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HALF-MARATHON 20-WEEK SCHEDULE
© Old Mutual Virtual Coach Dave Spence and Old Mutual

 

I will introduce you in a simple new training technique that will increase your endurance and calorie-burning, decrease your injuries and maybe even help you to get faster.

Now, I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’ve gone soft or anything – but as a coach of international marathoners … I advocate that one often take walking breaks during long or even during daily runs. After all, it makes perfect sense to mix running and walking.

Runners beginning a programme start by following a run-walk routine.  This system has proven successful a thousand times over.

Ultra-distance runners who participate in those seemingly crazy races of 100 miles and beyond inevitably alternate running and walking.

You, on the other hand, probably view walking as the enemy. The thinking is: you run, and this is good. You are proving and improving yourself: you are determined: you are a moral person. Whereas when you walk: this is bad. You are lazy: you are a loser: you don’t deserve to be loved (not even by your mother). There is a word for this inflexible, perfectionist thinking – “stupid”.

The goal of a workout is not to avoid walking. This bears repeating. The goal of a workout is not to avoid walking. The goals are to feel better, get in better shape, reduce tension and strain.

You must walk early and often, i.e. run the first kilometre and walk 60 seconds and repeat for the race or run 9 min walk 1 min as my training programmes suggests alternatively run 25 minutes and walk for 3-5 minutes and repeat for time suggested or length of the race.

Daily Training:

Run for 9 minutes and walk for 60 seconds for the time suggested: This is called a “9/1” method and it can also be used on long runs.

NOTE: If you would prefer to run/jog continuously, do so for the length of time suggested for the run/walk in the programme.

Here is the rationale behind the method. Running and walking do have much in common. Running is basically fast walking, with this difference: runners “jump” from foot to foot, walkers don’t. When you run, the knee flexes more than in walking, the quadriceps muscles contract and you “toe-off” in more or less the same way as the long jumper who explodes off the jump board. This is the infamous “impact shock” of running – said to be two or three times your body weight. That can lead to overuse injuries of the feet, knees, tendons and so on.

Walking doesn’t cause as many injuries as running and run/walk training won’t cause as many either. No, I can’t prove this, but it makes intuitive sense. Since leg muscles, while walking are used in a slightly different manner, hence different muscle groups come into play. The speed at which you walk should be plus/minus 2 minutes per kilometre slower than your time trial pace in weeks prior to run the half-marathon.

Do’s and don’ts

•        Don’t begin a running programme without a full medical exam.

•        Do tell someone where you’ll be running and when you expect to return. Carry some identification and a phone card or small change for a call.

•        Do watch out for cars, and don’t expect drivers to watch out for you. Always run facing the traffic so you can see cars approaching. When crossing an intersection, make sure you establish eye contact with the driver before proceeding.

•        Do try some light stretching exercises prior to your walk/run workouts to reduce muscle tightness and increase range of motion.

•        Do include a training partner in your programme, if possible. A partner with similar abilities and goals can add motivation and increase the safety of your running.

•        Do dress correctly. If it’s dark, wear white or, better yet, reflective clothing: if it’s cold wear layers of clothing. Sunblock, sunglasses, cap or peak and white clothing makes sense on hot days.

•        Don’t run in worn-out shoes (check them for broken down heels or very smooth areas where you toe-off). Don’t run in shoes that are designed for other sports, such as squash or tennis.

•        Don’t train through an injury. Little aches and pains can sideline you for weeks or months if you don’t take time off and seek medical advice.

•        Don’t wear headphones when running outside, whether you’re training or racing. They tune you out from your surroundings, making you vulnerable to all sorts of hazards – cars, bikes, dogs, criminals. Keep them for your gym workouts.

•        Don’t run in remote areas, especially if you are a woman running alone. If you don’t have a partner, run with a dog or carry a self-defence spray. Don’t approach a car to give directions, and don’t assume all runners are harmless.

Long run:
This is the key component of your training. The pace is critical about 1.5 minutes slower than your 5 kilometre time trial pace. Remember 9/1 plan.

Hill running:
Should you want to include hill work in your training, specific hills should be run once a week up to about 6 weeks before the race. I suggest a hill + 300m long, run the hill very hard for the first attempt and take the time, walk back down the hill then add 15 seconds onto your hard run. That is the time you should aim for your hill repeats. The session should be 20-40 minutes long with a jog recovery down the hill after each repeat.

Time trials:
I suggest a time trial of 5 kilometres be done on Tuesday of each week from week 9. A time trial is not a race! You should be able to continue after each time trial at the same pace for a further kilometre at least.

Development races:
I suggest that you run races at your anticipated half marathon pace up to 10 kilometres and that every 3rd or 4th week do a hard pace race. This creates the mental toughness that you require for goal race.

Easy runs and rest days:
Easy runs and a rest day will take up the balance of your programme.

WEEK 1
Try and plan your training so that you intersperse training days with rest days. Run 2 min . Walk 4 min, repeat five times i.e.:

Monday           Rest
Tuesday          Run/walk 30 min
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         Run/walk 30 min
Friday              Rest
Saturday         Run/walk 30 min
Sunday           Run/Walk 30 min

WEEK 2
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          30min run/walk (run 3 min/walk 3 min x 5)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         30min run/walk (run 3 min/walk 3 min x 5)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30min run/walk (run 3 min/walk 3 min x 5)
Sunday           30min run/walk (run 3 min/walk 3 min x 5)

WEEKS 3 and 4
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          40min run/walk (run 7 min/walk 3min x 4)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         40min run/walk (run 7 min/walk 3min x 4)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         40min run/walk (run 7 min/walk 3min x 4)
Sunday           40min run/walk (run 7 min/walk 3min x 4)

WEEK 5
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          40min run/walk (run 8 min/walk 2 min x 4)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         40min run/walk (run 8 min/walk 2 min x 4)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         40min run/walk (run 8 min/walk 2 min x 4)
Sunday           40min run/walk (run 8 min/walk 2 min x 4)

WEEK 6
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Sunday           40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)

WEEK 7
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         Run/Walk 30 min (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Sunday           50min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 5)

WEEK 8
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Sunday           60min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 6)

WEEK 9
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          5 km continuous run
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         40min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 4)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         Race 10 km
Sunday           60min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 6)

WEEK 10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          5 km continuous run at pace that leaves you slight breathless
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         50min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x5)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Sunday           90min run/walk (run 25 min/walk 1 min x 3)

WEEK 11
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          5 km time trial
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         60min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x6)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30min run/walk (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Sunday           60min run/walk (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 2)

WEEK 12
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          5 km time trial
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         Run/Walk 20 min (run 9 min/walk 1 min x2)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         60min run/walk (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 2)
Sunday           90min run/walk (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 3)

WEEK 13
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          30min run/walk easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         30min run/walk easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         Rest
Sunday           Race 10 km doing it on the 9/1 plan
Sunday           120min run/walk easy (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 4)

WEEK 14
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          30min run/walk easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Wednesday     Rest
Thursday         30min run/walk easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30min run/walk easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Sunday           90min run/walk easy (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 3)

WEEK 15
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          50min run/walk easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 5)
Wednesday     50min run/walk easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 5)
Thursday         50min run/walk easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 5)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         5 km time trial hard pace
Sunday           2 hrs run/walk easy (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 4)

WEEK 16
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          50min run/walk easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 5)
Wednesday     5 km time trial – very hard pace
Thursday         50min run/walk easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 5)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         60min run/walk easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 6)
Sunday           2 hrs run/walk easy (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 4)

WEEK 17
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          30min run/walk very easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Wednesday     5 km time trial – very hard pace
Thursday         30min run/walk very easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30min run/walk very easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Sunday           2:30 hrs very easy (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 5)

WEEK 18
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          30min run/walk very easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Wednesday     5 km time trial –hard
Thursday         30min run/walk very easy 9/1 (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         30 min at anticipated half marathon pace
Sunday           2 hrs very easy (run 25 min/walk 3-5 min x 4)

WEEK 19
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          30min run/walk easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Wednesday     5 km time trial –hard pace
Thursday         30min run/walk very easy (run 9 min/walk 1 min x 3)
Friday              Rest
Saturday         5 km Race
Sunday           Emphasis – confidence. Easy page (10km), run relaxed, enjoy it and revel in the fact that you’ve trained well and are fit and ready for the forthcoming big day.

FINAL WEEK
Monday           Emphasis – rest. Have a complete rest day.
Tuesday          Emphasis – pace. Though you don’t want to run any very hard efforts, it’s a good idea to do a workout – 15min at pace with 2km warm up and warm down.
Wednesday     Same as Monday
Thursday         Emphasis – loose muscles. Jog for 20 min and have  good stretching session.
Friday              Emphasis – relaxation. Do a few easy kms simply to stretch your legs and loosen your muscles. Otherwise stay off your feet, go some place by yourself and just try to relax.
Saturday         Enjoy and have fun!