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Help with Training Plan Needed: Half-Marathon Sub-1:40 (Read 55 times)

ChrisPanza


    I'm 53 years old (male), I've been running for 18 months total. Never ran before that.

    I just ran my second half-marathon (ran first in Nov 19, finishing 2:01) after three months of training, ending at 1:48:33. Now, to be honest I think my time should have been faster. I was badly corralled far back in Little Rock (Corral D! Yikes!), and I lost 2 minutes in the first mile to weaving through slower runners. In addition, at the end I failed to execute my plan to run 7:30 for the last 5K, due to a fear that I wouldn't be able to maintain it. Instead, I did 7:30 for the last 1.5 miles, and easily completed this. So, all in all, I'd say that training-wise, I'm probably closer to a 1:45 half-marathon time at the moment.

    My goals going forward are:

    1. Run Boston's May 24th "Run to Remember" Half-Marathon in 1:40.00 (10,000 people, a nice race!). I have 12 weeks of training to do this, including taper and race week. I've included my training plan below. Obviously going to Boston also requires there to not be widespread coronavirus, but I can't control that. Smile

    2. Run Springfield Missouri's (where I live) Bass Pro November Cohick Half in 1:31.59. This may well be an overly aggressive goal, particularly at my age (53). But that's the qualify time for the 2021 New York Marathon (my age group qualifier requires a sub 1:32), which I'd like to enter (would love my first marathon to be in the city I grew up in). I'd have 5 solid months to bring the 1:40 time down to 1:29.59. Not easy, but should be sufficient time. Which then brings me to goal 3...

    3. Train Nov 2020 - Nov 2021 for the NYC Marathon. No time goal at this point. Let's qualify first. Smile

    Those are big goals, but I run partly for existential reasons - meaning, who knows how much time I have left to realistically attain these kinds of goals. So, time's a-wastin. I may or may not succeed, but I plan to have fun trying. Smile

    For those training plan geeks out there, if you want to take a look at it and offer any advice, please feel free. I'm more than open to suggestions. At the moment, my worry is that it is too aggressive - perhaps too much training focused on speed. But I could be wrong.

    Onward!

    The plan is simple to follow, and is 12 weeks long. All days follow the same aim/logic (last two weeks are tapers). So:

    Monday: Race Pace, 7.6 miles. Week 1 begin at 8:15, each week drops 5 seconds until hitting 7:30, and then this is repeated for 4 weeks. Taper weeks are 8:00 a milee

    Tuesday: Tempo Pace. 6.2 miles. Start 8:30 for three weeks, then 8:30 for three weeks, then 8:15 for three weeks, then 8:00 for last weeks

    Wednesday: Intervals. Each time, 5 miles, 2 x 3200, and then 1 x 1600. First two weeks 7:30 and 7:09 for each, respectively. Then drop 10 second each for next two weeks, continue until last two weeks are 6;49 and 6:31

    Thursday: Recovery, 7 miles, every week is 9:00

    Friday: Rest

    Saturday: Long Run. 2 weeks at 13 miles, then 2 at 14, then 2 at a 15, two at a 16, two at a 17, last two weeks taper 8 miles. Each week begins 5 miles at 9:30, then other miles are faster. best two weeks are 8:20, second two weeks 8:10, etc, each two weeks dropping 10 seconds. Last two weeks would be 7:40. Taper weeks are 8:00 total miles.

    Saturday: Rest

    Sunday; 3 miles, 9:00 (training will youngest daughter)

    Thanks for any comments and suggestions in advance!


    Train SMART

      Chris, this is not a training plan for an 18 month runner who is 53. It also won't work for a 25 year old 5 year runner. It is WAY too intense and too aggressive and your long runs are too long for half training at your level.

       

      Generally 80-85% of your miles should be easy paced and 15-20% quality or harder paced. Your plan almost has this reversed. Your plan also has 4 hard workouts a week (including 3 days in a row). Can't work.  Most plans have 1-2 harder work outs per week. This plan will break you down. You clearly have talent. However, you are still developing so I would stick to only 1-2 harder days per week max. Your long run is considered a hard work out even at 9-10:00 min pace which is where you should be running it. One  faster run in mid week with varying paces is fine too based on your "current fitness level" not where you want to be or think you should be.

       

      I would recommend racing a 5K asap to determine your fitness level and base your training paces off of that. I am happy to send you my article, HOW TO TRAIN SMARTER and my GAIT Half Marathon Plan if you email me. tcharnetski@att.net  These articles explain or clarify my comments above.

      THE RECOVERY MAN. Run Injury Free. Free Recovery Report www.smartapproachtraining.com

      Longboat


      On the roads again...

        I agree with Tchuck. With that plan, you WON'T enjoy trying to meet those goals because you'll get injured.

        At most, two hard workouts per week. Lots of easy miles. As Tchuck says, run a 5k all-out to evaluate your present fitness, set your paces relative to that, and increase them when you show you've got faster.

        The good news: You probably have a shot at 1:40ish in May. Sub 1:32... well, hold off on that goal until you've run the May race. 1:40 to 1:32 is a much bigger step than 1:48 to 1:40.

        Neil

        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I'm here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. - Hunter S. Thompson

        Marky_Mark_17


          Totally agree with those above who have said this plan is too aggressive.  Take this from someone who has knocked 19 minutes off his half marathon time (from 1:29 to 1:10 over 4 years) just from steadily building up mileage and training.  That 1:40 is definitely doable for you in 12 weeks with the right training.

           

          Some tips:

          • Easy mileage is the single biggest thing that will help you.  Building that up steadily is the key.
          • At this stage, target your intervals and tempo's to effort (heart rate can be a useful guide) rather than pace.  
          • Don't worry about pace on your long run.  At all.
          • Don't try and drop pace weekly on your intervals or tempo's.  Let your body and perceived effort dictate how fast you go, not your watch.
          • I don't think you'll get much benefit out of running a long tempo like that every week and certainly not two.  It's good practice for locking in the goal pace, but offers less performance benefits than interval workouts
          • Two workouts a week, max.  Don't do workouts back to back, or on the day before/after your long run.  
          • I'd be thinking something like easy, intervals, easy, easy or a 2nd workout, rest, long run, recovery 3 miler

          Also, you are focusing on pace far too much.  All of your runs have some sort of pace goal.  80% of your mileage should be easy - where you don't even think about pace and just run to an easy effort where you could comfortably hold a conversation with a friend.

          5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) 

          HM: 1:09:41 (May-20)* | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)

          * Net downhill course

          Last race: Southern Lakes Half Marathon, 1 May, 1:09:41 (1st place)

          Up next: Meridian Hydro Half Marathon (trail), 7 Aug

          "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

          DavePNW


            I'm 53 years old (male), I've been running for 18 months total. Never ran before that.

            I just ran my second half-marathon (ran first in Nov 19, finishing 2:01) after three months of training, ending at 1:48:33. Now, to be honest I think my time should have been faster. I was badly corralled far back in Little Rock (Corral D! Yikes!), and I lost 2 minutes in the first mile to weaving through slower runners. In addition, at the end I failed to execute my plan to run 7:30 for the last 5K, due to a fear that I wouldn't be able to maintain it. Instead, I did 7:30 for the last 1.5 miles, and easily completed this. So, all in all, I'd say that training-wise, I'm probably closer to a 1:45 half-marathon time at the moment.

            My goals going forward are:

            1. Run Boston's May 24th "Run to Remember" Half-Marathon in 1:40.00 (10,000 people, a nice race!). I have 12 weeks of training to do this, including taper and race week. I've included my training plan below. Obviously going to Boston also requires there to not be widespread coronavirus, but I can't control that. Smile

            2. Run Springfield Missouri's (where I live) Bass Pro November Cohick Half in 1:31.59. This may well be an overly aggressive goal, particularly at my age (53). But that's the qualify time for the 2021 New York Marathon (my age group qualifier requires a sub 1:32), which I'd like to enter (would love my first marathon to be in the city I grew up in). I'd have 5 solid months to bring the 1:40 time down to 1:29.59. Not easy, but should be sufficient time. Which then brings me to goal 3...

            3. Train Nov 2020 - Nov 2021 for the NYC Marathon. No time goal at this point. Let's qualify first. Smile

            Those are big goals, but I run partly for existential reasons - meaning, who knows how much time I have left to realistically attain these kinds of goals. So, time's a-wastin. I may or may not succeed, but I plan to have fun trying. Smile
             



            Not sure where these goals are coming from. As a new runner, you make big gains quickly. Then the gains start to become much more difficult and in much smaller increments. I see some parallels - I also started later in life, first half marathon run at age 47 in 2:01, and my second one the following year at 1:48. In about 2 years, I got from 2:01 down to 1:40. However it took me the next 3 years to knock that down to 1:35. And 2.5 years after that, I’m still not down to 1:32. And I’ve been averaging 2500+ miles per year. Maybe you are much more talented than me, but just throwing my experience out there as an example. Once past the initial easy gains, further improvements come with years of accumulated training, not weeks. Why do you think time’s a-wastin? You’ve still got a bunch of good years ahead of you. Assuming you don’t try to do too much too soon and get yourself injured.

            My recommendation is to target NYCM when you hit 55 - the qualifying time then becomes 1:36. I’d consider this a reasonable goal.

            Dave

            rmcj001


              I'm going to echo Mark and Dave.  Your biggest gains are likely to come through increased mileage and don't worry too much about the pace.  The meme here is "run lots, mostly easy" and it really does work.  My first 1/2 was run at 53 and was a very disappointing 2:14+.  My training was pretty aimless at that time, so right after I started using the Higdon Advanced 10K training plan.  My 2nd 1/2 about 5 months later was 1:48+.  After that I started training for a marathon using Hansen plan loosely. It was 18 months before I dropped to under 1:40.

              And I believe 2 years to BQ at CIM.  Like you I wanted to run NYCM, but I was slightly older (58) and was no longer really seeing improvement, so I found a 1/2 with a bunch of downhill in it (Revel Mt Lemmon) and trained for the downhill.  Think my best 1/2 time that year was around 1:40 and I was worried that I might not be able to hit that 1:36.  I ended up running 1:33:20 and DW and I ran NYCM in 2018.


              Ray