How does this training plan for HM sound?

Hi all,

I wrote about how over the last four or five months I've used running to aid my recovery from a serious drug addiction. I'm 28 and about 11 stone 7. I ran my first half marathon in 1.34.59 last week, but I didn't have much of a training plan - I would just go out and run as hard as possible five or six times a week, over distances of 2-12 miles.

I've signed up to do another HM in mid-November and I'm hoping that training in a more focussed way will help me improve my time.

It may be ambitious, and though I'd be happy with any improvement on my first time, I'm going to aim to run under 1.30 if possible. 5 minutes may be a big improvement but I had no idea about training or pacing last week - I didn't know what time to aim for or how fast to run. I lost a couple of minutes taking a toilet break after one lap. And I felt pretty comfortable at the end, my final lap of 6 being my quickest. Plus it's only been 5 months or so since I stopped smoking, taking hard drugs and drinking, so I'm hoping that my body is still recovering and therefore has the potential to get quicker.

So this week I started a new training plan that looks like this. (Apologies - I don't know the right terminology: I'm new to all this, which is why I'm asking for help.

MON - recovery run, 4 miles very slow (9min/mile?)

TUES - half marathon pace, 4 miles (6.50/m) increasing each week to 5, 6, 7, 8, 10

WEDS - 5-a-side football (including slow 2 miles to and from the game)

THURS - steady run, 8 miles (7.30/m?)

FRI - rest

SAT - fast - try and break my best time at 2, 4, 6 or 8 miles (6-6.30/m)

SUN - long and slow - 10, 12 or 14 miles (8.00/m?)


So basically a long slow run, a run at my target HM pace, a steady medium paced run, and a fast attempt to break my record (because this is fun and I enjoy measuring my progress), and a recovery run at the start of the week.

How does this sound? Is it too much? Will I be resting enough? Am I targetting the right pace?

Any tips gratefully received!


  • Matt,

    I've just ran a sub 90 min HM. This was a 7 minute PB so Defo possible for you. My training concentrated on a 10 mile Fartlek

    Session on a Tuesday with my club, a 7 mile hilly tempo run on a thursday and a long run on a Sunday. In between there was some 4-6 mile runs at a mid pace of about 7:00 - 7:15 m/mile. 1 day rest per week.

    I'm convinced that the hill runs have made a massive improvement but the key was the club runs. Join a club if you haven't already and that sub 90 mins is there for you. Might long term goal now is a sub 1:20 half. Need to

    Improve my 10k time in th short term.
  • Luke,

    Congrats on your sub-90!

    This will sound stupid but... can anyone explain exactly what fartlek and tempo runs are and how I should pace them?

    I live in London so I'm confined to parks and the canalside. Not much in the way of hills round here unfortunately. The half marathon in November apparently has a steep one-mile climb in the middle - does anyone know how this is likely to affect my time?

  • Hi Matt,

    my first half-marathon time last year was pretty similar to yours and I just managed 1:29:18 in the Robin hood half on Sunday (admittedly pretty flat). I followed the 10 week plan from this site: but adapted the long runs to go over the half marathon distance up to 16 miles and then taper back down, and found that worked for me.

  • Thanks literatin. I'll have a look.

    Does anyone have a perspective on the plan I set out above? Have I got it totally wrong or does that sound reasonable?


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