Half Marathon Training

Steve’s Half Marathon Training: Week 6- The Peak Week.

Hello and welcome to week 5 of my half marathon training posts.

This week was my peak week of training volume. We were on holidays for the week in Jeju Island (Korea). The week went well overall training wise. There were some unexpected changes to the training schedule, but nothing serious enough to derail the week!

Heres how my week looked:

Monday: 7.2km (ran with Catherine)

Tuesday: 9.2km easy/4.58/km avg pace

Wednesday: workout 6x1km hard w/ 3 min recovery 3.16-3.22 mins/km

Thursday: Recovery run 8.8km

Friday: workout 3x1mile with 1 minute rest + 6x200m fast with 200m recovery

Saturday: 5.16km recovery run + Mount Hallasan hike (20km,eleveation 1950m, 5.5 hours)

Sunday: Long run 16.7km/83 mins/ 2x 1 km at half pace near the end.

Total distance: 74.4km

blog week strava pic
Check out that elevation gain!!


I want to give you more details about two workouts from this week:

Tuesday’s workout: 6x1km hard w/ 3min jog recovery (V02 Max)

This workout is a VO2 max style workout. The aim is to spend as much time at 95-100% of VO2 max pace as possible. For me it’s the toughest workout type. At V02 max pace the body is producing more lactate acid than it can handle. The pace is anywhere between your 1 mile and 3km pace, depending on your fitness level. The body takes roughly 2 minutes of fast running to reach VO2 max, so the fast running intervals should be between 2-5 minutes in duration. The recovery time should be less than or equal to the hard effort. An example of a workout would be 4×3 mins hard with 2.5 mins recovery. VO2 max is the amount of oxygen the body uses for exercise in a minute. The highest V02 max scores in the world are from cyclists, runners and cross country skiers. It’s the golden standard of endurance performance. The average scores for the population are between 30-40 ml/kg/min. When I did the V02 max test a few years ago, I scored 72 ml/kg/min and the highest scores ever recorded are in the 90+ range. Genetics might play a role in how potentially high your V02 max can be, but the right training can increase the V02 max value significantly.

If you haven’t done V02 max workouts before, it’s best to start off simple. The best time to start would be after you’re finished your base phase of training, that way your body will be better able to handle the stress.

An example of a V02 max progression would be:

2 minutes hard, 1 minute jog repeated 3+ times depending on how you feel.

3 mins fast, 3 mins recovery 3+ sets

4 mins fast, 3 recovery 2+ sets

Top tip: The aim for a V02 max workout is to maintain the fast pace, without your form suffering. It’s the fastest pace you can run while maintaining proper mechanics.


The second workout is Saturday’s Hike up Mount Hallasan.

View from the top!

I had planned to run my longest long run on Sunday of 26km, but this had to be adjusted after Saturdays hike! We had read in the Lonely Planet guide that the hike should take 4.5 hours. Little did we know that was each way! When we arrived at 11am the Ranger said we didn’t have a chance of making the checkpoint at 6km by the time it closed in 90 minutes. We took on the challenge however and cranked up the pace! We arrived with 10 minutes to spare! It took it’s toll on the legs though, all that elevation gain and intensity meant I had to adjust the Sunday long run. The first few miles of the long run were an indicator that I needed to cut it short. The hike was 5 hours in total so it was for the best. I always practice and try to preach smart training, even when sometimes it can be very hard to control you impulses to go further or faster. I knew that the first half marathon race was coming up, so I didn’t see the need to risk injury or burnout. A missed workout is far from a disaster, as long as you don’t double up for the next one. Similarly, if you have a very active day like a hike, or something like that, adjust the next day so that your body can recover quicker.

I also managed to get a surf session in, another great way to get a full body workout while having fun. What more could you ask for?!



Thanks for reading, if you have any questions on V02 max training or workout scheduling, I’d be delighted to help you out!

Until next time…

Happy running,


The Health Heads.

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