20 Week Half Marathon Training Plan PDF

Are you seeking a legitimate 20 week half marathon training plan pdf? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. A 5 month half marathon training plan is optimal time to prepare properly for a half-marathon. The reason being is you are not in a rush to get into great anaerobic shape. It takes the body between 21 days to 4 weeks to adapt to any physiological stress you are placing on it.

So, trying to train properly for a half marathon in 8 or 12 weeks may not be sufficient. Of course, runners can still get in legitimate shape in this time frame. That being said, the longer you can prepare for a race, the better. I have created 20 week half marathon training plan pdf options available here. Remember, the goal is to help take you to the next level in your training and racing.

Is 20 Weeks Enough Time to Train for a Half Marathon?

Yes, a 5 month half marathon training plan is sufficient time. Again, to prepare properly for a 13.1 mile or 21.1 kilometer race longer is better. A common mistake I see far too many runners making is trying to rush their fitness. One of the the best benefits of investing in a 20-week half marathon training plan is you have a game plan. Also, you are not guessing what workout you need to be doing.

I have over 30 years of experience in this sport and have been taught by some of the world’s top distance running coaches. You are more than welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my racing background if you wish. The training principles I followed to run 1:07:06 for the half and 2:19:35 for the marathon I have sprinkled into these training plans.

Are you seeking an online running coach? Interested in investing in a running course? If so, I also have running courses for half marathon and marathon athletes you may be interested in.

Can You Train for Half Marathon in 5 Months?

Of course. Athletes who focus on a 20 week half marathon training plan are going to set themselves up for success. One, you have more time to focus on building your aerobic base mileage first. I recommend doing strides once or twice per week during your base building phase. The first 4 weeks of the RunDreamAchieve 20 week half marathon training plan pdf is focused on this.

3 hour marathon pace
Coach Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place overall at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

Strides are short, acceleration drills to help you focus on your leg turnover and form. More importantly, over a 20 week build up you will have spent several miles or kilometers at close to all-out sprint efforts. In addition, you are doing these types of drills on top of your other workouts. Strides are too short to cause any significant fatigue.

How Many Months Do You Need to Train for a Half Marathon?

3 months is legitimate but 5 months is optimal. Again, the longer you can prepare the better off you are going to be. I see a lot of runners trying to get ready in a matter of 4 to 8 weeks. Of course, you can gain some fitness in this amount of time. That being said, it will be difficult to get into superior anaerobic shape in this amount of time.

As mentioned above, you want to focus on a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks building base mileage. The reason for this is to strengthen your muscles, ligaments and tendons. We then start focusing on half marathon specific training and speed development.

Lastly, we move into our 10-day taper. Yes, there are many runners who have done very well using a 3-week taper. I have found that dropping volume and intensity too far out from your main race can leave you feeling fatigued.

I have set numerous personal bests using a 10-day taper. In addition, many of the athletes who have invested in my courses or training plans have as well. One recently dropping his marathon PB from 3:46 to 2:58.02. Not too bad right?

How Do I Train for a 21KM Run?

Focus on running longer

What has been the longest long run you have done in the recent past? 10 miles? 15? I would recommend doing a minimum of run at this length. In fact, moving toward 17 to 20 is optimal. Again, the longer you can spend on you feet the greater your endurance will be. Remember, you have to be gradual in your process. We don’t just jump into doing long runs this far.

Long, slow running produces outstanding long, slow runners

– Sebastian Coe, former world record holder, 800m (1.41.73)

So, starting off around 7 to 8 miles may be a good start. The end goal is to improve the athletes lactate tolerance. The only way to do this is to train at faster than goal half marathon race pace. Long, slow long runs will help you build fat, confidence and endurance. That being said, you don’t want to run long and slow every single weekend.

Focus on doing faster, varied paced long runs

We focus on this type of strategy within the RunDreamAchieve 20 week half marathon training pdf options. Again, our aim is to be strategic. Have you ever considered doing this type of long run? If not, the time to start implementing this starts now. Remember, faster running helps to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers.

You will run more economically (efficiently) by running faster. Yes, it is painful and takes time to adapt but you will. I used this tactic to lower my half marathon from 1:10:31 to 1:07:06. In addition, lowering my marathon PR of 2:43:36 down to 2:19:35. You always want to alternate a faster long run followed the next weekend by an easy, relaxed long run. Below are some examples of faster long runs I focus on…

  • 2 mile jog warm-up, 5 miles@10 seconds faster than goal half marathon race pace, 1 mile easy, 1 mile@15 second slower than your personal best for 1 mile, 2 miles easy, 3 miles@goal half marathon pace
  • 1 mile warm-up, 14 miles steady@85 to 88% of max heart rate, 1 mile easy jog cool-down

Longer Time Spent at the Anaerobic Threshold

We race right around out our anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid starts to rise in the body. It is running anywhere from 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate. Tempo runs are spent at this effort. What is the longest tempo run you have done in the past? 5 miles? 6? Half marathoners who want to drop significant time off their best should aim more toward 7 to 10 miles.

Of course, we don’t have the athlete immediately jump into tempo runs of this length. Again, the focus is to get the athlete to adapt to the stress being place on the body. We then and only then start extending tempo run length. No, running at this effort is not fun. Remember, the major gains are going to come from faster, anaerobic training. You won’t have any rest in a half marathon race.

So, we want to train you to handle lactic acid better than your competition. RunDreamAchieve 20 week half marathon training plan pdf options will help set you up for success. Also, there is a built-in day off within each week. I am fine with athletes taking an additional day off if they are feeling overly fatigued.

Mental Rehearsal

How often have you spent training mentally for your half marathons? I can best bet you probably haven’t. Don’t worry. The vast majority of runners don’t either. The very best runners do. So, this is something you can start implementing into your routine starting this week. I recommend spending 10 to 15 minutes visualizing yourself performing at a very high level.

The subconscious mind, cannot tell the difference between reality or imagination

-Billy Mills, Olympic Gold Medalist, 10,000m

The best time to do this is when you go to bed at night or when you first wake up. Also, see yourself crossing the finish line with your goal half marathon on the clock. It has to happen in the mind before it will ever happen in reality.

Invest in Personal Development

Average people do not come to RunDreamAchieve. Runners that are seeking to become better do. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new training and racing videos there each week. My aim is to help runners to start to train smarter rather than harder. I am sure you already know how to train hard.

Do the hardest workers always get the results? No. Don’t get so caught up in volume. What percentage of your weekly volume are you training at, close to or far below your goal half marathon race pace?

If the percentage is too low then you now you need to make some adjustments. The world’s best runners are running about 40 percent of their weekly volume at faster, anaerobic efforts. Of course, not every runner has to do this but success leaves clues. So, take this into consideration.

Closing Thoughts

Make sure you are practicing effective hydration during your long runs. You need to drink, not sip, in a half-marathon. So, start sitting water bottles out during your long runs. Practice should be the most difficult part of your preparation. The race itself is the celebration of all your hard work. Focus on staying as relaxed as you can in training and during the race.

Remember, the less mental and physical tension the better the performance. So, monitor your muscle tension during your speed sessions and consciously tell yourself to relax. You should be doing 1, vo2 max workout per week. Your vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake.

Again, speed training helps the athlete to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these recruited the more efficient the athlete is going to perform. The main objective is to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, you slow down less and maintain pace longer than your competition. I hope this post has been helpful and there is much more to write and say.

Are you ready to take your training and racing to the next level? Consider one of our running courses, training plans or monthly coaching options. Keep me posted on your progress.

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