Help me please

Right, so I am doing the great north run this year. My first half marathon, and I have to do it under 2 hours or my friends will mock me. I’m not really much of a runner, but do the odd 5 or 10k, and play footy a lot. I am 43.

So I have about 3 months to go and my training consists of 4 runs per week, football once a week, and a weekly weights session,

Run 1 is a race pace run. I can already run 10k at my target race pace without feeling too bad. Should I make these a bit longer each week, until I can do the full distance in under 2 hours? Or maybe stick with 10k but try and get faster?
Run 2 is parkrun, and i’ll Be down to 25/mins in a couple of weeks.
Run 3 is where I go to the park with my fit friends and he shouts at us while we do 400m intervals with 1min planks for a rest, and I am generally sick after my last interval. This is normally about 9k by the time we have jogged to the park and then been shouted at, been sick and jogged home.
Run4,is my long run. I Haven’t really started with these yet, but as I say I
Can easily run 10k at my target pace. How fast should I be running these? Should they be a lot slower than my weekly race pace run. If so, how much slower? And do I just add 1km a week between now and the race?

So, does my plan seem okay, Do you think my 2 hour target time is reasonable? Or am I being lazy? Maybe I should be aiming for a a fit faster?

Thanks for your help fit people.


  • JGavJGav ✭✭✭
    Sounds about right if you want to go under 2 hours.  A 25min 5k means you should be able to go sub2 if you do some longer runs.  Take the 10k, slow it down a little and start extending it a little each week.  Get it up to at least 20k before the race and more if you can.
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    I think the 4 runs a week are fine as a schedule for a sub 2hr half. I'd suggest some tweaks to what you're doing depending on what days you're doing (although it's a given that Parkrun will be on a Saturday).

    Run 1 - follow on from your long run (bear with me) make it a 30-40 min recovery run at an easy pace.
    Run 2 - your 'beast' session in the park. This is like intervals so will help with both speed and recovery. If you call minute planks a recovery.
    Run 3 - Parkrun - run this as a progression run. First mile at easy pace, second mile medium, third at threshold. 
    Run 4 - Long slow run. These are the important ones for half marathon training as it's time on your feet rather than distance. If you're looking for sub 2hrs then that is going to be approximately 9min/mile pace, so aim to run these at a minute slower than your race pace. Build these up over the coming weeks, starting at an hour. These should progress in terms of time and also intensity where you're beginning to incorporate running at your race pace for the last part of the run. Two weeks before you should be aiming for a two hour run with the last 30 mins at race pace.  

    If all other training goes well you should easily be reaching half marathon distance by then as you will naturally become faster. It's a great confidence booster as well, knowing that you can do the distance. You could also include some hill sessions in your running week. Remember the Great Northern does include a nice long hill at about the 10 mile mark.
  • Andy B6Andy B6 ✭✭✭
    Hey peeps, thanks so much for the replies. It’s good to know I am doing roughly the right things and I will incorporate the tweaks you have suggested.

    I mentioned hill training to my fitness trainer / sadistic plank loving friend and he liked the idea and said we could run hills and do burpees at the top. I am not even sure why I still call him a friend, I like he just gets off on watching me vomit. Hahaha.

    I just looked up mo Farrah’s great north run time and am pleased to note we will be doing it in about the same time of 1 hour and a bit. Okay, my bit might be a bit longer than his bit, but hey, I bet I can bench more than him. ?
  • BenjyBenjyBenjyBenjy ✭✭✭
    Andy, you have to factor in that GNR is like a carnival and very very busy. You pass one corner and there is a SKA band playing, the next corner steel drums, etc. I was expecting to get about 1:45/1:46 but got 1:59 last time I did it, it is very busy, takes about 5 miles to peter out. I may be wrong but I believe it is the world's largest participation event.

    Don't worry about your mates mocking you if you don't get under 2 you can always move to a different town, grow a beard, wear false glasses and change you name.

    Seriously though, good luck with the training and event, it is a great event.
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Not too sure about the running up a hill and doing burpees, but if it floats your mate's boat.

    Have a look at a Kenyan Hill programme. The one I do is a 10 min jog warm-up, 5 X 30 seconds run up hill/30 second down hill (so going at the same pace both up and down), 3 min recovery and then repeat the 5 X hill session again. End with a 5 min cool down.

    Personally I really enjoy this session as you're putting in quick bursts and you really feel the benefit of it in the power you can achieve.

    And as BenjyBenjy says the GNR is very popular. It will take you a while to get into your stride so just enjoy the day and the experience. 
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