I've improved by......

I've taken 15 minutes off my half half marathon time this year just by running more regularly and without following a training plan - what have you improved by and how......?


  • that might just be a half marathon rather than half of one image
  • Running more regurlarly could be considered part of a training plan. I'm guessing that a 15 minute improvement was from quite a slow time. The higher the level the harder the improvements become. I once knocked 5 minutes off a 1.26 half marathon and was very surprised on the day. Days like that are very rare. Enjoy your 15 minute improvement but as you improve your gains will be measured in seconds rather than minutes. In anything we do having a plan is better then not having one no matter how loose it is. As, I think Bruce Tulloh once said,  something like, its about making a plan then sticking to it. Its basically that simple.
  • S_L_O, well done on the improvement. That's a real honeymoon type amount to lash off your pb so well done. I remember taking 7mins off my half marathon time from race 1 to race 2, just one month later. That was probably due to getting more used to the distance, and it being a less hard course!

     7 years on, after a few 2 or 3mins off here and there,  I took another 3mins off the half from last year to this, so you can still look to lop a few minutes off if you only run one or 2 a year and improve the training as you go.

     I should probably point out that the early improvments were simply due to running more year by year, and then once I'd stabilised on an unstructured 50miles a week for a year or so, have now graduated to a highly structured 70miles a week at peak schedule!!

    So basically the gains can keep coming, but you work harder and harder for them!

  • Thanks - I hadn't actually thought of it as a plan.  Just thought it would be good to see people posting improvements.  I had run somewhere in the 1.40s years ago but coiuldn't get back under the 2 hour barrier having started running again last year.  Now I've done that, I'm looking to improve further and do realise that 15 seconds would now be something to be pleased about.

    Thanks for noting your 5 minutes in the post as it's encouraging to see such an improvement on a quicker time.

    On Sunday, I'm running a half that I ran last year.  I can compare against last years time and the time I now consider to be my PB.  Whatever I run, I will enjoy it but I do like to feel like I am making some kind of progress.

  • S-L-O - which Half are you doing on Sunday? I'm doing Cardiff and recent training suggests that adding an extra 6 miles average pw (to my paltry average for the last Half of 13 pw) could take me from 1:44 to 1:37 or thereabouts. Looking forward to finding out in any case!

    Stevie G - interesting read. Changing the subject, how do you keep injury free with that mileage?

  • I plodder, the keys are gradual build up, and the correct easy/hard breakdown.

    Out of my 70miles, 2 sessions will be hard work outs, 1 will be a long slow run, and the rest are easy pace. The easy pace and LSR are run in the 7.19 to 7.51 region.

    It is essential to run the majority of your miles at comfortable easy pace, so that you not only increase your fitness, but also so you leave yourself fresh for the intervals which is where you really earn your corn!

     So many runners, (including me a while back) run every run at the same pace, which leads at best to plateau of race times, and at worst to injury, as typically these sessions are in the medium hard category.

  • Cheers, Stevie G. I think my problem has been to shun the easy stuff (and so then get injured!) Do you measure easy pace by reference to heart rate? I'm finding bpms are the best way to keep to a plan.
  • Some runners swear by heart rate monitors, runners a lot better than me. But I don't want to get into all that, I want to leave some kind of enjoyment to my runs!

    I've picked up my training times by listening to a well respected coach on this forum. He told me you train at your current fitness, not at some desired fitness.

    He worked out my training paces from my half marathon in Feb (1hr 19), that worked out at 6.04 a mile.

    Therefore, my half marathon pace became 5.58 to 6:04  (slight zone quicker to allow improvement).

    Other paces worked out as below

    • Easy pace  7.24 to 7.55
    • Steady pace 7.23 to 6.30
    • MP                6.23
    • HM               5.58 to 6.04
    • Tempo       5.55 ish
    • 10K           5.50 ish

    At first the easy pace sounded and felt slow as hell, but now it feels natural.

    A recent 10k pb, meant the above were all tweaked gently by a few seconds, making the training progressive.

    Otherwise, you just plateau as you'remsimply finding  the same sessions easier week by week.

    I got my 10k pb down to 35.52 last week, which works out as 5.48 a mile. My 10k training pace is now 5.43 to 5.48.

    I just went and did 12x600 up the track tonight at 1min 24 per lap, which works out as 5.36 a mile.

    So..it's all coming on, in a very anorak way!!

    I Plodder, it looks like you started out in the same ball park as me for half marathons, I did my first in 1hr 41 and got down to 1hr34 within 1 month. Simply adding mileage will bear big fruit if you have the time and the desire. And that's before you get all anorak as per my post image

  • i-plodder no not Cardiff - Dartmoor Vale which has a slightly smaller field of 400 for the half.  Would like to know if Cardiff is worth considering for next year.

    Stevie G - I mix up the speed a little but no dedicated speed work.  I am getting better at having an easy run which beats having a day that you are not running to the best of your ability and run slower than you feel you should.  I expect as I improve further I will need to start looking at a more structured training plan and more mileage.

    i-plodder it's about 20 miles for me as well instead of 10-12.  Probably going to increase that further with some early morning runs to take me up to about 30.

  • I ran my very first half marathon in 1'35 back in September. Since then I have been running 6 times per week following a strict programme. I have targeted Bath next year on 6/3 for my next half. Realistically do you think sub 1'30 is achievable?

  • Dylan Man - assuming you train right and keep it going there is no reason not to think that sub 1.30 is achievable.  Personally I set a target and evaluate it on a mile to mile basis.  That way if a particular mile hasn't gone to plan, I can leave it behind and get back on track for the next mile.

    I just missed an overall PB today but on essentially the same half marathon course today I was seventeen and a haf minutes faster than last year (which was my final and slowest half of the year).  I still felt it on the hills but managed to run all of them and feel in better shape at the end.  To be honest, my target for today was to get as close to my pb as possible on a tougher route. image

    You will have some idea on how you could do from your training and I would say target something you think you can achieve on the day or have an A (ideal) and B (good) target.

  • Thanks for the advice/ encouragement and congrats on todays effort. Upwards and onwardsimage
  • S-L-O, well done on Dartmoor Vale. I got a pb of 1:33 in Cariff yesterday so pleased with that image. You asked if I'd recommend it? I would: flat, friendly and scenic. But a lot of the reviewers today are very fed up with the lack of marshalling / pens to sort people out according to pace.

    Stevie G - thanks for input on pacing etc. You're right, though, need to up the mileage before I then become anoraky!

    I'm thinking of following a 5K programme (I've looked at Hal Higdon - but welcome any tips) in the run up to Christmas. But even that will involve finding more time to run. I'm not sure where I'll find it but let's see...

  • i-plodder - well done on Cardiff - I will definitely consider it for next year.

    Ran GSR on Sunday and was basically 2 minutes up on my PB at 10k and now really pleased with my benchmark for 10-miles.

    Maybe one more race this year and then keeping training over the winter before seeing what happens next year

  • i-plodder.

    My neighbour ran Cardiff and said it was a farce as the course was apparently 296m short? She also ran a PB but was told to adjust her time upwards by 2 mins odd!

    Whats your take on this?

    Regardless of that,good time!

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