PGER-2019                                              PETERBOROUGH 

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Peterborough, October 13th 2019 - 10:30am

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2018 PHOTOS

2018 RESULTS

Kickstart your race

Are you doing a half marathon and want it to be your best ever? Are you not sure what to do to up the ante and give your training a kick-start?

If you're tired of churning out the same old miles, same old places, same old paces then take a look at these top training sessions to help you run a better half marathon.

The sessions can be dropped into your plan to compliment and develop the running you already do. Although they can be used by runners of all abilities you may need to adapt them slightly to fit your own ability, fitness level or phase of training.

Before each of these sessions complete an easy paced aerobic warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, or your usual pre-session warm up routine to prepare your body for the session ahead.

A half marathon really is a great racing distance. It's far enough to be a stretch but without the extra training demands of a full marathon. If this is your first crack at a half marathon then don't be daunted by the distance. It's a perfect way to stretch a few boundaries, run further or faster than before, and can be a very realistic and achievable goal for you to work towards.

At the same time don't take it lightly though and think you can toe the start line ill prepared. The half marathon will find you out if you've not done sufficient training to get you round or the right training to attack your best.

13.1 sessions for your best 13.1 miles

1. The pick up run

What?
Run 20 minutes at a steady pace 'out' in one direction. This pace should be in the region of 20 to 30 seconds per mile slower than your target half marathon pace. After 20 minutes turn around and retrace your steps back over the route you have just run at a faster pace. The goal is to complete the 20 minutes on the way back faster (i.e. get further and continue past the start point) than on the way out.

Why?
To complete your best half marathon you need speed endurance and the ability to keep focused and on the pace when the going gets tough. Winding up the pace and picking it up further into a run will help you develop your aerobic capacity and your ability to keep your pace on track in the latter stages of your race.

When?
This session is best done in your half marathon build up with 10 to 2 weeks to go. Repeating the session using the same course 2 or 3 times over 4 to 6 weeks will enable you to gauge the progression of your fitness.

Tweak.
To progress this session start with 10 minutes out and back. To make it harder do a pick up run 10-15 seconds inside target half marathon pace on the way out for 30 minutes and then aim for target half marathon pace on the way back.

2. The triple 10

What?
Run 10 minutes at threshold pace. Take 3 minutes easy jog recovery. Repeat this three times.

Why?
Threshold running is your best friend for a great half. Running a better half marathon means being able to push the boundaries of comfort a little further that you might think is possible and running on the edge of your comfort zone for longer. Through training at a level best described as 'controlled discomfort' you improve your running economy and efficiency. Threshold running is in the region of 80-85% of your maximum effort.

When?
Do this session between weeks three and nine of your half marathon build-up.
Tweak. To make this session easier run 3x 6 to 8 minutes at a pace than is slightly more manageable and take 4 minutes recovery between each effort. As you improve look to run faster for longer. To progress this session run faster in the 10min effort sections, drop the recovery to 2minutes, and add a 4th 10-minute section. Don't do all these progressions as the same time.

3. The base builder

What?

Anything between 5 and 9 miles run at steady pace.

Why?
Steady base miles are your money miles in the bank for a great half marathon. They form the mainstay of your miles in between tough workouts and are the backbone of your half marathon build up. Steady running is run at pace in the region of 60 to 70% effort.

When?
Base runs are most important in the early stages of a build up but should be continued right through the entire training period into the taper weeks.

Tweak.
The important thing with a steady paced base run is to listen to your body. These runs can be made easier by cutting the intensity when tired and doing more of an 'active recovery' (see 10) type run. At the same, if you're feeling good don't ramp up the pace of a base builder. Keep a lid on your enthusiasm during these runs and save your energy for your harder workouts.



4. The stamina run

What?
This is a long run. Build this up progressively according to your ability, fitness and stage of training. Progressing through 6-9-12 and 15miles will see you confident to go the distance.

Why?
A half marathon is an endurance run and to nail a great race you're going to need to develop and increase your stamina. Whatever your race pace, you need to be able to complete 13.1miles. For some that's going to take 70 minutes or under and for others it'll take over 2 hours. Building up your single run volume and time on your feet will help build the endurance you need for a successful half.

When?
Long runs should be done throughout your entire programme. What represents 'long' may well change, and should certainly progress as your training develops The longest runs should be done with 6,5,4,3 weeks to go before your race. You should not do your longest 'long run' in the final two weeks of your plan when you should be dropping the volume.

Tweak.
To make a long run easier ensure you control the pace from the outset. Don't hammer a long run. Run at pace that feels controlled and comfortable. Long runs are typically done at 50 to 60% of maximum effort. To extend the difficulty of your long run include sections that are run at target half marathon race pace. For example, miles 3 to 6 and 9 to 12 of a 13 mile run or the final 5 miles of a 12 mile run.

5. Mile repeats

What?
On an accurate measure mile run 5x1mile repeats at a pace 5 to 10seconds per mile faster than your target half marathon race pace per mile. Take 50% of your mile time as your recovery period. For example, an 8 minute miler takes 4 minutes recovery, a 6 minute miler 3 minutes.

Why?
Interval running has been scientifically shown to improve VO2 max and running economy. Running intervals at a pace that is faster than target half marathon race pace means that when you begin your half marathon race the pace will feel more manageable, in control and tolerable. Intervals should be run at pace in the region of 80-90% maximum effort.

When?
Intervals should be done throughout the entire duration of a half marathon programme. The volume, intensity and duration of the effort may change but the principle of overload to improve stays the same. By repeating the same interval session above at weeks 3, 6 and 9 you should also be able to monitor mile times and objectively measure and assess your fitness improvements.

Tweak.
To make mile repeats drop the number of repetitions to 4 or extend the recovery period. To make this harder and push you further then take only 90seconds between each mile and increase the number of mile repeats to 6 or 7.

6. The strength sandwich

What?
This is a split session workout that involves a 15 minute threshold run (3mins rec) then a set of 4x3min interval runs (run at a pace faster than threshold with 90sec recovery) then, after a second 3 minute recovery period a repeat of the 15 minute threshold run

Why?
This session really builds aerobic capacity, running economy and stamina. It encourages you to get quickly into a fast pace and then to ask more of yourself mid run by increasing the intensity of the workout prior to dropping the pace – but only subtly – and holding on to a threshold pace to finish. When your legs are tired this session will test your strength physically and mentally

When?
This session is best included mid way through your plan between weeks 4 and 10 when you've had the chance to build up sufficient training background and fitness to get the best from this workout.

Tweak.
To make this session easier drop the length of the threshold run to 10 minutes either side of the intervals. Plus, increase the length of recovery period between 3 minute runs to 2 minutes. To make the session harder extend the length of the intervals to 3.5mins and repeat six times.

7. Perfect pace run

What?
2x4miles at target half marathon race pace. 10 minutes jog/walk recovery between race paced efforts.

Why?
The right training should see you really understand your pace and arrive at the start line with a clear grasp of how to run at your target race pace – whatever that might be. If your goal is to run sub 2 hours for the half marathon there's little point in not knowing what running 9min 09sec per mile feels like. Don't spring any surprises on your body on race day, it won't thank you for it by mile 9!

When?
This workout is for the second half of your half marathon build-up. The session is almost two thirds of total race distance so you need to be ready in your training to tackle it. Having had 4 to 5 weeks build up to this session and completing it two to three times during the final 6 weeks will help you master race pace. Do not do this session in the final seven days before your race in an attempt to 'test yourself'

Tweak.
To make this session easier run 2x3miles at target race pace. To make it harder run 2x5miles (with 10mins recovery) at target race pace or drop the recovery period between the 4 miles to 6 minutes.

8. The track challenge

What?
This session is completed on a running track and consists of interval efforts of 1600m – 1200m – 800m – 600m – 400m interspersed with a 400m jog recovery. Repeat set two times.

Why?
Running at a pace much faster than race pace really builds speed and tolerance of anaerobic threshold. These runs on the track focus your speed and get you in tune with running faster. Track efforts should be done considerable faster than half marathon race pace.

When?
This session is best done in the second half of your half marathon build up.

Tweak.
To make this session easier drop the second 1600m effort and extend the recovery to a 600m jog between efforts. To make the session harder repeat the set of intervals three times.



9. The double delight

What?
All repetitions in this session are done on an 'out and back' course. The target is consistency 'out' and 'back. Intervals are done in pairs, for example: 2 minutes 'out', 2 minutes 'back. The session is; 2x5mins, 2x4mins, 2x3mins, 2x2mins, (90 seconds between each effort and 3mins recovery between each pair of intervals).

Why?
This speed endurance session should be run at a speed that is faster than your target half marathon race pace. It is teaching your body to tolerate this pace and intensity so that it adapts and is more able to handle the demands of your half marathon pace. It also teaches you pace judgement across a session as it's important to be consistent with the effort across pairs of intervals.

When?
This session can be done at any time in your half marathon build up. As you get fitter and faster and your body becomes better at handling higher intensities you should find you run further on each pair of efforts.

Tweak.
To make this session easier drop the intensity of the 5 minute runs and lengthen the recovery you allow yourself between efforts to 3 minutes. To make this session harder add 2x6min runs to the start of the session and drop the recovery to 60 seconds between each effort.

10. The big easy

What?
A 30 minute easy run done at a pace that is optimal for active recovery. This should be less than 50% maximum effort and should feel totally relaxed, conversational and in control.

Why?
You should regard easy running as training. It's during rest and recovery that adaptation takes place and so an easy run should give your body the chance to recover between harder workouts. Anything longer than 30-40 minutes isn't active recovery or 'easy' and so limit the duration of your recovery runs.

When?
Easy runs should be a regular feature of your running week throughout your half marathon training.

Tweak.
If you need to make an easy run easier you are running it too hard in the first place. You shouldn't be thinking about making an easy run any harder!

11. The benchmark

What?
A flat out 10k time trial run on a course that is a similar profile to that of your targeted half marathon race (e.g., flat or undulating). Time how long the 10k effort takes you from start to finish.

Why?
This time trial is a race of truth. It really lets you know where you are in your training, how far your fitness has improved or the work you have still to put in. This session also helps you determine your race pace. If you can't hold a target mile pace time in training over 6 miles you certainly can't hold it in a race for double the distance.

When?
Changes to running fitness take time (at least 4 to 6 weeks for a change to start to truly be realised) so it makes sense to do this test session at the start of your build up to find out where you are and again mid way and perhaps towards the end of your half marathon training block to monitor and evaluate your progress. Make sure you have a light training day or a rest day before this session.

Tweak.
You can't make this session easier! It's an all out effort, everything or bust! To truly be able to make comparisons run on the same course and ideally in favourable and similar environmental conditions each time.

12. The lung burner

What?
On a flat grass field or a road with no obstructions or stopping points run 3x90 seconds flat out (90 second recovery between each run). Take a 5 minutes jog recovery and repeat the set of 3x90 seconds a further two times.

Why?
This session is designed to promote running speed and form. It's a high intensity session that needs to be done with 100% commitment. The pace of each 90 seconds effort should be 90-95% of maximum effort. During the final stages of each 90 second run you should feel your legs really starting to 'go' and your lactic acid levels building. This really helps you build tolerance to the build up of lactic acid and your muscles get better at dealing with it's build up and removal. Keep your form, stride and technique even when your legs start to burn.

When?
It's great to keep speed work up throughout your entire half marathon build up. It's not a good idea to do this session on really tired legs so it's best done after an easy, recovery or rest day.

Tweak.
The make session easier run 2x3x90 seconds. To make this session harder – run the reps harder or add an extra set 4x3x90 seconds. If you do add an extra set do not loose the quality of the workout. Hold on to the intensity of the runs by allowing enough recovery.

13. The leg burner

What?
Hill repeats 6x60 seconds, 4x45 seconds, 2x30 seconds. For this session of uphill runs find a hill with a decent gradient. Not so steep that you can't power up it, but not so shallow it's barely there. Run hard up the hill for 60 seconds At the top turn and run at steady pace back down to where you started. Repeat this six times. Then run 4x45 seconds fast hill efforts with a jog down recovery and finish with 2x30 seconds flat out hill efforts.

Why?
Hills really build leg strength. This type of strength work really contributes well to the development of a strong aerobic foundation. When your legs get tired towards the end of a half marathon it's your hill work that will kick in and see you strong to the finish.

When?
The best time to start your hill training is right at the start of your half marathon build up when you are really developing your strong aerobic foundation. Hills can be continued and progressed right up to 2 or 3 weeks to go before your race. You might want to have a light day after a hill session to allow your legs to recover from this tough workout.

Tweak.
To make this session easier (perhaps at the start of you half marathon training) drop the intensity of your effort on the up hills and take an easy jog down recovery. To make this session harder add a set of 90 second hill efforts at the start of the session – begin with 4x90 seconds and rise to 8x90 seconds.

13.1 The feel good fast

What?
4x45 seconds, 15 seconds accelerate. Hold and maintain your form for 15 second, stride and power and during the final 15 seconds, gently decelerate and wind down striding long and focused.

Why?
This taper session helps bring you to a peak and keeps the intensity of your running up. It shouldn't be giving it everything but you should feel fast and in control, leaving you feeling confident and ready to race.

When?
This short session is best done in the final week of your training 4 to 6 days before your race. Don't overstretch yourself in this run.

Tweak.
Don't. Leave it alone. Feel good. Run strong and be confident.