathon pace, four miles at target half marathon pace, three miles at slower than target half marathon pace

Week 7

Run your longest training run to boost your confidence that you’ve got the distance covered

Tuesday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 60 second fast runs (effort level 9) with 60 second easy run recovery after each effort x12

  • 10 min easy run

44'
50'

Thursday

  • 15 min threshold run (effort Level 8) with 5 min easy run recovery after each effort x2

  • 10 min steady run (effort level 5)

?

Sunday

  • 12 mile long run effort level 8

Break this run up into 4 x 3 mile sections: three miles at slower than target half marathon pace, three miles at target half marathon pace, three miles at slower than target half marathon pace, three miles at target half marathon pace

Week 8

Start to back off to be race ready

Tuesday

  • 40 min easy run

40'
50'

Thursday

  • 10 min easy run

  • 3 min threshold runs (effort level 8) with 2 min easy run recovery after each effort x6

  • 10 min easy run

30'

Sunday

  • 30 min easy run

?

Sunday

  • 8 miles relaxed run

Week 9

The Big Half race week. Be ready!

Tuesday

40'
  • 10 min easy run

  • 2 min runs at target half marathon pace/ effort (effort level 8) with 2 min easy run recovery after each effort x5

  • 10 min easy run

20'

Thursday

  • 20 min easy run

Saturday

10'
  • 10 min easy run

Sunday

?