Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Training Tips To Run A Faster Half Marathon

Training Tips To Run A Faster Half Marathon

One of the worst feelings in the world is to get to mile 7 or 8 in the half marathon and realize you have not done your homework.

Have you ever had that feeling going into a test where you know you crammed?

You know some of the topics but clearly you don't have the confidence to own the exam because you either didn't prepare well enough or you feel you can do well regardless.

I arrived to Malone University wanting to break Ira Wentworth's 13.52 5000m school record.

I was not only unprepared to even sniff this record, but I had not done the mental or physical work necessary to break it.

There are countless training tips to run a faster half marathon.

My ideas and suggestions are not the end-all-be-all.

I hope they will make you think about how you have approached training in the past and what you can do differently.

It is just as important to tell you to explore your limits as it for me to write my thoughts of how to drop your half-marathon personal best time.

You Have To Have A Long Term Approach

It took me 5 years of trial and error to go from 2.43.36 to 2.19.35 in the marathon distance.

In addition, it took me from 1998 to 2007 to drop my half-marathon best from 1.13.41 to 1.07.06.

It is ironic that my second fastest half-marathon I have ever run was the first half (1.07.09) of my best marathon (2.19.35)

The artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don't believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life.” -Steven Pressfield

No one ever said by doing everything right will guarantee you instant results.

I have always believed in delayed gratification.

It isn't easy to wait when we want the results now but this isn't an easy sport either.

Training for specific race times is different then training for fitness and overall health.

The faster you get, the more patience plays a vital role.

You may want to to break 4 hours for the marathon but you have you broken 2 hours for a half marathon yet?

One cannot come before the other.

Don't Be Afraid To Fail

Our long distance running culture celebrates success and considers a failed attempt as exactly that, a failure.

Perhaps part of that is true in the literal sense but failure can also be your best friend.

It can motivate you to realize your true potential.

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The best athletes in the world are not afraid of it.

You either take some chances and attempt something but or you sit back and dream about it.

You and I don't have unlimited time so stop thinking you are not talented enough, built right for running or whatever inner conflict you have with yourself.

My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.-Richard Branson

Don't Procrastinate

I'll start next week when I feel better. I'll wait until I am lighter to start training for half marathon.

I don't have time to prepare for the half marathon I wanted to run.

When will be the right time?

“It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.” -Steven Pressfield

Our worst enemy, for you, for me, is procrastination.

It robs us of the precious time we could have devoted to our art.

Running is an art as is improving the pace you hold for 13.1 miles.

The idea that you don't have something to add to our running community because of your current fitness or because you think you are too slow for someone to notice is a lie.

Now is the time to act on your running goals. A 5 hour marathoner can bring interesting ideas to an elite athlete and vice versa.

The problem lies in the fact that those at the top aren't interested in slower runners.

How about the millions who can be molded to run faster times if someone took the time to give a damn about them?

There are champions everywhere. Every street's got them. All we need to do is train them properly – Arthur Lydiard

If you have always wanted to break 2, 3 or 4 hours for the half marathon than start working toward it.

You Have A Goal Time? Practice That PaceAnd Often

Nothing can take the place of proper preparation. Mileage is not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Long slow running produces long slow runners who are robbing themselves of untapped potential.

Slow isn't uncool. Don't get me wrong.

Running slow for long periods of time takes work ethic as well but when it comes to running a faster half marathon sustained speed is the difference between being average and exceptional.

I already know your exceptional.

The question that needs to be asked is what weaknesses do you have and what are you doing, in training, to counter attack?

Racing involves being able to sustain when everyone else is slowing down.

The wise runner knows that high volume is not enough.

Are you extending the distance you run at race pace?

Are you able to negative split the last half of a tempo run?

The bottom line is this, to run a faster half marathon is about training at and below goal half marathon pace.

If you are doing 20 mile runs at 7.00 per mile pace and your goal for the half marathon is 5.50 per mile.

Are you really preparing well?

The Smartest Athlete Wins, Not The Hardest Working Athlete

The smart athlete works hard but know when to back off. He or she does not push the pace the day after a hard track session just to ensure the group thinks highly of them.

The group, if they are genuine, should respect and admire the athlete who slows on a group run the following day, rather than run faster just because everyone else is.

We live in a society where individualism sometimes is seen as something that is negative.

You are not doing what the group does.

You must not care. The individual only cares about him or herself.

The individual is not a team player.

Your job as a runner is to let go of what you think people think of you. Runners always want to push.

I believe it is in our DNA but the best runners in the world will run with school children and not give one iota what pace they are running if it is a slow day.

You have to have this mindset if you are to run faster at this distance or any other distance for that matter.

10 Fast Miles Better Prepares You Than 20 Slow Miles

A long run of 20 miles will surely help you lose weight and build endurance.

There is no question about that but ask yourself this question.

How would my mindset change if I could do 10 miles at my goal half marathon pace in practice with no one around helping me?

Now ask yourself.

How does doing 20 miles at a full minute slower than the pace I want to hold for 13 miles uplift me?

Which of these two workouts prepares you as it pertains to holding your race pace?

Pace, not distance, is the guiding principle. Better to run 16 miles at your goal marathon pace than slog through a 24-miler that does little to improve your endurance at race pace – Renato Canova, Italian coach of 2.03.02 marathoner, Jeffery Mutai

Part of my writing isn't to throw my opinions of training on yo but simply to get that Picasso, that artist out of you as you train and when you race.

No one has the magic formula but we do have methods that can take a novice to the elite level and I will continue to share what I have learned and what I am currently doing in preparing for the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

Race pace training will be at the heart of it.

I know that doing a 20 mile run at 6.20 mile pace is not going to prepare me to handle the stress of running 26.2 miles at 5.09 per mile pace.

The stresses I will have to place on my body are going to be high as they will be for you in your own pursuits.

It means doing 15 mile runs at 5.00 mile pace or get to the fitness level to come close.

It means not eating snacks at 10pm at night, sleeping well, jogging on recovery days at 10-11 mile pace and not caring.

All the little things that add up in the end matter.

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