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

Hi everyone,

Running coach and ASICS PRO Team member Bud Baldaro will be giving expert advice to all your half-marathon training questions in the forum today between 2.30 and 3.30pm.

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.

Find out if your target time is feasible, get training tips or any racing strategy advice you need. Bud joins us for the second in our series of live webchats, courtesy of our Half-Marathon Newsletter sponsor ASICS.

We're opening the discussion now so Bud will be able to get stuck in straight away at 2.30pm - so get posting!

Dominique RW



  • Hi everyone,

    Due to unforseen circumstances Bud will be joining us slightly later for today's half-marathon webchat. He'll be joining us at 2.30pm - which gives you even more time to post your training posers in advance.


  • Hi Bud,

    My training has been all over the place recently. Ive gone from speed based 5k runs to marathon to an ultra-marathon this weekend. Obviously this has had an effect on the shorter distance times.

    What training advice would you give to me in order to get a pb half marathon in 7 weeks time?

    Thanks, mat

  • Just entered (this morning) my first HM. My question follows on from the one above really about training. I want to do it in 1.40 and I currently run speed/interval sessions on track once a week with my running club, usually one long run a week (up to 8 miles currently but plan to increase one mile a week) and then another mid pace run inbetween (anything from 5k to 10k depending on how I feel!). Is this enough of a mix? I also take two spin classes and two strength/conditioning classes and a swim each week. The run is in October. My long run pace is about 8 min/miles and my 5k PB is 21.00 if that helps.

  • I've started to increase my mileage using RW's HM plan and suddenly have a pain in my right knee  - up 'til now I've been pain free and I'm worried that I won't be able too do my first HM on 2nd October.  Do you know how I can mitigate this please?

  • I'm running a HM in 6 weeks. I've just been away travelling for 2 weeks and dropped my training considerably- I only managed around 3 short runs during this time. Before that I was running 6 times a week including a long run of around 20k.  How fast can I build back up to my previous level? I feel like I am starting from scratch and am worried about getting injured such a short time before the race. Thanks!

  • hi there,

    i'm looking at beating my pb for half this year (it's 2.15) i do 3 short runs a week (around 30 minutes each, it's all I have) at lunch time and a long run (2 hours max)  at the weekend, time is sparse as a full time worker and mother, so how can i increase speed without increasing time running?

  • HI,

    I tend to get a bit bored on long runs, pretty much anything over 10K. Is there anyway of making them more varied/interesting whilst still being useful?



  • Hi,

    I am running a HM at the end of November and my target is to run it in 1:30 or as close to 1:30 as possible. Last week I ran a 10M time-trial in 70 mins. I currently run on average 35M per week over 5 days following the RW 1:45 - 1:30 HM schedule. I am 31 and have been running since April this year ( I had base fitness from gym prior to running). Am I setting myself too much of a challenge to run a 1:30 HM (or sub 1:30 in my dreams!) in 4 months time? If it is a realistic goal how does my training need to change? 

    Thanks very much



  • I'm doing a half marathon at the begining of September and up untill now my traning has been relatively low key - two 10-15km runs a week.  What are the key things I should be concerntrating on in my training in my last month of preparation?

  • afternoon Richard

    Diffic to be too precise without  knowing your full background  but would definitely recommend:-

    tempo runs of up to 10miles

    long rep sessions eg 6-8 x 1mile

    mix of tempo and shorter intervals eg 15 min tempo 10 x 400 15 min tempo

    long relaxed over distance steady runs

    and obviously hard day followed by recovery day

    finally don't train too hard  in  the week of competition.

    good luck

    Bud B

  • That sounds a good combination  and balance of training Nicky.

    Use some of ideas in reply to richard and do ensure you practise running at  reps/intervals appropriate to your target time.

    Try and reduce recovery time between reps as you go thru  your training program

    and emphasise feeling good running at  race pace.

    All the best


  • HI Bud

    I have plans to do a HM in October. Currently running 10 miles as my LSR in around 90 minutes, and shorter runs in the 3-5 mile range at around 7:30-7:45 pace fast or 8:30-8:45 steady.

    What is a realistic time target for the HM? (It's the Oxford one, which I believe is pretty flat and fast), and what's the best tips for training to hit that time?


  • Hi, I am running the Great North Run then have two HM (Great Birmingham and Coventry) - one a week after the other. What should i do in that week? Rest? Some small runs? Cycling? I am running 11 miles on a Saturday/Sunday as it is so am sure my legs will manage one after the other but unsure how to keep ticking over in that week. Thanks Caroline

  • Would definitely try and see a physio/masseur acquainted with running  injuries.

    If you are  uncertain where to go  use RW or your specialist  running store as information point.


    Very  often knee pain is caused by  stiff IT Band, which  is muscle running  outside your thigh, and notoriously diffvicult to stretch.

    Get  this looked at asap and don't just hope it will go away.

    Good luck with injury free  running


  • Stay calm Isabel,

    Good thing is you won't have lost  a great deal in those 2 weeks so no need to panic.

    If you  have 6 weeks to  go you could rebuild gradually  for 4 weeks and taper for 2 or you  might feel happier training well, albeit  patiently and sensibly, for 5 weeks and then  having easy  pre race week.

    Certainly don't go mad in  the first 4-5 days.

    lots of relaxed enjoyable running, preferably off road.

    you might well be surprised how fresh  and good you  feel having had 2 lighter weeks.

    Stay calm and above all smart and  avoid getting injured by running too hard  too quickly.

    hoppe it goes well

    bud B

  • Classic case Andreia of maximising  training time by utilising quality  tempo runs  in your programme.

    Would strongly recommend 10 mins easy 10-15  mins tempo  and 5-10 min easy.

    Tempo  is controlled discomfort pace so you should be able to snatch out  short word sentences but equally feel you are quite pushing  the pace.

     a progression  could be 6 mins easy  6 min tempo 6 x 1min  effort at 10k pace off 1min recovery and then  6 min easy etc

     Hope that helps


     Bud b

  • Lots of runners can feel the same way  Graham.

    Think about  varying your routes

    running route in reverse direction

    running  with mates

    joining a club if you don't belong to one- you dont have to be a star to belong to a club

    how about  doing small  interval session initially  eg 5 x 3-4 mins/ 90sec jog then running steady  half hour.

    or doing   a lap  long run and at  the end of each  long section running a measured mile and see how fast it is eg  15 mins mile 15 mins etc


    combining  steady  long run with form  of circuit training

    eg the Oregon circuit.

    Devise route and at  every appointed station stop and exercise eg press ups,crunchies etc.

    Great for conditioning and endurance.

    Above all  use your imagination and be creative in your approach to training

    And remember to have fun



  • Hi Bud,  I've seen quite a few guys run good marathons when utilising mixed pace sessions in their training e.g. switching between marathon pace and 10k pace.  Can you explain the theory behind it and how it could be applied to training for a half marathon please? 

  • Your  target time is most  definitely feasible Charlotte.

    if you are running 5 times a week would aim to cover

    long run- ideally going  over distance at  manageable steady  pace

    good quality tempo running  of up  to 8-10 miles ( in shorter more accessible  blocks if that  sounds intimidating eg 2-3 x 15-20mins )

    relevant and appropriate interval.long rep work

    easy  recovery runs

    rest and massage

     plus good nutrition  and effective hydration

    hope that  all makes sense

    Good luck 


  • Stay smart with your training Emily and dont try and cram to much into the final few weeks.

    Vital that you are  happy about spending time on your feet and are confident about coping with distance so at least one steady long run each week but ease down  2 wks out.

    As with others mix with tempo and pace work 

    and enjoy your running 



  • ADS i would target time of well inside 2 hours.

    and if you can go  out  of your comfort zone a lot faster.

     BE realistic but  be ambitious.

    As with other replies maximise tempo runs

     do  your interval work and lots of steady running

    Does that  make sense?

    Best Bud

  • You are  right  Caroline!

    Between your hectic race schedule

    lots of rest

     relaxed swimming

    light cycling


    and short easy runs

    good CHO and lots of fluid 

    and if possible good sports massage 

    and rest the MIND

    You will have a ball enjoy

    Bud B

  • Hi Bud, I am about 9 seconds away from dipping under 30 minutes for 5 miles and hope to crack this in a few weeks. What sort of time do you think I could achieve for a half marathon this October? And what sort of session do you think would take advantage of my new speed to translate up to half marathon? My current PB is 1.25.26. Thanks.

  • Clearly 

    I am totally convinced of the value of mixed pace runs

    it helps with

    variety of training

    volume of a work out

     utilising  different energy system

    training  mind to adjust   to change of speeds

    minimise boredom

     helps you  become stonger both physically and mentally



  • Massive  issues Knigt Rider IF you hav done the distance work to go with your speed over 5 you could be looking at 1 24  or faster

    Get some long tempo runs in 

    and some steady  runs mixed with long reps. Lets look to break  80min  in  the next 12 months

    Enjoy your  riding  and running

    Best Bud

  • Hi all,

    Thank you for such great questions - and thank you Bud for answering them! We'll be back soon with another half-marathon webchat, but until then, happy training and racing!


  • Hi, I am not sure if anyone can help with this one.... I am looking at one of the half marathon schedules on here and it states completing a Warm up, then 2 x 2M (approx), timed, at threshold pace. This is the half marathon that covers 35-40 miles per week. Does anyone know the distance the warm up should be??

    Many thanks

  • Hi Poppyzest,

    Can you send a link to the schedule and tell us which week and day you're looking at?


  • Just did a thread but I should of come here lol


    OK been training for a month now. My AVG time per mile is 10minutes. But when I break it down most miles are 9minutes 40seconds, a few are 9minutes 20seconds...


    My question is this: Im running a HM in Oct 21st. My goal is 1:50:00. Im trying to bring my time per mile to about 8minutes a mile. HOW can I do this and what type of training do I need to incress my speed ???



  • Hi Bud,

    I am signed up to do the Birmingham Half Marathon on October 21st and want to do a sub 90 minute time. I want to know whether you think it is achievable based on my stats for the last two months of running I have been doing (below) and if there is a training plan you would recommend I start using now? 

    The format of the table did not work so I took a screen shot and saved it here:

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