Again, the key to this schedule is the weekly long run. Don't skip that run and make sure you have a safe progression from your current longest weekly run to the 10- to 11-mile long run that is your goal.
Intermediate and Advanced Runners: Your 12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan
For the seasoned half-marathon runner, the goal for training is to run a faster half marathon. The long run is still the key workout each week and, ideally, you have 12 weeks to train for the race.
Let's assume you're running 6 to 7 miles once a week. If you're at that level, then you can easily get up to a 13- or 14-mile long run leading up to the half marathon. These runs don't need to be fast, but they are key if you want to race fast.
Just like the beginner plan, you want one workout per week in addition to your long run. But the workout should be longer—perhaps 8 miles. You might do a progression run of 3 miles steady, 2 miles a bit faster, 1 mile faster, 1 mile fastest, then 1 mile to cool down.
You will also want to do some workouts where you groove at your goal half-marathon pace. You can run half-marathon pace as part of the weekly long run.
For instance, if you were doing a long run of 10 miles, you might do 2 miles easy, then try to run 6 miles at half-marathon pace, then run 2 miles as your cool down. That gives you a 10-mile run, and it also gives you 6 miles to challenge your aerobic system while simultaneously getting the neuromuscular stimulus of running at race pace.
Finally, complete some running at faster than race pace. This is beneficial a couple of times during the training. So 10 x 400 meters with a 200-meter float is a short workout that has you running faster than race pace, which is important, as it makes half-marathon pace feel slower. This helps boost your confidence—you know you'll be able to sustain half-marathon pace for the entire race distance.
For the seasoned half-marathon runner, your schedule should include at least five days a week of running. Is five days a week of running enough to run a good half marathon? I believe so, especially if the alternative is getting injured if you attempt to run more than five days a week. Here is a sample schedule:
- Monday: easy run
- Tuesday: workout
- Wednesday: easy run
- Thursday: cross-train
- Friday: easy run
- Saturday: long run
- Sunday: off or brisk walk