Challenge - Sub 1:18 Half Marathon.

Hi, I'm new to the forums and also fairly new to running :) .

I started in May last year after being convinced to start by a work colleague, and I've definitely been hooked since.

On March 24th 2019 I will be competing in my first ever Half Marathon road race and I have the challenge running a sub 1:18.

I'd like to know if this is a feasible target and also get some Half Marathon training tips!

A little background on myself:

Age: 32, Height: 5'7', Weight: 9st 5lb.
PR's: 5K: 17:22, 10K: 35:25.

I've signed up to 2 'build up' races before the main event, a 10K on January 20th and a 10 Mile on February 10th.

Frustratingly I am currently ill with a cold and I've not been able to run for the last 2 days, I was going to drop out of the 10K race next week, but figure it might be a good way of gauging my current fitness level. Prior to getting sick I had been running around 35-40 mpw (for 2 weeks).

I think I want to gradually increase my weekly mileage to a peak of 60 mpw, all though I have never ran more than about 40, I'm hoping my body can handle the increase.

Here's an example of my next 3 weeks of training, 'easy' pace is always around 7:00-7:25:

Monday - Easy 6 (hilly route)
Tuesday - Easy 6
Wednesday - 8 Easy w/8 x 1min @ 5:40-5:25
Thursday - Easy 10
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Easy 4 + Strides
Sunday - 10K Race

Total miles - 40.

Monday - Easy 5 (hilly route)
Tuesday - 2 x 15min @ 5:55-5:40 (1:00 rest)
Wednesday - Easy 10
Thursday - Easy 4 + Strides
Friday - Hill Reps 8 x 1min @ 5:30 (jog back recover)
Saturday - Easy 5
Sunday - Long Run: 10 miles (last 15 mins moderate)

Total miles - 48.

Monday - Easy 5 (hilly route)
Tuesday - 15 x 1 min on @ 5:30, 1 min off @ 7:00-7:15
Wednesday - Easy 10
Thursday - Easy 4 + Strides
Friday - 6 Mile Tempo @ Goal HM Pace (5:55).
Saturday - Easy 5
Sunday - Long Run: 10 miles (last 20 mins moderate)

Total miles - 54.

Any comments/ advice/ criticism welcome! I really hope I can hit my target :# .
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Comments

  • espenhbespenhb ✭✭✭
    I'd say you might be adding a bit too much to soon. Conventional wisdom says 10 percent increase per week. With just a few months left before the HM I would make the hard workouts and resting a priority. Not saying I wouldn't do the long miles. Just saying I would rather be able to the hard ones more rested.

    As for 78 minutes on the HM: I thought I was being ambitious with my 80-90 minute plan for my first half next september, being bitten by the bug in august last year. Good luck. I might have to up my ambitions as well here ;)

    Feel well soon, and good luck with the 10k. Don't see any reason why you should skip it if you get rid of that cold before next sunday.
  • JGavJGav ✭✭✭
    Well the Jack Daniels calculator puts your 10k pb on a par with 1.18.25 HM, so it's certainly possible.  It really depends if you have the conditioning to hold up for the distance. 
  • espenhb said:
    I'd say you might be adding a bit too much to soon. Conventional wisdom says 10 percent increase per week. With just a few months left before the HM I would make the hard workouts and resting a priority. Not saying I wouldn't do the long miles. Just saying I would rather be able to the hard ones more rested.


    I'd say the opposite actually - you've got the basic speed for a 78 minute half as your 5k & 10k times show, but you're going to need to be able to condition yourself for the longer event.  Based on the paces you've given you haven't actually run continuously for 78 minutes yet - I would do your weekend long run at you current 'easy' 7:15 or so pace but run for at least 80 minutes. 

    You've also got a lot of very specific paces in there.  You've only been running a few months so you're still in the 'rapidly improving' phase, where paces can change fairly quickly.  No need to be too specific about them - your 15 x 1 min set for example should be at a pace you can sustain through the minute and through all 15.  Your 'off' pace in that set is too high - you're not giving yourself enough recovery to get the most out of the set.  If you can manage a shuffle after the 5th or 6th hard effort you're not pushing yourself hard enough!

  • espenhbespenhb ✭✭✭
    > @Cheerful Dave said:
    > espenhb said:
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    > I'd say you might be adding a bit too much to soon. Conventional wisdom says 10 percent increase per week. With just a few months left before the HM I would make the hard workouts and resting a priority. Not saying I wouldn't do the long miles. Just saying I would rather be able to the hard ones more rested.
    >
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    > I'd say the opposite actually - you've got the basic speed for a 78 minute half as your 5k & 10k times show, but you're going to need to be able to condition yourself for the longer event.  Based on the paces you've given you haven't actually run continuously for 78 minutes yet - I would do your weekend long run at you current 'easy' 7:15 or so pace but run for at least 80 minutes. 
    >

    One doesn't necessary exclude the other. Cutting back a bit on the total volume doesn't mean cutting down the longest runs. I was thinking more along the lines of cutting down on a few of the shorter slow runs. But I'm by no means any expert. And this also brings up a question that from what I can see in the original post isn't mentioned, @RDuke1552: How long have your longest runs been up until now?
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭
    Have you gone from totally sedentary to running, or were you doing a mass of sports before that?

    Otherwise, 40miles a week is a pretty high volume to leap to after 6months, let alone thinking about upping it to 60.

    And like the other chaps say the shorter times give every chance of in and around target. But first time out I'd be very surprised if you converted, in a mere 2months time.

    However, you may be one of those annoying naturals ;)
  • SG - He's already knocking out 35 minute 10ks after 6 months, which is annoying whichever way you look at it.

    Even more so if the OP turns out to be a she, but I'm guessing not!

  • Great replies, thanks guys!

    Espenhb – Thanks bud, I think I will do the 10K next week. Also, I did wonder if I was adding too many miles too soon, but the reason I want to hit about 60 mpw is because I want to be doing long runs upto 14-15 miles, and I work to the rule of long runs being 20-25% of weekly total. My previous long runs have been upto 10 miles per week.

    Cheerful Dave – That’s a very good point about the long run. After the 10 Mile race in a few weeks my long run will increase to 12-15 miles for 5 weeks, do you think I should increase my long run sooner and just drop a few miles off the mid-week easy days?

    Cheers for the advice on the 'specific pacing', I guess it's best to let my fitness dictate my pace during workouts, rather than trying to hit a specific target B)

    Stevie G – I used to skateboard from the age of 17-23 (ish), but haven’t done any sports from that age until now. To be honest I’m quite gutted that it’s taken me this long to find running, better late than never though I guess :smile:

    I can also confirm that I am Male.

    I’m starting to feel better now so going to attempt some easy miles tomorrow evening, I’m also joining a mate at a track on Saturday.

    Unsure what workout I’m going to do yet, may attempt some 2K intervals, or maybe it's wise to do something a little less strenuous.
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭
    Rduke - the earlier the better in this game (like most sports I guess), but you can certainly scale a lot of heights at a mere 32. Best of luck with it.
  • Quick update.

    Managed 28 miles this week, even though I had 3 days off through illness.

    Thurs - Easy 4 (7:18 avg)
    Fri - Easy 35 mins (7:10 avg)
    Sat - 16 x 1 min on 1 min off (6:19 avg)
    Sun - 11 miles w. last few moderate/hard (6:52 avg)

    Was pretty happy with how Saturday and Sunday went, both sessions were a little quicker than I expected. But felt fairly comfortable hitting around 5:20-5:30 for 1 min on's and covered 5 miles in the 32 mins.

    The goal today was to start running some moderate/hard miles at the end of my long run, to get my legs used to running quicker when tired. Quite happy with how my first session turned out.

    Splits from today - 7:26, 6:59, 7:18, 6:58, 6:59, 7:05, 7:10, 6:52, 6:33, 6:14, 6:01.

    Still a very long way to go, but not a bad start I think.

    10K race next Sunday will be interesting, hope everyone has a good week :) .
  • Today was race day, the Speedway 10K in Chepstow.

    This was a really cool race, the only 10K that i've come across that requires a qualifying time to enter. There were six sub 30 guys on the entry list, so it was a really high quality field.

    To add an extra element to this race your bib number was also your predicted finishing position, which in my case was 76.

    I finished the race 59th with a time of 35:16. Very happy to start the year with a new PB! :smiley:

    Splits:
    5:36, 5:34, 5:40, 5:39, 5:45, 5:43, 1:18 (last 0.24)

    In hindsight I wish I started the race a little slower, as my pace dropped off for the 2nd half of the race.

    Still, this is a good start to my quest for a sub 1:18 Half Marathon, 9 weeks to go.
  • espenhbespenhb ✭✭✭
    That gives you a predicted HM-time of 1:17:48.

    Some more work and a decent tapering and you should be able to smash that goal.
  • Awesome, yeah that 10K was a good confidence booster for me!

    This week has been a bad one so far though, I've picked up a niggle after the 10K. Soreness around my shin and calf (shin splints? 🤔).

    Trying to just maintain some fitness by doing easy miles, not sure if that's smart but I've booked a physio for Friday, as I need to get back to quality training asap. 

    I have a 10 mile race in 2.5 weeks, wondering if it's too soon really, I guess I could treat it as a tempo run instead of really going for it, 6:00 min/mi average might be a decent target.
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