Coventry half marathon is coming up so I thought I’d share a few or my tips for training for the race.

A half marathon is 13.1 miles and although it’s a common and popular event 13.1 miles is still a long way! To get round in one piece, enjoy it and without it completely ruining you, does require a bit of training and preparation.

You probably need to be running three times a week for 40-60 minutes with the key focus on building up a long run which builds your stamina so you can cope with the demands of the half marathon.

The long run is the key training session which will give you the fitness and confidence you can get to the finish.  The main thing is to build up the time and distance of this long run slowly with just 10% or around 10 minutes each week.

If you can run 60 min at the moment then increasing your run by 10 min each week until you get to 90-120 min.  If you’re new to running then all your long runs will be done at a super easy talking pace.

It’s not necessary to run the full distance in training before the half marathon. Generally speaking if you can do around 90-100 minutes you should find your fitness will help you through to the end. Plus your fitness is the sum of all the training you do in the week – not just your long run. Of course if you have time, running the full distance in training will help you to be fitter and more prepared.

Make sure that your long runs are a little bit similar to the half marathon that you’ll be doing. Coventry half marathon is hilly so it would be a good idea to some of your training run’s on hilly routes so that your legs, body and mind are prepared for what it feels like.

If you’ve been running regularly for 4-6months already then adding in some interval sessions with varied paces will help to challenge your fitness so and make you faster. Sessions I like for people training for half marathons are

10min warm up. Main Set: 5 to 8 x 800m reps hard (10km pace) with 400m recovery, 10min cool down

10min warm up. Main Set; 2-4 x 1 Mile Reps hard (10km pace) with 800m or 3-5min recovery, 10min cool down.

10min warm up. Main Set 6-10 x 2min hill repeats hard, jog back down the hill recovery, 10min cool down.

If you’re experienced and are looking to get faster then doing some sections of your long run at your target race pace will really help to prepare you for the challenge on race day.

You can complement your half marathon training with other cross training activities such as cycling, spin classes, swimming, yoga, Pilates, strength work in the gym etc.  All of these things will help to build your heart and lungs and get you moving in different ways other than just running. To have the most effect you need to make sure that cross training activities are all done fairly hard! And because they’re low impact you can usually do more hard work with less risk of injury than you can with running.

Running is a high impact activity so it’s really common for runners of all ages and back ground to get injured. So it’s useful to have that in your head from the start of your training programme and to include some injury prevention activity in your programme.

If you have any tips for half marathon training or favourite sessions you like to do then get in touch and let us know.

For tips on good running technique go here.