Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wokingham Half Marathon 2016 - training starts NOW!

(recent picture taken at Fixture 2 of Middlesex Cross Country League)

I have been a bit of a running geek this week and built a 12 week plan for my upcoming half marathon in February 2016. 

My choice of race is Wokingham Half Marathon and whilst this will be 4th, it will have been two years since I raced this distance and I am feeling a little out of my comfort zone. Having spent a lot of time focussing on shorter distances, I will find it tough training to achieve 13.1 miles and a shiny new PB. With a current time of 1.45.30 (Reading Half Marathon 2014) I am desperate for a sub 1.45 but currently lacking confidence to achieve this. This is just under 8 minute mile pace, which for me over this distance is rather quick!

I decided yesterday to research half marathon training plans and as next week conveniently marks 12 weeks until race day, I opted for a longer plan to allow me to steadily rebuild my speed and distance. I was browsing Hal Higdon's website (American Runners' World contributor and all round running expert) and came across his intermediate level half marathon plan (which you can see here).

This plan is for those who want to improve on previous times and experiences but still offers a schedule that is easily manageable. Over the 12 weeks, he combines a mixture of easy runs, with speedwork, tempo sessions and strength building. The latter two I rarely do so I am excited to follow a plan where these are essential. 

Of course, I'm sure I am not the only one that follows training plans down to every, exact detail (please tell me I am not!?). Looking at this plan, I did see a lot of running (in my opinion a little too much for a half marathon) and I knew that I wouldn't be able to commit to six days a weeks. I don't particularly want to either. I also want to be able to continue with my swimming so I'm maintaining upkeep of my triathlon training in the background. With this in mind, I have devised my own personalised training plan that takes 75% of Hal's version but mixes in swimming and maybe an extra rest day (sorry Hal). 

My aim is to train on average 4/5 times a week. Every week consists of a steady short run and then a long paced run at the weekend but I will be alternating each week between speed sessions and tempo runs. For these tempo runs, the aim is to build up my pace so I am carrying out a run where I test different speeds over certain time periods (e.g. a 30 minute tempo run will consist of 0-10 mins threshold pace, 10-20 mins at 10K pace and then 20-30 mins easy running). In the past, I have tried these sessions a couple of times and found them really hard so I know they will be a big challenge in my training.

For those like me who have a winter half marathon in the diary, now is the time to start planning! Never have I felt so organised for a race. With my plans stuck proudly on my fridge, all that I need is the enthusiasm, determination and strength to follow every day to achieve (hopefully) that much desired sub 1.45.

Lipstick Runner.

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