HALF MARATHON PERFORMANCE SESSION – EARN THAT PB
I think the half marathon is a great distance. It is long enough to challenge your endurance, but also short enough that you can realistically work pretty hard, with speed endurance being a vital factor in success. Having recently PB’d in Edinburgh I wanted to share a session that I used, which I believe played a key role in my success.
THE WARM UP
I would typically warm up at a very comfortable pace for two kilometres, followed by some dynamic stretching and drills to prep me for the main set ahead. Before you think about skipping the warm up, I feel it is a vitally important part of successful running. If you skip it or do not warm up thoroughly before a speed session, you are highly unlikely to run your best, reducing the gains made from the session, and quite probably increasing the risk of injury.
THE MAIN SET – 3 x 5K
Now the warm up is complete its time run hard. Before the session begins you should know your intended race pace. For Edinburgh my intended pace was 3:38/km. The intention was a small personal best. So, I got myself up to my target pace and worked at it for 5k. In training, on tired legs from the cumulative fatigue of months of running, it is not always easy. Structuring your week so that the days leading up to this session are nice and easy, allowing you to be fresh to push the limits, is important. I had built up over time to this session, gradually increasing the duration and speed to a point where I felt it was achievable. When you reach the 5k mark, slow the pace and allow yourself 2k to recover. Allow your active recovery to be exactly that by dropping the pace right down. Then repeat the process another two times to total 3 x 5k efforts with 2k recovery after each phase.
THE COOL DOWN
After the this 5k section you should cool down for 2k. A couple of nice easy kilometres will help to lower the heart rate and start to flush the lactic acid that has built up. Follow this up with a thorough full body stretch. 23k from start to finish and a big step towards those elusive personal best times.
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