Sub 80 Half Marathon

I've recently clocked an 84:41 half marathon after a tough years training. My initial focus was on 10K races in the early part of the year where I clocked a 38:40 and then over the summer I switched to a local 5K series where I clocked 18.22! I stepped up my HM training in late summer in preparation for the Leicester HM. Realistically I'm wondering if I follow a similar part from early 2014 going from 5Ks and training up to HM in autumn time if I train well and eat clean can I get close to 80 minutes or is that too much of a jump in such a short space of time?

I'm running anywhere from 80 miles to 130 miles a month mixing fast runs, intervals, hills and tempos up with some longer runs but my intention is to start with lighter training at the start of the year building a base. I'll throw in crossfit and kettlebells plus some strength and core sessions thrown in!  Concentrate on fast work and track sessions and then build my pace endurance up over the year.

Any advice from runners out there would be most welcome 


  • Yeah, I think this is very achievable. Your mileage is low at the moment so increasing that will help. Also, your 5K time is much better than your HM so I guess you have to improve your endurance. Join a running club and get out on a decent weekly long run.

    Not sure cross fit will bring much to the party, though, and the phrase 'eat clean' makes my skin crawl.

  • If you made a good improvement in your hm time with that before theres no reason it wont gain you some more time next year .

    How much did you improve in hm time last year then ?

  • just wondering how you fit a long run, tempo, speedwork and hills into 20-30mile weeks!!

  • I think it is very acheiveable - to long ago to remember but I don't think I had broken 18 minutes for a 5K the first time I ran under 80 minutes (78)   I think working on basic speed over the shorter distances will have an impact on other distances - you only have to look back at what Paula Radcliffe, etc achieved in the marathon - she was running world class times from distances from 3000 to 10,000 metres. 

    As PaulDC said your mileage is actually quite low at the moment so to increase that (carefully) will give you the added stamina you need to maintain close to 6 minute miling for 13 miles. Good luck.

  • This is brilliant. Thanks for all your comments.

    PaulDC - I'll rephrase eat clean with trying not to be too naughty lol. I drink every now and again but other than that my diet is pretty sensible. The cross fit training is more kettlebells than anything else and it offers me a slight break from my training. I also enjoy the social element and I feel I have a much stronger core as a result. It might be the pyschological effect though?

    Leslie H - I've not run a HM for three years as I tore my medial ligaments in my right knee. The 84:41 was nearly 5 minutes faster than my previous PB so obviously I've made a big gain which is why I raised the question of whether I could shave off another 4-5 minutes. Apologies my initial posting wasn't particularly clear.

    Stevie G - I tend to only do two of the specific based training sessions at the moment but ensure that I cover all four over a two-week basis. It works for me and I've seen some gains but I've only really starting running again this year. The 80 miles a month reflects my 5K training and the 130 miles more my HM as I stepped up my endurance work albeit I feel I left that a little late this year. My training structure is something that I really need to get a handle on. I note that you run 10/11 time a week which is fantastic. I probably only do half that amount and many of the runs are light workouts. I need to find a balance.

    Grendal3 - definitely agree with your comments. I feel that I've benefitted a lot by dropping down to 5Ks this year. All I used to run was HMs but the benefits of doing track work have built up my confidence. Clearly I need to up my miles next year.


  • 5 minutes pb id say its working well so why change it except for maybe increase weekly milegae a bit as said.image

  • Sorry, I shouldn't be so down on Cross Fit.

    Some elements of it can be very beneficial but I think you have to be careful as doing cross fit several times a week can mean you are too tired to run your quality sessions hard.  The other thing for me is that Cross Fit can be somewhat random from one session to the next but for running I think you need to stick to a schedule.

    Good luck with the sub-80. I would like to do the same next year. My PB is 81.50 at the moment but I think I have already had the big improvements that come from upping mileage. You have that to come.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Paul, I just glad it's not me who can't stand the term "eat clean"
  • Thanks Leslie 

    Totally agree Paul - cross fit sessions can be mixed and I tend to do more of these in the winter when I rest a little from hard running training. When my running training is hard the cross fit training is the first thing to go,

    Your PB is excellent and I'm still nearly three minutes off that. best of luck with achieving sub-80 too

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