The key to running your first half marathon is building a good base at the beginning of your training. You need to peak at the perfect time (race day!) and avoid injury.
Your first phase of training is called ‘base training’. This gradually increases the amount that you run, building aerobic fitness and minimising the risk of injury.
Ensure that you include at least one full day of rest during a week – but conversely, too much rest (e.g. two to three consecutive days without running) may impact your rate of improvement.
Beginners Training Programme: December 2013
This programme is aimed at people doing their first 21km, or if you have not been running in a while and need to build up your fitness slowly.
|16 Dec||REST||RUN 20MINS RPE = 6-7||REST||RUN 20MINS RPE = 6-7*||REST||RUN 30MINS RPE = 6-7||REST||1HR10|
|23 Dec||REST||RUN 20MINS RPE = 6-7||REST||RUN 25MINS RPE = 6-7||REST||RUN 35MINS RPE = 6-7||REST||1HR20|
|30 Dec||REST||RUN 20MINS RPE = 7-8||REST||RUN 25MINS RPE = 6-7||REST||RUN 20MINS RPE = 8||RUN 40MINS RPE = 6-7||1HR45|
*RPE = Rate Of Perceived Exertion
Do the majority of your base training easy or slow. RPE is one of the best guidelines to use regarding intensity of training and is based on your perception of how hard you feel you are running.
|6 – 7||Easy||Breathing easily, and able to talk.||60 – 70%|
|7 – 8||Moderate||Only able to speak a few words at a time due to heavier breathing.||70 – 80%|
|8 – 9||Hard||Unable to talk and breathing hard.||80 – 90%|
So if you are doing easy sessions (RPE of 6–7), and especially during your long run, you should be able to hold a conversation comfortably. If you are unable to talk, you are running too hard. Alternatively, if you are running too slow, you will not be working hard enough to test your physiological systems and your body will not need to make any adaptations, which will mean that you’ll remain at the same level.
Is this programme too easy for you? Have a look at the experienced training programme here.
About the coaches: Training programmes by Kim & Richard Woolrich, a husband and wife team who both work as biokineticists and coaches at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. Richard has a 21.1km PB of sub 70 minutes, and Kim a best under 90 minutes.