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Half Marathon Endurance Development Part 2 - by Stu Hale

Half Marathon Endurance Development.

Accompanying Notes for getting started for differing levels of half marathon running experience.

These notes are designed to accompany the Half Marathon Endurance Workshop. As such they are intended as a guide, are not intended in anyway to be prescriptive and there to help Run Leaders and those starting out on the coaching ladder to help and advise those around them.

Getting Started, all runners.
Everything, as already outlined, begins with an endurance base.  This is essential for all levels of runner and at the beginning of every season or plan to run a race, should be implemented.

The starting point is straightforward. It is the level that the runner is currently at. Regardless of experience or ability. It is the current level of fitness that matters. So if someone is currently running 3-days a week, with a maximum running time of one hour in a single run then this is the starting point.
Just because someone can run for an hour does not mean that they should suddenly change things and run for 1-hour on each of their three runs. At first this may seem easy but as the time on feet, over the coming weeks develops then fatigue will invariably set in and the risk of injury or illness will exponentially increase.

Secondly, look at how many weeks there are to the target event. Using the 10% rule is there enough time to get someone safely to the start line based on their current fitness and training levels?

TIP: Try drawing squares on a piece of paper with each representing one week. The last one should be the Event week, the first this week. Allowing for recovery weeks (every 4th week), two or three weeks’ race taper before the event, you can write in the training time progression for each week and that of the longer endurance run.

Thirdly, don’t forget to allow for social commitments, build-up races and the amount of available training time someone has. It’s no good suggesting someone should run for 8 hours in a week if they only have 6-hours available.  Many coaches also consider the what if of injury or illness, allowing two weeks in 6-month period for this.

Always think time not distance. So the target time for training purposes is ‘how long is it going to take someone to run that event?’

Guidelines for those new to running or first time Half Marathon Runners.
This assumes a minimum of three or four days a week running and that the long run will be on a Sunday. For safety and the health of the runner the advice has to be a 3-days of running or more per week for a half marathon.
To get around a half marathon in say 2-hours, then these runners need to be comfortable with running 90 to 100 minutes. Yes, the last 15 minutes of the event will be tough and they will begin to feel tired, yet if they have trained correctly and included the drills in their training from the second workshop then they should finish comfortably enough.

A week may look like this:

Tues: Short recovery run, to ensure they are over the long run from Sunday. 20 minutes, with effort level of recovery or L1.
Thurs: Mid distance, to help cement the longer weekend run and build aerobic efficiency. Up to 60 minutes as a rule. This run is also ideal for adding on 15 – 20 minutes of drill work.  Makes for a long

session but one that is varied and enjoyable, especially within a group. It is not uncommon to find
beginners that have gradually developed their training time to be happy with a longer session, especially if it offers positive gains and fun.
Intensity should be ‘Overdistance’ L1 or ‘Endurance’ L2.

TIP: This run can also be used once endurance has been established of 45 minutes plus to introduce other types of strength-endurance training. Try adding in a long hill that mimics most of the hill in the Sheffield half marathon. As runners become fitter use the hill for a long repeat sessions:
                 Warm up, 3 x half way L2, with jog down, warm down. Small drill session.
Remember to change only one thing in the run at a time and gradually introduce more hill reps over time. The long hill reps can also be replaced with short steep hill reps, run really slowly, as they can help develop running strength.

Sun: LSD, this is the day to develop that endurance. Remember the 10% rule. Intensity for new durations think L1, for durations that are comfortable then L2 is ideal.


Guidelines For More Experienced Runners who have completed at least three Half Marathons
This assumes that the runner is comfortable with runs of 80% of the time it takes them to run a half marathon and they have experience of running beyond the half marathon in training.

To improve, then 4-5 days of running should be seen as a minimum.  Adding extra days into the week’s training should be done cautiously, ideally the week before a recovery week and a run at a time. The Aerobic base for these runners is very important as it will provide a stepping stone to faster paced training in the future.

Training Tip: Some mid week training runs can be introduced as ‘Race Pace’ runs, so ensuring the body is used to the demands of the distance at that speed. These runs are not to tiring and help to develop endurance speed, a key requirement for a half marathon. Can be developed to around 80% of the total race time.

A week may look like this:

Mon: 30 minute recovery run
Tues: 15 mins L1, 45 mins at race pace
Wed: Day Off
Thurs: 60 mins L2
Fri: Day Off
Sat: Fartlek type session, 45 mins.
Sun: L2 LSD run

The above assumes that an aerobic base is established.



Friday 4th of December 2015

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