Tempo runs and half marathon training plans

I have been perusing HM plans for improvers and am amazed at the different approaches to tempo ie running at HMP. Some say to do only a few miles, and rest easy all week, some have lots of pace work and other speed work. The last one I read has an LSR of 16 miles then two days later doing an 11 miler with EIGHT. At HMP but I cant help thinking if you can do that your planned HMP is too slow?? Any thoughts? What has worked for others? My HM PB is somewhat off the mark as been doing marathon since I last did one and a Recent ten KM would set my HMP at a pace I dont think I could easily trot off eight miles at in training too often.


  • There's a difference between HM pace and target HM pace, whenever you follow a training plan, paces are given at your current ability and not the level you may end up at.

    8 miles at HM pace does seem a bit severe though, it sounds like this is more of an elite level plan, where hitting the specific period does entail some fairly accurate race simulations, eg 8 miles HM or for a Marathon plan I've seen 16 miles Marathon pace.

    Tempos are the backbone of a good HM performance though, but 3-5 at tempo pace or even something more demanding like the 3/2/1 mile tempo with 3/2 minutes rest in between (cruise intervals) will do a good job of improving your endurance.

  • Thanks ross, thats more in line with what i was thinking. I think i need to add an additional speed session too as been focused on lsr, tempo and easy for so long. Ill have to shoot at predicted HMP really but am ok doing 3-5 at this so sounds about right?

    Hal higdon has lots of pace runs, ie four miles or so at HMP in addition to a sort of pyramid tempo session. Horses for courses I guess, but relieved to know Im not alone in thinking eight at HMP is a bit on the steep side!
  • Sounds a bit toppy to me too. If it's realistic goal pace, 8 miles in training might be just about doable as a time-trial but would leave you pretty spent, whereas I think a tempo run ought to be tough, but possible to complete under control, feeling like you could squeeze out another mile if really necessary, so for me something like 6M @ HMP would be my limit.

    I'm a big fan of mixing up different tempo paces working around target pace, so anything from 3-4M @ LT up to 10M @ MP, or some sort of combination, e.g. on a 3 mile loop I like to do a 6M continuous progressive tempo run, with one lap @ MP then another @ HMP, possibly building towards LT or even 10k pace depending on how good you feel.  If you cycle through 3 or 4 different weekly tempo runs you can check on progress by repeating a session monthly or so.  Keeps things fresh and it's nice to see progress without having to beat your times on the same run every week.

  • That sounds more interesting Phil, like the idea of mixing it up a bit.....although that loop one you do sounds tough!
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