There are a few weeks until race day. December was a challenge for training with snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks. The weather has recently improved and running conditions improved leaving you enough time to prepare for a good race at the First Half. How you train over the next few weeks depends on what you missed over the holiday season and how you trained over the past six weeks.
You have trained at a high level of intensity and shorter 5km to 10km runs both on a treadmill; but no longer runs.
You have trained a high volume of running at an easy pace on ice and snow, and indoor cross training; but no speed or tempo runs.
You are building your fitness in a hurry, training diminished over the holidays and have not run high mileage or higher intensity.
In the past I wrote about a tapering strategy depending on your training volume (weekly mileage) leading up to the race (https://forerunners.ca/tapering-for-the-first-half/). This article is about the kind of workouts to complete. Here are a few training options to consider as race day draws near:
Improve Aerobic Base
It was snowing and you missed long runs and may have lost fitness. There is enough time in the schedule leading up to the race to run two longer distance workouts of 15km or more. Our run clinic will complete 19km three weeks before the half marathon as our longest workout; then taper with 15km workouts leading up to race week.
Improve Race Pace
You were able to complete long runs in the ice and snow but at a slower pace and have lost race pace fitness. Add race pace tempo workouts to your training. If you only run long easy runs and shorter speed workouts you will not have practiced race pace which is entirely different. Two more tempo workouts leading up to the race will help. Run a 15 minute warm-up then run 4 x 10 minutes at half marathon pace with a 5 minute jog recovery. This workout will provide you with experience at running your race pace. Another suggested tempo workout is to run 5km to 7km easy pace plus the final 5km to 7km at half marathon race pace. This workout will help you maintain a more even pace during the race.
Improve VO2 Max
High intensity intervals can boost your VO2 Max and shave time off of your race.
Sample workouts include:
10 x 2 minutes at 5km to 10km pace with 1 minute walk/jog recovery
6 x 3 minutes at 5km to 10km pace with 2 minute walk/jog recovery
4 x 5 minutes at 10km pace with 3 minute walk/jog recovery plus 2 x 2 minutes at 5km pace with 2 minute walk/jog recovery plus 2 x 1 minute at 3 km pace with 1 minute walk/jog recovery
There is sufficient time to run two VO2 Max workouts within 3 weeks before the race.
Depending on how you have been training will determine the mix of workouts to add. With the ice and snow melted you should be able to run three key workouts per week. One tempo workout, one speed workout and one long run. There is plenty of time to improve your fitness including aerobic base; race pace and VO2 max. The final week you can taper back on the long run and run a shorter tempo workout and easier speed workout. All the best with your workouts and on race day!