16 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
Are you searching for a 16 week half marathon training schedule that will help set you up for success in your running goals?
If so I hope some of this post will help you make an informed decision on our run training plans here at RunDreamAchieve.
A common mistake that I made over the years when planning my training was too many miles run above my goal half marathon race pace.
What a 16 week half marathon training schedule should do is gradually introduce the runner to workouts that not only build strength and stamina but also make their goal half marathon training pace feel more in control.
I ran my current personal bests of 1:07:06 for the half marathon and 2:19:35 for the marathon in 2007.
As a runner yourself you may already know the immense difficulty it is to continue to drop time the faster you go.
It is now 2015 and I am still working to improve these personal best times currently training to break 2:18:00 at the upcoming 2016 Houston Chevron Marathon.
The struggle is real and it takes incredible patience whether you are trying to break 30:00 for the 5K distance or qualifying for the boston marathon.
I wanted to share a few key fundamentals that a 16 week half marathon training schedule should encompass.
These very same fundamentals are what helped me drop my half-marathon personal best from 1:10:33 to 1:07:06 and marathon personal best of 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.
1. Increase the pace of your long runs
There is probably no better piece of advice I can share than this gold nugget.
No other workout I have done past or present is as important as dialing in the pace of your long run because there are no breaks in a half marathon and you have to get to a point where your goal half marathon race pace is comfortable, not labored.
Too many runs at too slow a pace is not going to bring the athlete to the realization of a specific pace they want to hold for the half marathon distance.
Slow runs for recovery are fine but when it comes to the long run, alternating one week with a harder long run with one week relaxed is critical and this is how I have my 16 week half marathon training schedule run training plans set up.
2. Let go of the unessentials
Stop focusing on the weather conditions, worrying about if you did the right amount of work or if you have what it takes to achieve your running goals.
There is nothing that has stopped more runners from missing their performances than this.
You have to visualize and see yourself having already achieved your goal.
I did this constantly when trying to earn the 2008 USA Olympic Trials “B” standard time of 2:22:00 while still with the Army World Class Athlete Program.
I was a 2:43:36 marathoner when I arrived at that unit but I was a sub 2:22:00 marathoner in my mind and I wasn't afraid or intimidated to put in the work necessary to make that goal a reality.
It became reality on 5 December 2007 and instead of breaking 2:22:00 for the marathon distance, I broke 2:20:00 instead.
Its now 2015 and I encompass the same mindset now as I did.
You have to see yourself as already in possession of what it is you want to achieve – Nathan Pennington, founder of rundreamachieve.com
Running is far more mental than physical and there is a point when you have to take the leap of faith and trust the workouts you have done and take greater value in the power of the mind.
Cut out the unessentials.
Staying up too late
Not getting enough rest
Not hydrating well
Worrying about things outside of your control
These are just a few.
You have to focus on great nutrition.
A 16 week half marathon training schedule that is set up correctly will be sufficient enough to get you to your goals.
That being said, no run training plans anyone can create will do nothing for the athlete who isn't paying attention to the other aspects of racing such as the things mentioned above.
Workouts alone are not enough.
How many runners do you know who know about either of these two critical aspect of physiological health?
I bet none and neither did I until about a year and half ago.
Start doing the research your competitors are not.
3. Focus on all-out, short hill sprints
These forms of aerobic capacity workouts will stimulate more fast twitch muscle fibers.
You cannot train these muscle fibers by way of easy running and if you want more oxygen to be sent to your working muscles only these types of workouts will really put a dent in your capability to run faster at the half-marathon distance.
All the other forms of preparation such as easy recovery runs, tempo and track sessions as well as long runs all play a part but you have to train at paces that far exceed goal half marathon race pace which brings me to the 4th important fundamental.
In addition, you have to pay close attention to recovery.
If you have the discipline to put in the track and road sessions at high intensities but do not have equal patience to slow down and stop worrying about pace on easy, recovery days than you are setting yourself up for failure.
There has to be an equal balance.
4. Train at paces that far exceed your goal half marathon pace
I dropped nearly 21 minutes off my marathon time because I took the focus off of doing long runs easy and steadily increased the pace at which I conduced that particular workout.
Furthermore, it wasn't just the increased pace of the long run but doing mile repeats at nearly a minute faster than my goal marathon race pace.
For me, back in 2007, the dream was to break 2:22:00.
How was I going to go from a 6:14 per mile pace (2:43:36) which back then was my personal best for the distance to sub 2:22:00 (5:25 per mile pace).
This is a massive jump in running capability.
I did it from a combination of high intensity track workouts such as repeat miles at 4:40s effort at altitude, 18-22 mile long runs at 5:35-45 per mile and hill reps, all at paces close to exceeding my 5:25 per mile goal marathon race pace.
In 2015, the dream is now to break 2:18:00 which is 5:16 per mile pace.
It doesn't get any easier.
The closest I have come to my 2:19:35 personal best is the 2:26:42 I ran at the 2011 Monumental Indianapolis Marathon where I placed 5th.
W all have our own dreams and goals when it comes to racing, whether it be at the 5K, marathon or half marathon distances and the only way to make them reality is to get comfortable running at our goal pace.
5. Believe in yourself
Trust me, this isn't always easy but there are going to be times when you have no teammates to push you, no coach present at your workouts and you have to motivate yourself to get the job done.
I was a part of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in 2011 when I ran that 2:26:42 at the Monumental Indianapolis Marathon, no coach, no teammates.
I missed my goal that day of running 2:19:00 and qualifying for the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon trials but still count that effort as superior to the 2:19:35 I ran 4 years previously.
It isn't going to be easy and don't expect it to be.
It was on me to excel or not and no one within that military unit really cared if I trained or not.
The US Army's mission isn't to ensure Nate Pennington runs a faster half marathon, that is on me as it is on you.
You are on the edge and doing something most people will not do so to make a 16 week half marathon training schedule work it has to bring with it these fundamentals.
It has to be balanced meaning week one you don't just go into doing 10x1K on the roads at your goal half marathon pace.
You gradually build into higher levels of anaerobic work.
Running is much like entrepreneurship.
You cannot become financially free by listening to broke folks living paycheck to paycheck who deem your network marketing and business goals as get rich quick scams.
You have to think differently.
Who are you surrounding yourself with?
Who and what are you listening to?
The human mind is much like a farmer’s land. The land gives the farmer a choice. He may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care what is planted. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision. The mind, like the land, will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant – Earl Nightingale
The problem is people want the fast results and have forgotten the ending within the word, network.
This is NetWORK Marketing. It’s not NetSit Marketing. It’s not NetPlay Marketing. It’s not NetThinkAboutIt Marketing. It’s not NetOneDayI’llGetToIt Marketing. It’s NetWORK Marketing – Holton Buggs
They choose to think that way and so they become even farther removed from the opportunities that starting your own home based business could provide them.
Do the necessary work that others will not be willing to do and you will be well on your way to running faster times in 2015 and beyond.
It isn't going to happen any other way.
In closing, I have worked to set up the 16 week half marathon training schedule run training plans here at rundreamachieve in such a way that the athletes gets the results they seek but also gains confidence in seeing their dreams become reality.
They are set up to gradually introduce ever more challenging workouts for the athlete until race pace becomes comfortable, more manageable.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.