12 Week High Training Effort Competitive Half Marathon Training Plan

This is a high training effort half marathon training program that is designed for experienced competitive runners. This program includes high intensity workouts, weekly long training runs and high intensity strength training. This is a 12 week program with 6 to 7 workouts per week. The 12 week program begins with a base of 8 miles.

Running Workouts

There are six specific types of running workouts in your program:

Endurance Runs

This type of run is also known as aerobic conditioning. Endurance runs make up the highest percentage of overall mileage for a distance runner. Endurance runs build your overall endurance, increase your blood volume, improve your ability to store energy supplying fuel, and improves the ability of your system to deliver oxygen to your muscles. These workouts are performed at about 55 to 75 percent of your VO2 max (your body’s ability to process oxygen). This pace should feel easy and “conversational” in nature.

Lactate Turnpoint Runs

These workouts, which are also called anaerobic conditioning, are intended to improve your body’s ability to process accumulating lactic acid to produce energy. They also improve your ability to continue to run with rising potassium levels (a cause of running fatigue). LT runs are typically performed at between 75 percent and 90 percent of your VO2 max. Your half marathon race pace is closely tied to your LT pace. So even though your lactate turnpoint occurs at a pace that is faster than your goal half marathon pace, improving your lactate turnpoint (LT) pace will also improve your half marathon pace. Your LT pace is about 2 to 4 percent slower than 10K pace. These workouts are performed at or near 10K race pace because you are flooding your system with lactic acid and potassium at that pace, which makes 10K pace very efficient at improving your LT.

Speed/vVO2 max Runs

These workouts are also known as aerobic capacity training. Speed runs are performed at about 90% of your VO2 max which is very close to your 5K race pace. vVO2 max runs are done at 100% of your VO2 max or about 3K race pace. vVO2 max is your running velocity when your reach your VO2 max or your body’s maximum ability to use oxygen. Improving this pace will increase your fitness, speed, endurance and speed endurance.

Sprint Training

This workout is not the same type of high intensity running that a sprinter would do. Sprint training for a distance runner involves running at very high intensities of between 100 and 125 percent of VO2 max. These workouts should be performed at a nearly “all out’ but relaxed pace.You should concentrate on maintaining good form and a smooth, fluid stride. The purpose of these types of workouts are to improve your top running speed, running strength, running economy and neuromuscular conditioning or the ability of your brain to communicate with your muscles.

Hill Training

One of the best ways to improve your running strength and running economy is through the use of hill running. Hill running also helps improve your LT pace.

Long Runs

These runs improve your endurance, goal pace endurance and mental toughness. They also improve your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel and conserve carbohydrates. Long runs are performed at an easy pace, goal pace or a combination of the two paces.

Strength Workouts

The second category of workouts in your training program are strength workouts. Strength training is important for runners because it helps prevent injury, improve your impact resistance, improve your running economy and build your speed and power. Strength training workouts fall into one of three types:

  • General Strength – General strength workouts build your overall body strength and provide a base for the more specific types of strength training.
  • Running Specific Strength – These are strength building exercises that target your running specific motions and muscles
  • Plyometrics – Plyometrics are high intensity strength exercises and drills that are explosive in nature and are great for improving running economy and power.

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12 Week High Effort