1. The Long Run (with a twist)
The long run in half marathon training has a lot more flexibility than the long run for the marathon. Physiologically the demand of 13.1 miles is not as great as it is for 26.2 miles. Since the half marathon is physiologically less taxing, I like to be very creative with long runs. I believe through this creativity you train good pacing. I have two main ways I like to mix up the long run:
- Broken effort or “two-a-day”. Here you simply run twice with at least 4 hours in between runs. You can break this up as a longer run in the morning followed by shorter later in the day, or as equal distance runs. When starting out, keep the pace of these runs aerobic and stay in heart rate zones 1-2. You are simply adapting to the pounding and getting trained on smart pacing. Examples may be 5 miles in the morning followed by 3 in the evening or 4 miles in the morning and evening.
- Long run with a fast finish. Here we simulate race day fatigue and again pace awareness. The first ¾ of your run should be at an aerobic pace, so stay in zone 1-2. The last ¼ you will gradually build your pace every few minutes such that you simulate that “tired leg” feeling so common in the final miles of any long event. When you do this think “light feet, fast feet” and relaxed shoulders and breathing.