tips on upping from 10k to half marathon in 1.5,months :-|||COL|||

I've been running just over a year now. I run every other day, about 2.6 miles and once a week do 10k. The first 10k I did a year ago was 57mins, the second in Sept 52 mins and did one yest at 50 mins (which I'm really proud of). As I run 10k once a week I've thought 'bugger' it and signed up for a half marathon in a month and a half. I've recently run 8 miles and that was alright. What's the best strategy? What pace shld I be aiming for? As my first one I'm gonna take it really easy. Also, anyone help me with regards to getting my 10k to 45 mins without giving up copious amounts of wine and occassional fags??



  • i'll assume its 6 weeks to go,.. with the 6th week being the HM itself. The week before should be a taper run, leaving you up to 4 "long runs" between now an then. The important thing is to get your body/legs used to doing longer distances. So it's all about the LSD (long SLOW distance) runs really, done once a week (every week should have an LSD in it, unless it's the race itself :P)

    so assuming you have 4 of these to go, with a 5th being a taper session and the 6th being the race,.. and going from the 8miles you've done recently, i'd suggest the next 4 weeks you do, 9mile, then 10miles, then 11 miles then 12 miles, then back to 9 miles for the taper week.

    Do all of these runs at a SLOWER pace to your race pace. May i suggest, going from your 10km times, and going from the fact you're not to set on doing it in a super fast time, go for a goal of sub 2 hours. in the future with more training you'll happily go for even quicker times. And chances are you'll finish the race comfortably in this time. Ideally you'd have longer to train up to the distance, so this goal should balance out well. It also has the side benefit of fitting in nicely to a 9min mile pace (easy to do the math as you're running :P). So for your LSD's aim for a 10min mile pace as the FASTEST you do them, ideally you'd do it slower, but i think 10min mile pace should be fine really, but the others may shout at me and say i'm wrong for saying that :P.

    Mid week runs, should gradually be increased also, so as not to one side your training. Aim to get mid week runs to around 8-10 km when you reach the fourth LSD week of training. This way it's not as much as shock to your body when you do the long runs. if its 3 runs you do in the week, not counting the LSD, do 2 of them at the same "easy pace" you do the LSD at, and the middle one of the three, as a quality session (speed work, tempo runs, hill training, etc). In amongst this, use some of this time to practice the HalfMarathon Pace (HMP). Either on the quality session, or for a couple of KM's in you EASY run days (not to much). You're just after a chance to get used to running at that pace, and knowing what it feels like.

    I doubt you'll have used gels before, so use a couple of the LSD's to practice race fuelling, that's everything from breakfast at the right time before when you'd race, if you have something right before the race, through to when you take the gels. For me (and i'm far from an expert) it's breakfast 2 hours before, couple of digestive biscuits (or a SIS energy fudge bar thing i'm trying right now) 5 mins before race, and 2 tells, one at the 4-5 miles mark, the other at the 8-9 mile mark. 

    Race day, DONT go off to fast. Keep an eye on the mile markers and the time you're doing it in (9 mins each time). If you're feeling crazy and want to push on, wait until you've done about 7-8 miles or so, and see how you're feeling then. If you do increase pace, do so gently, and monitor how you're feeling, don't kill yourself off in a mile, as you'll end up doing the whole thing slower.

    I imagine others will disagree with some of what i say. Chances are they're right and i'm wrong :P, but this is how i'd suggest going about things.

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    PM -- That all sounds reasonable enough to me except that...  I'd say it would be pretty unusual to be taking gels for a sub-2 hour half marathon...  However, I'm no expert either.

  • That's great thanks. The whole gel/eating whilst running is off putting for me though. That's the last thing I want to do when I'm running, do you think it REALLY makes a difference?

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    I must admit that I've never taken a gel but then I've never run further than HM distance...  Not so sure I'd even fancy the idea for a marathon...  Makes me wonder what runners did before gels were invented...

  • Perhaps they ate sufficiently in advance? image

  • well jelly babies are an alternative :P.

    I suppose it depends on who you are. For me doing my first one, it was still a big distance to cover, lots of calories burnt off in doing it, and so it made a difference to have something on the go for your system to work on. Without it you're just burning fat, which is fine and great for training, but in race mode, not ideal. 

    The gels aren't as bad as you'd think. The SiS ones are pretty tasteless, but fine. I like to use the TorQ ones as they have a strong flavour and their smaller. Theres even (for me) a physiological boost to taking them, changes things up a bit. I'm sure plenty of runners fast and slow have various opinions on gels. I personally think it's worth it for a HM race. i wouldn't take them for training for it, except a couple of runs before hand just to double check my system is happy with them. Pick a coupe up from your local supermarket, and give one a go on one of your long runs. Chances are you won't feel much difference, but the question is how you'd be feeling 20 mins later if you didn't have it in your system. Have a google around and see what other fokes suggest. 


  • Yeah, that's an idea. You're probably right about the psychological boost so might be worth trying. 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I'd never even heard of gels till I started training for a full marathon. You'll have done the training and had breakfast; I don't think you'll need them.

  • You don't need gels for a half marathon.

    To get your 10k down to 45 mins you could start by reading the first 3 posts here.

  • you'll be fine. you can mug a half marathon off decent 10k training.

  • PaulMarshPaulMarsh ✭✭✭
    No problem - keep upping the miles.
  • I'm pretty sure I did my first two half marathons having gone no further than 8 miles in training. They weren't easy and I could barely walk afterwards but there was no danger of me not getting round.

    Regarding gels, I think it's a personal thing and depends on your diet and fitness. If you eat lots of carbs and fuel your running with carbs beforehand then you may well need one, especially as you're rlatively new to running. I certainly did when I started doing halfs. Now that my diet is different, i.e. fewer carbs and I do a lot of my runs on an empty stomach, I find I can go further before I need anything. I'd say take one with you to be on the safe side. You don't need them for training but worth trying one out in advance to see if you can keep them down.
  • Oh, just seen how old this is!
  • > @CotswoldRunner said:
    > Oh, just seen how old this is!

    I wonder if he managed his half marathon?
  • How do I start a new thread please?!!!!!!!  
  • I remember my first half marathon. My longest run wasn't even more than 10km. I just did 10km twice a week and other runs were casually 5km. I'd say you are on the right track if you are looking to finish and there is no need for gels...
  • I have only down one half marathon....  but i was firmly told by experienced runners to take an energy gel every 30 minutes.
    It worked for me and got me round 21km when furthest I bad ever ran before in training was 12km.  
  • I take an energy gel whenever I am doing a training run of 7 miles or longer. Normally around the 4mile mark. I wouldn't have more than two for a half marathon as they can be quite sickly.
  • <blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/"></a> said:I to was about the same and and all I did was sladjust my sleep patterns instead of going to bed at ten I went at nine honestly I could feel the difference in my runs I'm now at 13 k once week since doing this i</div>
    <div class="QuoteText"><p>I've been running just over a year now. I run every other day, about 2.6 miles and once a week do 10k. The first 10k I did a year ago was 57mins, the second in Sept 52 mins and did one yest at 50 mins (which I'm really proud of). As I run 10k once a week I've thought 'bugger' it and signed up for a half marathon in a month and a half. I've recently run 8 miles and that was alright. What's the best strategy? What pace shld I be aiming for? As my first one I'm gonna take it really easy. Also, anyone help me with regards to getting my 10k to 45 mins without giving up copious amounts of wine and occassional fags??</p></div>
  • it takes at least 45 mins for an energy gel to turn into energy is what I've read, so on a half marathon i'd probably pop one on the start line and then not bother after that

    delta, I'm assuming the signing up for a half is because you are now enjoying your running and you want more. For your first don't worry too much about time, enjoying it is the key. Just start slowly, if you must aim at a time sub 2 hours is a good target.

    To increase your speed longer term I'd stick with one long run a week and then try and build in a park run to your weekly routine, is there one near you? if there is not have one session a week where you focus on speed, try either short bursts of sprinting with breaks in between or longer bursts of not sprinting but higher intensity (maybe 10k race pace)

    another option is join a club, they usually do speed sessions midweek, its good for a social aspect, but you encounter some really fast runners and it can be a little bit daunting.

  • What helped me get my half PB were the following (in order of their use - IMO)

    1. A weekly 8 mile tempo run
    2. A weekly fast finish 16mile run
    3. Running about 60mpw

    I've not got a lot of natural talent but it helped me get sub 82mins. If this is your first half this will be too much but for future ones perhaps..
  • PeersPeers ✭✭✭
    It might not be the approach for everybody, but I just make sure I have had a good breakfast and am well hydrated beforehand and run a half without taking in anything.  I may have a few sips of water around halfway, but barely anything.  I just stitch up if I take on more than a couple of sips.

    The best approach for me improving times recently is increased mileage, varying training with some interval and threshold runs and conditioning work in the gym.  I also learnt that every run you go for doesn't have to be run as fast as you can.  No matter what distance I ran I would run it as fast as I could thinking that would improve my times.  It does to some extent as you are improving your fitness, but learning that I can do easy runs and improve my times was a revelation.  Running has become more enjoyable and less stressful.
  • My best advice is to try gels, water, energy drinks in training - do a training run replicating the timings you are doing on your race-day - that may mean getting up at 5am and eating before a 9am start time, then use the gels/drinks you will use in the race so you know how your body feels with them. Enjoy it!
  • My own advice is probably about the crudest imaginable. I wanted to get my time down from 45 mins 30 to under 39 mins in 6 months (yes, ludicrous... all came about because of a cheeky challenge/bet my manager set me).

    My strategy has been to set the treadmill to the required speed (between 9.5 and 9.7mph) and simply run for as long as I possibly can. Did that a few times per week. It worked for me, especially with kids, work and limited free time, but wouldn't doubt for a moment that there are much better ways of getting there!

    Listen to your body also - you'll know when you've done enough for one day.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Just run more - agree with the first response. However, you don't need gels. Assuming you've had something to eat a couple of hours before, your body will have the energy reserves it needs to run well over 13 miles. Not enough for a marathon, which is why marathon runners need to use gels or other fuelling plans. But for a half, no gels are required.
  • Some great advice in the forum. Definitely agree with the 'run for longer distances' comments.

    Set yourself a weekly mileage target, hit it, then increase it next week. For example, 1 week your target could be 20 miles. The next week it could be 23 miles. The next week make it 26 miles, and so on.

    Upping weekly mileage gradually improves your body's stamina and ability to cope with longer distances. The benefit of gradually increasing weekly mileage is that it's a slow change.

    Going from 5 miles a week to 30 miles a week is a huge, unrealistic demand to place on your body. On most occasions, it will be a struggle.

    Gradually increase your weekly mileage to get yourself in a position where your comfortable to run 13.1 miles. is a blog for runners. It aims to educate, inspire, motivate and help the running community. Check Runners First out now!
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