Progressive Training Runs for the Half Marathon

GSR Half Marathon 2010

I’ve run quite a few half marathon events now, and I really enjoy the training for them and competing in them.  More challenging than a 10k, but not as big a challenge as a marathon, the half marathon distance is one of my favourites to train for.

Progressive workouts are training runs that are performed at a gradually increasing pace with the majority of the run in your tempo pace range. That makes progressive runs a very efficient training tool for the half marathon which is also performed at a tempo pace. There are an almost unlimited number of possibilities when it comes to half marathon progressive training runs.

Since I ran a really good negative split in the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon in March 2011, I’m all for doing negative splits in races and training runs.  I think they boost your morale on the run as well when you’ve finished when you’ve had the ability to finish strong (not to mention all the numpties who have started out too fast, and you’ve overtaken them!)

Here are just a few examples to get you started:

Classic Half Marathon Progressive Run

Here is a classic progressive run specifically designed for the half marathon.

Description: Run for 45 to 90 minutes at progressively faster paces.

Pace: Begin at an easy endurance pace. Gradually increase your pace throughout the workout so that you are running the final 15 to 20 minutes at goal half marathon pace. 

Half Marathon Long Run Progression

This progressive run is a long run that has been adapted to your half marathon and includes a fast finish.

Description: 18 mile long run

Pace: Run the first 10 miles at easy endurance pace,
the second 5 miles at marathon pace and
the final 3 miles at goal half marathon pace.
Finish with 400 to 800 meters (quarter to half mile) at the fastest pace you can maintain. 

Half Marathon Step Ups

This a more structured form of fartlek training for the half marathon

Description: 13 miles at progressively stepped up paces with some recovery intervals.

Pace: Run the first 3 miles at an easy endurance pace,
the second 3 miles at marathon pace,
miles 7 and 8 at goal half marathon pace,
mile 9 at 10K pace,
miles 10, 11 and 12 at goal half marathon pace and
mile 13 at 5K pace. 

Another version of this is (perhaps easier to remember):

Run 3 miles at an easy endurance pace,
the next 3 miles at half marathon pace,
the next 3 miles at 10k pace,
the next 3 miles at 5k pace,
the final 1.1 miles as fast as you can.

Or another version:

Run the first 6 miles at half marathon pace / easy pace,
the next 4 miles at 10k  pace / half marathon pace,
the next 3.1 miles as fast as you can.

Half Marathon Hill Climbs

Hill training is one of the best ways to improve your running strength, power and stamina. Here is a long half marathon hill climb that is progressive in nature. You will probably need to do this one on your treadmill because of the hill requirements.

Description: 6 mile hill climb at progressively steeper inclines.

Pace: Goal half marathon pace

Incline (on a treadmill): Begin at 3% incline and increase the incline by 1% each mile. 

Half Marathon Compound Sets

Compound set training is typically used for shorter 5K and 10K training but can also be used effectively for longer distance training. This workout is designed for the track but you can also estimate your distance and do this on the road or trail.

Description: 2 x 4800/3200/1600 meter compound sets.
                      2 x 3M/2M/1M compound sets.

Pace: Run the 4800 meter /3M segment at half marathon pace,
the 3200 meter / 2M segment at 10K pace and
the 1600 meter  / 1M segment  at 5K pace.

Recovery: None within each set. Recover between the two repeats with 5 minutes of rest.

Example run: Total: 15 miles.
1M warm up
3M half marathon pace, 2M 10k pace, 1M 5k pace
1M recovery
3M half marathon pace, 2M 10k pace, 1M 5k pace
1M recovery

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1 Response to Progressive Training Runs for the Half Marathon

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