How do I train for a 90 min half?

Hi, I have been running for a few years now without doing anything too special training wise & my pb for a half is currently 1:35. I would love to break the 1:30 barrier but as a 38 year old female how do I get faster sooner rather than later?! The other area that requires attention is my diet, whilst I know what is healthy & what isn't , I am slightly ( ok very!) guilty of believing that running gives me a free rein to eat anything I fancy, mainly chocolate,chips, wine etc! My weight is fine & I have a bmi of roughly 20, so that is fine but if I want to get faster I think I need to change my diet also. My training week looks roughly like 1 long steady run of between 10 -14 miles 1 speed session 1 run of about 8 miles - varying 1 week might be hills, next week tempo 1 or 2 runs of about 5 miles steady pace, 2 body pump classes & occasional high impact aerobics ( I love these as it's a bit of a change from pounding pavements) This would be an ideal weeks training - life, kids etc often change this! I have only recently upped my mileage from about 22 miles a week to about 30 -35 so hopefully I will notice the benefits of that. Please can anyone give me some tips on training, diet etc & whether you think it is possible for me to achieve a 90 min half marathon . Many thanks image


  • if your pb from 22 miles was 1:35, a few consistent months of 30-35 should comfortably reduce that.

    Probably worth using McMillan's race calculator (google it), which will give you some rough pace zones from your most recent flat road race time.

    Make sure you're not training too fast

  • Thanks Stevie, I will take a look. I am trying to make sure I don't train too fast, it has been a bad habit in the past.
  • Sounds like you've got a good mix going on there, and I agree with SG, a few weeks of consistent higher volume training may be enough to knock a fair few minutes off.

    One thing I found useful - maybe as much psychologically as physically - when training specifically for my last HM I was mixing up the tempo runs, working vaguely around HM effort.  So over  a few weeks I'd go through a cycle of something like:

    - 3/4M classic threshold pace, between 10k and HM effort
    - 5/6M longish tempo, around HM effort
    - 8-10M, somewhere between marathon and HM effort, although on your current mileage this might be a bit much.  Maybe do your mid-week semi-long effort as a progressive run, getting to around MP or a bit quicker at the end.

    Hopefully as you get fitter, you'll see your pace for the longer tempo runs start to approach the pace of your threshold runs... if you can get to running 6/7M at target HM pace, you're definitely getting there. image


  • Yep, some super advice above. If you've managed to get a 1hr 35 half off only 22 miles per week, you are clearly talented.

    Those 22 miles must have included a fair bit of quality training. I can understand why you feel that you've needed to slow down your pace.

    As Steve said, you should go to the McMillan site. I've had a look at what your recommended training zones:

    Judging by the easy / long run paces. I'd look to do everything other than your quality sessions (speed/hill/tempo workouts) at those paces and try to up your weekly mileage over the weeks. 10% a week increase is the usually recommended maximum. However, I've got a feeling that you might feel ever so slightly more energetic by running at the recommended slower paces (probably much slower than you usually do!) and might cope with a higher weekly jump. You clearly have an excellent base to work with.

    I'm a great believer in race pace practice. You'll be looking to run in the 6:50 per mile range for a sub 90min half.

  • Hi Lisey, be interested to hear how you get on as I am in a very similar position. Started running at the beginning of this year an did my first HM a few weeks ago in 1:35:50 of average of around 25mpw (felt I could have done it quicker if I'd paced it more ambitiously).

    Currently focusing on shorter distances (5 miles this morning) but will probably have another crack at HM early next year.
  • Thanks everyone, have got some brilliant advice. I am looking forward to putting it into practise & seeing how fast I can go! image
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