Monday, August 22, 2011

Changing It Up

I've run four half marathons in my running tenure and, although I love training  for marathons, the half marathon is where my heart is. It's my favorite distance. It's a much easier race to train for, in my opinion, than the marathon. Less of a time commitment, but can still be high mileage if you want it to be...or not. It's a very flexible distance.

That being said, I have gotten slower just about every half marathon I've run. One of my tips to avoiding that "omgIhaven'ttrainedandI'mrunningamarathonin3days" feeling is to change things up. So this time around, my change-up is working on a new half marathon PR. 

According to (great site btw!) my half marathon results are as follows:

In an old issue of Running Times that I hadn't read, I found an article with training plans to PR in a 5k. Since the mileage was fairly high, I tweaked the plan a little bit for half marathon distances and voila! Half marathon training plan, with lots of speed work thrown in.

To change things up this time around, I am trying to work in my lactate threshold range and trying to increase my VO2Max. I'll be starting out with mile repeats (intervals) and tempo runs at my "lactate threshold pace" which, according to this article, is 10-15 seconds slower than your 5k goal pace.

For me, that's a 9:10-9:15/mile pace.

LT (lactate threshold) intervals go something like this:

  • 1-2 mile warm up
  • anywhere from 3 to 5 one-mile repeats @ LT pace, with a minute or two rest in between
  • 1-2 mile cool down
Tempo runs are pretty run of the mill:
  • 1-2 mile warm up
  • anywhere from 2 to 5 miles consecutively at LT pace
  • 1-2 mile cool down

In a few weeks, I'll be concentrating more on VO2Max intervals and more tempo runs at a lactate threshold pace. For my VO2Max intervals, since I'm trying to increase my VO2Max, the article recommends you train at   the fastest pace you can maintain for about eight minutes. 

For me, that's about a 8:25-8:35/mile pace.

VO2Max intervals go like this:
  • 1-2 mile warm up
  • up to 5 repeats of 1-ish miles at VO2Max pace (I say 1-ish miles, because the training schedule sometimes calls for 1 mile, sometimes for 1200m and sometimes for 1000m)
  • 1-2 miles cool down
Additionally, my regular runs are going to have a few 30-second pace pick-ups thrown in as well. Sometimes these are called "strides" and it's usually recommended that you add them in at the end of a run to train yourself to kick at the end of a race. 

I'm 8 weeks out from my next half marathon (which also means I'm 8 weeks away from my birthday!) This week was a more relaxed week for me because I gave myself a bit of time to recover from the BikeMS ride last weekend. My projected (light blue) vs. actual (darker blue) week-end mileage

So, we'll soon see how the training goes and if my plan to speed things up a bit works. Happy half marathoning! 
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