How to Train for a Half Marathon in 4 Months

Are you seeking how to train for a half marathon in 4 months? If so, I’m glad you have come to RunDreamAchieve. I started this site back in 2011 to help athletes just like you to destroy what you think you are capable of. 3 hr 30 minute marathon pace comes out to an average of 8.00 per mile for the 26.2 miles. Furthermore, if you are in Europe or another part of the world you will need to sustain 4.58 per kilometer.

The key thing to keep in mind as you train for your upcoming half marathon is this. How can I run less and get better results? Runners seem to think that higher mileage is the key. Not all, but some. I did too. In addition, I ran up to 142 miles a week at my highest. Do you want to know the absolute wrong way on how to train for a half marathon in 4 months? Focus on quantity rather than quality.

Would you rather run 35 miles a week and get a PR or do 100 miles a week and miss it by 10 minutes? I won’t hold anything back in this post. The half marathon is my favorite event. It is not long enough to truly fatigue you but long enough to challenge you to the highest of levels. The marathon is the event that does take much out of you and that you have to be more mindful of.

How To Train for a Half Marathon in 4 Months and Get A New Personal Best

One of the best strategies I used to drop my half marathon from 1.10.32 to 1.07.06 was varying the pace of my long run. I teach this technique in my courses at the RunDreamAchieve Academy. A common mistake many runners make is running there long runs too slow. Yes, you certainly need to focus on running easy mileage at times. That being said, the real results come when you train the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up in the blood stream.

Furthermore, you improve you lactate tolerance when you train faster than you wish to race at. I used this same method to drop my marathon best from 2.43.26 to 2.19.35. I had a personal best for the distance of 6.14 mile pace and yet I wanted to run at 5.25 mile pace (2.22.00 or better). My goal was to break a sub-2.22.00 marathon. It was the 2008 USA Olympic Trials “B” standard time and what was needed to qualify for the 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials. Well, I reached my goal running 2.19.35 but ran the time 28 days after the USA Olympic Trials were held in New York City.

The reason I was able to run that time was faster long runs. I would conduct them at a heart rate of 160 beats per minute. So, this came out to about 85 percent of my maximum heart rate. I am now 43 but ran my marathon and half marathon PR’s when I was 31. A good gauge to find out what your maximum heart rate is is to subtract your age from 220. That being said, there is no determiner of what you as an athlete are capable of in the half marathon distance. Furthermore, no physiological text can determine how fast you will really run.

What is your goal for this half marathon? Is it to run your first 13.1 mile race? Is it to break the 2 hour half marathon barrier? We all have our reasons for running this distance. Your why has to be strong in order to continue to be persistent and consistent with your training. There are no short cuts.

How To Train For A Half Marathon in 16 Weeks

I would focus on running easy mileage for the first 4 weeks. In addition, doing strides every other day for this first month. Strides are short enough that they won’t build up any significant lactic acid. In addition, they help you to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these you can recruit the more economical (efficient) you will become over the 13.1 mile distance.

The good news is you can do these easily as they are not long enough to stress you. Strides are normally between 50 to 100 meters in length. The next 3 months of training you need to start focusing on somewhat higher mileage. They say to never increase your mileage more than 10 percent each week. I tend to support that. That being said, you need to also experiment a bit. Find out what workouts are working and what habits you have that are keeping you from reaching your goals.

If you have run too many miles in the past you need to adjust this. Again, think quality over quantity. What goal pace are you seeking to run for the 13.1 mile race? Is it 7.30 mile pace? 9.00 mile pace? Are you focused on breaking a sub 1-30 half marathon? Regardless what it is you need to spend a greater amount of time during the week training 30 seconds to 1 full minute faster than your goal pace. Why? Goal race pace will become less intimidating to you. In addition, you’ll have experienced in training what it feels like to run a minute or even faster than you are seeking to race at.

How will your goal race pace feel then? You guessed it, much easier. That is what we want. Remember, you need to be able to react to any surges or moves your competition is throwing at you in your upcoming half marathon. I can assure you that if you train like this you will be able to make those moves on them.

Closing Thoughts

I am also a big believe in a 10-day taper. I have tried 3-week tapers in the past and they left me feeling lethargic. How to train for a half marathon in 4 months also comes down to how to utilize that taper. If you do this correctly you will be in a flow state come race day. I was certainly there on the morning of the 2007 California International Marathon. I finished as the top American and in 4th place overall in the race. Why? A perfect taper and a 10-day taper at that.

So, take these tips and run with them, literally. Feel free to visit the RunDreamAchieve YouTube Channel as well. I create videos for athletes just like you to get you the results you desire. Lastly, stop in the RunDreamAchieve Academy, as well. There are courses there that will help you speed up your learning curve and get a PR much faster.
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