Q: Is it too late to change my training plan for the GSR?

A friend of mine asked for some advice around training for a half marathon and I thought I’d post it here for anyone else thinking of doing a half marathon:

Q:  Hi Lorn,

May I ask for some advice? I’m currently following a training app for half marathon that builds up run walk reps rather than constant distance.  On race day it will have me able to complete by continuously 4:1 run walk.

The Event I’m training for is the Great Scottish Run in September.  I am running 3 times a week and x training days in between.  The plan I’m on takes me right up to the run.

I feel like I’m cheating because I’m not running constantly.  Silly I know.  Do you think it’s too late to change tack or should i just stick with it?  Any suggestions gratefully received.

Great Scottish Run route and elevation

A: It all makes sense. I would feel that way too. You have plenty of time to change your plan.

It sounds like maybe the one you are doing is too easy?? It is a good idea to look at running distances in chunks, 4:1 or 3:1, but I don’t think you really need the walk. I like to think of halfs as a 6 mile run, then a 5 mile, then a wee 3.1 mile run. And it’s good way to think. (or try 4 x 3 miles, plus 1.1 miles). Breaking distances up into more manageable small chunks makes the challenge seem more acheivable and realistic.

Starting from next week (Monday 4th) you have 13 weeks to go until the Great Scottish Run. I actually think that 12-13 weeks is the ideal amount of time to train for a half. 🙂

You could try something like a four week pattern with an easy week every 4 weeks:

Wk: Run 1, 2, 3
1: 4, 3, 6
2: 4, 5, 6
3: 4, 5, 7
4: 3, 2, 6 (easy week)
5: 4, 6, 8
6: 4, 6, 9
7: 4, 7, 10
8: 4, 3, 6 (easy week)
9: 5, 7, 10
10: 5, 7, 11
11: 5, 8, 12 (or 13.1 or more to prove to yourself you can do it)
12: 5, 6, 7 (easy week)
13: 5, 3, 13.1

Note: Distance in miles.

Run 1 : easy.
Run 2 : a bit longer, do speedwork or hills if you want (between a 15 minute warm up and cool down) or just aim to run steady and strong.
Run 3 : long and easy: break distance into chunks and practice steady comfortable pace.
Hydrate on any run over 1 hour and practice taking on energy too.
Aim to do part of the course if possible.
Try some of these half marathon training runs.

Q: Looks good. I’ll get cracking on it next week. Should I put planned strategic walk breaks in or just as and when I need to.

A: Just walk when you need to, or plan it around times when you refuel or re hydrate.

I get the idea of walk run schedules for people who are just starting out (to get their cardio used to it, but ideally if you can run for 20 minutes nonstop, you should really be able to run (cardio wise) forever!

It’s just your legs and your brain that you need to work on at being able to keep going (ie positive, I can do this attitude and building your legs/body up to being able to run for longer).

I would only walk when I needed to, and maybe do it when you are taking on fluids or energy…. if i was running 10 miles for example I’d run 5 then get a 500ml drink (and stop – or you could walk)… then run again. You’ll find out what works for you.

If you find you need to walk, it may be that your pace is too fast, and it might be an idea to try and start out slower. A nice steady pace is better than a fast pace followed by a walk and the possible sense of failure that comes with ‘having to walk’. 🙂

I’m sure you’ll be able to run the whole way easily.

For more info on running half marathons, see here:

Half Marathon Strategy
Up Hill Running Tips
Downhill Running
Run Workouts (using your Heart Rate)
Progressive training runs for the Half Marathon
Top Ten Ways to Avoid Over Training
Simple Treadmill Hill Run
Running Long
Top 10 Long Run Tips
Q: Running long and thoughts on runs
Suitably pleased with that long run….

5/5 Top 10 ways to achieve your personal best

Believe in yourself and think positively

My goals for the D33: Tick! + some tips!

Goal Setting and Motivation

Self doubt vs Self belief : ‘YOU CAN DO IT’

Are you a Positive or Negative person?

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