The First Half Marathon is just weeks away. Hopefully you have been building your aerobic fitness over the holidays and are ready to add to it over the final weeks ahead. If not, there is time to get ready and the next few weeks will prove to be the most important for your race on February 10th.

There are several ways to rebuild your fitness, or, add to it in the weeks ahead:

  1. Increase Aerobic Fitness
    1. You can add to your aerobic fitness by adding in an extra day of running. The Forerunners training plan focuses on three key runs per week; Monday tempo runs, Wednesday speed workouts and Saturday easy aerobic runs. You can add a fourth easy pace run of 8km to 12km on Thursday to increase your aerobic fitness.
    2. Increase the distance of your warm-down. Running three days per week is a low risk way to train as there are more days to recover between workouts. There is an increased risk of injury when you add a fourth day of running. Another option is to increase the distance of your warm down on Monday Tempo workouts and Wednesday speed workouts. Instead of the recommended 2km warm-down you can run a 4km to 8km warm-down which would add 4km to 12km to your weekly total.
    3. Cross training is a safer way to improve aerobic fitness. Adding two weekly 45 minute cross training workouts at a low intensity in Zone 2 will improve fitness. Low intensity Zone 2 cross training is heart rate 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  1. Event Specific Distances – Run two or three longer runs of 18km or more. Half marathon training is not as demanding on the body as marathon training. You can run distances closer to the 21.1km distance or over to 25km without a significantly increased fatigue factor experienced from longer marathon distance training runs of 30km or more. 
  1. Increase Tempo and Speed Workout Volume – Add in extra reps to higher intensity workouts. Tempo workouts are designed to provide event specific training, and speed workouts are designed to increase VO2 max. Forerunners workouts are usually 30 minutes total of Monday tempo effort, and 20 minutes total of Wednesday speed workout 10km pace effort. You can add in more repeats to improve event specific pacing and  VO2 Max. For example if the speed workout is 10x2minutes (at 10km pace)[1 min recovery between each rep], you could add in 2 more reps and increase the speed component by 20 percent. The same for the tempo workouts. For example, 4 x 8 minutes becomes 5 x 8 minutes for a 25 percent increase in race pace effort. Adding in more tempo and speed will improve your race result.

Adding 10 to 20 percent more training to your weekly workout schedule will help you get back on track for race day and get you to the finish line a little faster. If weekly time constraints or risk of injury are factors, you don’t need to add in an extra day of running; you can add in a little more to each of your three key weekly workouts.