Half Marathon Training

Steve’s Half Marathon Training: Week 7- 3 WEEKS TO RACE DAY

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re having a good training week so far. The temperatures have dropped here in Korea, fall is well and truly in the air. I don’t know about you but to me, fall means races and fast running. Running during the summer can place high demands on the body, with the humidity and heat it brings. This year in Korea it was particularly brutal- the humidity was 90% on a given day, which meant tough runs and a lot of treadmill running. I am starting to get excited about my two upcoming half marathons. This week was the start of the peak phase of training for me. With the peak mileage now behind me, the focus this week was on dropping the mileage to start the taper process. In today’s blog I want to talk a bit about the peak phase of half marathon training and talk about what each phase of training looks like.

The week was as follows:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: workout 4×4 mins hard effort at VO2 max (3.20-3.30/km average) with 3 minutes recovery jog/ 9.5km

Wednesday: 9km recovery run

Thursday: 5×5 minute repeats (3.36-3.44min/km average) with 1 min recovery jog.

Friday: 9km recovery run

Saturday: Rest day, DMZ tour

Sunday: Long run 19km around Namsan park in Seoul.

Total kms: 60

Total elevation: 1157m



The peak phase of half marathon training:

Aim: to run your best possible race, on race day.

Duration: 4 weeks

Training focus: Long runs decrease, overall mileage decreases, intensity remains but with less duration. Race pace is a priority,  tempo runs will bring the most beneficial response.The taper for the half marathon starts normally around 2 weeks before race day. You should track your fatigue levels and make sure you’re not feeling tooo fatigued. The body can go into vacation mode and the immune system can weaken in the lead up to a race. A 10-20% reduction in volume 2 weeks to go should be sufficient. If you feel like you are overly tired, take 30-40% off your weekly mileage. Your hard work is done at this stage, it’s all about getting to the start line fresh, but primed and ready to perform.

Lets look at the training phases and how they interact with each other.

The phases simplified:

The way to look at half marathon training is, each phase adds an extra training stimulus, while maintaining the previous stimulus. Here is what a half marathon progression looks like.

Phase 1: Base training

Main focus- Easy runs and long runs.

Secondary focus- Strength training- correctional exercises in the gym.

Maintenance focus- flexibility training


Phase 2: Start of initial quality training.

Main focus- Fast reps, hills and track 400’s are an example, working on speed.

Secondary focus- Threshold training, tempo runs, progression runs.

Maintenance- Long steady runs.


Phase 3: Quality phase (the hardest phase of them all)

Main focus- Interval training, VO2 max work (see previous post for more details)

Secondary focus- Repition runs.

Maintenance focus- Threshold training.


My mileage was slightly lower than last week to start the peak phase of training. I had a forced rest day with a trip to the DMZ between North and South Korea, it was an exhausting day, I felt like I needed a rest anyway! We spent the weekend in Seoul and the long run was done around Namsan park. It has an amazing running path all the way from the city to Namsan tower, well worth a run if you’re in the area.

The workout on Tuesday was a hard VO2 max workout and was my last one before race day. The pace averages were between 3.20-3.30/km,  a touch faster than what some formulas say but I felt the effort was right. On Thursday I did a cruise tempo workout. This involved 5×5 minutes with 1 minute recovery. The weather on Thursday took a turn for the cooler, so the workout felt great and the paces were consistent and slightly faster than expected.


Top tip: Stick to your workout/run: recovery ratio. It allows for the greatest benefit from the workout. As a general rule of thumb you should always have good form in workouts, if you don’t you will need to adjust the pace to match the correct effort.



Thank you for reading and I hope you got something from this post. If you like what you see, check out my previous week posts and follow the blog for plenty of quality and useful content.

Until next time,

Happy running,

Steve 🙂

The Health Heads





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