Ask the Experts: Half-Marathon Training Q+A with Bud Baldaro

Hi everyone,

Running coach and ASICS PRO Team member Bud Baldaro will be online between 12.15pm and 1.15pm today to answer your queries about half-marathon training. Whether you’re taking on your first or fastest half-marathon yet, get the answers to all your posers.

Bud Baldaro is one of the country’s leading middle and long distance running coaches. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience and he has worked with Olympians, World and European Champions. A former national marathon coach, he now works as a mentor for England Athletics, so he’ll be ready for all your half-marathon training questions.

Bud is joining us to mark the start of our Half-Marathon Newsletter, powered by ASICS. Our weekly half-marathon newsletter will provide schedules and training advice to get you race ready for the Bupa Great North Run – or your autumn half-marathon of choice.

We're opening the discussion now so Bud will be able to get stuck in straight away at 12.15pm - so get posting!



  • Can you give advice on wearing compression socks for my first half marathon, please

  • Hi Bud. What are the best interval sessions i can do to improve on my recent 76 mins for half marathon. My pb is 73.46 so it would be great if i could get back to that. Any help would be much appreciated thanks 

  • Hey Bud,

    In October im attempting 2 half marathons, the Royal Parks Half and Run to the Beat. The runs are spaced 3 weeks apart on the 7th and 28th. I've trained for halfs before with a PB of 1.37 and Im looking to beat my PB in at least one of the races. I was wondering if you had any advice on training for this. Should I include more cross training or strength classes to improve my core strength and recovery or should I focus more on just the running.

    any advice will be great!



  • Hi Bud.


    Running the Windsor Half in October. I'm trying to get from a 2hr pb (Reading in March) down to 1:50. Doing lots, pace is increasing gradually, but feel I need more focus to make it. Any advice on what I should focus on between now and the race would be greatly appreciaated.

    Thanks, Mark.

  • Hi Bud,

    I have made a gradual return to running, having had a stress fracture of the medial malleolus earlier this year (from over-training for my 3rd marathon).  I am doing my 3rd half marathon on 28th October and  am keen to get a sub 2hr time (my PB is 2:03:57).  Any advice on training plans and what to focus on during my training to ensure I don’t overdo it again?

    Many thanks,


  • Planning on running the Blenheim Palace 1/2 in October, but have been dogged by injury. I am recovering from Achilles Tendinitis, which has meant that I am only just getting back into training (for about a month) after 2 months of no running at all. My achilles is still not 100% but is improving well.

    Have you any tips on training techniques whilst recovering from such an injury?

  • Hi Bud, I'm a 1.50 half marathon runner but obviously I'd like to be faster. Everyone tells me the next step is hill training but I'm not clear on how big, steep, long the hill needs to be. Also what reps and frequency am I looking at. Cheers Brian

  • Hi there Bud

    I have signed up for the Blenhiem half in October too.  I am very overweight though - 15 st at the moment athough I have lost 2 1/2 stone since this time last year.  I run 5k 3 times a week at a very slow pb of 41 mins (10m mins better than in February)...I am trying to do one longer run at the weekend aswell and am up to 8 miles although that took me 2 hrs to do.  My question is do you think I am too heavy to complete a half marathon?  My mum really doesn't want me to do it (my dad died of a heart attack last June) I am still loosing weight gradually (with slimming world) but I am just SO slow.  I have no injuries and enjoy running a great deal.

    Thank you for your time.


  • Hi Bud. I'm aiming for a sub 90 HM this autumn. What should my weekly tempo session look like? I can do a weekly 4 mile tempo at 6:45-6:50 at the moment, but wasn't sure if this was fast enough or long enough. Thanks.

  • Hi, I've been training for my first HM in early Sept, and was doing well (11 miles in 1h 50m - I'm a newbie to running) but recently tore a muscle in my hip... i've seen the physio and she is confident I will be match ready, and I have corrective trainers for over-pron and insoles to put me back in alignment... but what's the best way to get back up to half marathon training when I've been out for 6 weeks without putting myself back on the bench?  I do cycling and swimming to keep the cardio and confident that my fitness is good, I just want to get back into running with confidence.  I'm going for a finish rather than a time, so do you have any tips?

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Back to KK's Q. about calves. i have experienced similar.

    I have really tight calf muscles. It doesn't really appear to effect me when I train, just race, esp on the road. They are not sore as in muscle soreness, just hurt when I do anything that requires me to use them stretched - like pushing wheelchairs up hill which I have to do - calf raises etc.

    I tend to mid / forefoot strike - I presume as I used to skip a lot. I also run off road and on hilly terrain.

    I do stretch but this makes no difference. It is running related as when I don't run it eases considerably.

  • As with all these issues Wendy  it is important  that you practise wearing compression socks on at least long run.

    Seek advice from a specialist running store about best ones to buy.

    Ensure  they support without being too tight.

    good luck and enjoy

  • Lil.Lil. ✭✭✭

    Hello Bud, I am training for the GNR this September. last year I did it in 2hr36min this year I would like (LOVE) to do it under 2.30. My schedule aiming for that target says my race pace needs to be 11.20 per mile. Anyway, today my speedwork run: Dist:5mi, inc Warm, 2x1600 @ 9.48 w/800 Jogs; Cool. I did it, but.. I hate speedwork & dislike Tempo runs, I really can't do them very well. Do I have to fit them into my plan to get the aimed for time ?

    Thank you.

  • Dear Neil

     would recommend that you definitely integrate repetition/interval work into your training or even better a mix of tempo and interval work

    eg 10 mins tempo  54-6 x 800 at  half PB speed off sho rt recovery  and then finish wiith another block of tempo.

    Massively beneficial and good fun.

    Hope it works for you but ensure you follow hard day with 2 easy days to allow body to adapt.



  • An  interesting challenge Matt. Think you  need, having checked profiles of courses which one you to intend to target as your PB attempt.

    If the second one you could perhaps practise PB speed for part of first one using first one as full dress rehearsal eg drinks/ pace judgement etc

    Follow that with easy  few days then 10 day block of training then taper before the PB/. Core work is incaluable and you can always find time to do 5-10 mins per day watching TV etc. 

     Here's to a great PB

    Bud B

  • Kittenkat 

    is this a drinks/elecrolyre problem?

    Are you fully hydrated?

     Hoow about tweaking some of your training  to face this issue

    eg 8-10 miles very steady and then finish with 4-5 x mile at  6 25-30 pace to give you confidence that situration is surmontable.

    Good luck

  • Dear Percx

    lovely to read of your ambitions.

    2 keys would look at.

    1 long tempo runs-- ie controlled discomfort over 7 -10 miles or 2 x 3-4 miles if preferable to rehaerse good rhythm and SUSTAINED pace running


    2 relevant and appropriate pace on long runs 

    aim to run 1`5-16miles at  pace of 40 se  per mile outside target time. Ensure such a run  is controlled and manageable and enjoy confidence of going over distance at good pace.

    Hope you hit your target

  • Hello Bud,

    My question is about preparation. I did my first half marathon on 13 May. I was relatively well prepared -- I'd run 13 miles quite regularly, and had done a 15.5 mile run a week before the half. The race went well (I was happy with my time of 1:52, and I felt good the whole way around.) My problem now is that I have a half marathon this Sunday & I don't feel as well prepaped -- I was away for over two weeks and only did short runs on the holiday. In the last week and a half I've run 10.5 miles, 13.5 miles, and raced 2 miles, 5k & 5 miles. What is the best approach now for the next 3 days -- just rest and take the half easy and not worry too much about time? I am afraid I'm unprepapred & won't be able to finish ...

  • Hi Bud, could you recommend a great half marathon for the autumn. My coach has said that he will only allow me to run the Pisa marathon in December if I achieve a PB in late September or October, so I need a good race to get the time. My coach is a bit mean-spirited like that... Hope you're well.

  • Hi Bud, I'm doing an off-road/hilly half in ten days.  I think I'm in good shape as I ran a marathon recently and should be able to handle the distance pretty easily.  Do you have any recommendations for a last session / couple of sessions to put in before race day?  Thanks very much!  D

  • dear Shalha

    you dont say how many times a week you run


    you have bags of time to get in great shape-28 weeks.  Presupposing you run 3 -4 times per week would go for

    1 gradual increase atspending time on your feet ( pref if safe on grass/parkland etc)

    2Quality tempo work or pref mix of tempo  and faster work

    3 recovery running

    4 if time a session  of relevant long reps

    eg 5-8 x mile at slightly faster than race pace off short a recov as you can realistically cope with. Again given  injury history on grass.

    Good luck


  • Also-ranAlso-ran ✭✭✭

    My half PB is a bit soft, and have some races coming up. I have been running tempo runs based on heart rate in the range 77% - 88% of heart rate reserve (P&D recommendation.)

    Recently I was running a hilly marathon and my heart rate was constantly over this range recommended  for tempo runs. As I ran for 3 hours like this, should I push my tempo runs harder?    (p.s. I have rechecked my max and resting heart rate to make sure this was not in question). Thanks

  • Andy you have ben inthe wars.

    But you can stay/ get verty fit by cross training and loads of it


    acqua jogging -simulate running sessions


      spinning classes

    nordic cros trainer

    pilates/ yoga

     be creative the heart  only knows it s working not the type of exeercise you are doing

    Hope injureis  clear.  Be patient be smart and only race if you are ready

  • Brian

    hills are  a great form of getting stronger and good for genrral conditioning.

    i would use 3 types

     1 long continuous run over  hilly circuit

    2 rep over 30-40 sec in blocks  of for eg 2 x 8 - 2 x 10- 2 x 12 etc with jog down recov and easy 5min between sets at 5k speed on GRADUAL incline

     3mix block of tempo folloowed by set of hills. Progress to 2 sets of both.  Hope that helps


  • Hi Bud, I ran my first half marathon last October in 2:22 after being knocked over by a fellow runner. I'm currently running sub 60 10K but would really like to run a sub 2hr half at Stroud this year. I do get a terrible cases of nerves before race day. Any tips to improve my training to get me closer to a sub 2 and maybe calm the jitters. Thanks!!

  • Think  what you have achieved so far rosemary is just fantastic.

    You can and will do half marathon. Be patient be prepared to walk at times until body is ready to  go the whole way.

    how about interim target of 10k- less daunting but real progeress  then the half later. 

    Be proud of what you have achieved

    the weight will continue to come off and you will feel all the better for it.

    Good luck  and enjoy getting  fitter no  matter how slow you feel you are. You are doing something great.

  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    Hi Bud

    What's your view on adding quality work to the long run? Would you keep most long runs easy or do you see value in adding marathon pace and half marathon pace sections? Or even in running the occassional long run at steady rather than easy pace?

    Additionally in your view what's the optimum length long run you would reccommend? is there any value in going over 15 miles (for those on 60 plus miles per week)?

  • Hi,

    Im relatively new to the half marathon distance. I have completed my first 13 miler about 3 weeks ago over the cotswold way. I primarily race in either 10K mud runners, 33K dualthalons and 10K trail runs. I only usually run race over trail - but train primarily on roads due to time to train constraints. I find 13 mile distance hard especially over trail as I feel the pain from it and hit the wall about 15K - This took me about 2 hrs 40 (with tying up shoelaces/dropping map excluded). I also find that when training that it takes my body a long time to recover and ready for my next run (about 3-4 days after a 9-10 mile road run with hills - even if its a small 5K on the flat) - due to this Ive taken to road biking to up my fitness during these periods. Therefore training for my next race (snowdonia trail 21K on sat) has been hard and fustrating - Im not shy of hard work but I cant seem to push through the barrier of my body feeling tired whilst training?? I also spend most of my time during races walking up hills rather than running (if they are very steep) any shame in this??

    Any tips ?? Im feel like im not natural long distance runner - but determined not to let this stop me image



  • Afternoon rob

     would ai to work up  patiently to 7-9 mileso ftempo work.  Prob initialy in blocks oof 2-3 miles

     eg 2 x 2m

    then 2 x 3m

    then 2 x 4m

     then 6m

    then  8m and maybe finsih  at 10m  before race day  but be creative and make your training fun

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