So you’ve run a couple of 5Ks, maybe even a 10K, and you’re intrigued by the half-marathon distance. The challenge is alluring, but it seems like a pretty big mileage gap to cover. With City to the Sea eight weeks away, you can make it happen!
First things first – you should already be running three or more times per week, with a long run of six miles or more. According to Greg McMillan, a coach and exercise physiologist who advised Runner’s World on their own article about getting to the half marathon, “The amount of miles people run seems to be less about the event and more about their time availability.” For this reason, McMillan avoids giving down-to-the-mile training plans for recreational runners.
If your pace is over ten minutes per mile, the biggest piece of preparation will be getting used to spending a lot of time on your feet. Many folks think that there is a secret to running farther. While most of us have searched for it, the truth is that the only way to be able to run farther, is to run more.
Ramp up mileage slowly, logging at least two shorter mid-week runs, followed by one long run on the weekend. This long run should steadily increase as the weeks go on, with a shorter “break” long run every couple of weeks to avoid putting too much stress on your body.
To be properly rested for the event, your mileage should peak two weeks before the race, then taper back down leading into race day. This amount of time is short enough to maintain the fitness you’ve built, while being long enough to rest properly for the big day.
By following these basic principles, putting in the time to make it happen, and listening to your body, you can turn your 5K fitness into half-marathon power.