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I'm both new to running and new to this site... i'm really looking for some general advice on training since i've read so many conflicting articles I don't know what's right or not! Anyway, here goes with a bit of background:
I took up running last November, initially after being challenged at work by a colleague and wanting to get fit - previously I had done no exercise in years.
I took part in my first half marathon this April, and posted a time of 2:03:54, which I was a little disappointed in as I wanted to get under 2hrs - with hindsight though, I didn't train properly - my training involved me just going out and trying to run harder, faster and longer each time. I'm guessing this is a common mistake for newbies.
I'm now planning on doing the same half marathon again in 2014, and 3 weeks later the London Marathon and have a 20 week plan to work through, starting this November. My plan involves a weekly combination of:
Easy pace runs (1 or 2 per week, between 2 to 5 miles)
A tempo run (varying in time, between 30 mins to an hour)
A hill session (as above, between 30 mins to an hour)
A session doing squats/leg exercises
A long weekend run (anywhere from 6 miles to 22 miles).
Weekly mileage peaks at around 40.
I can run a 10k in just under 51 mins currently, and the fastest pace i've posted on a 2.5 mile run is an average of 7min 40sec p/m - although I tend to hover around the 8min p/m mark. Generally it isn't my legs that I struggle with, it's my lungs.
So the questions I have are:
1. Without showing the specific plan, does my training plan above over 20 weeks look enough to prepare me? or is there something i'm missing / anyone can suggest that will help?
2. How important is diet, can it significantly improve performance (both when training and building up to a race)?
3. Are gels/supplements recommended during a race? I've read conflicting reports - I don't currently use them for training and didn't do during the last half marathon.
Any other advice and tips are most welcome - and sorry for the length of my first post!