Can you really train yourself to run a half marathon in six weeks? It might seem like a bit of a rush, but it is possible. In this post, we will look at how can consider taking on this kind of training schedule, who should not, and what schedule to follow.
Who Could Consider this Training Schedule?
If you are in good physical condition, i.e., not recovering from an injury, you might be able to pull off compressing the training into a six-week schedule. Good physical fitness and being in shape is not enough, though. You need to be a seasoned runner. If you aren’t, you might not recognize the signs that you are overdoing it and so might be more prone to injuries due to overexertion. You should have already completed some half-marathons and be able to run six or more miles with relative comfort.
Who Should Not Consider this Training Schedule?
You should not consider this training schedule if you are a beginner, or have been out of practice for a while. It is a pretty grueling plan and so not suitable for beginners. If you are recovering from an injury, this is also not a good plan for you to follow.
Is it a Good Idea to Compress Training?
Ordinarily, we would say that you should always give yourself more training time rather than less. But let’s be frank here, you also need the motivation to keep up training in general. And, if you are a runner, there is nothing quite like an upcoming marathon to motivate you to put your running shoes on.And once you have done a few half-marathons, you need a new challenge to spur you on to train harder and make improvements. It can be all too easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your training schedule.
If you are short on time and are physically fit enough to take on this more intense training schedule, it can be challenging enough to prevent boredom and help you start making gains fast. It was specifically designed to help you improve your time during a half marathon run.
It uses a combination of interval and circuit training and hill repeats to help you get a more completely rounded training program.
The Basic Program
You will have to rest one day out of seven. The program is as follows:
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6|
|Day 1||4 x 400m 5k pace 2 min rest intervals||6 x 400m 5k pace 2 min rest intervals||3 x 800m 5k pace 3 min rest intervals||3 x 800m 5k pace 3 min rest intervals||3 x 800m 5k pace 3 min rest intervals||Tempo Run 20 min at 10k pace|
|Day 2||Strength Training||Strength Training||Strength Training||Strength Training||Strength Training||Strength Training|
|Day 3||Tempo Run 20min at 10k Pace||Hill Repeats|
6 x 90 sec
|Tempo Run 25min at 10k Pace||Hill Repeats|
10 x 90 sec
|Tempo Run 30min at 10k Pace||3 miles CP|
|Day 4||3 miles CP||3 miles CP||3 miles CP||3 miles CP||3 miles CP||20 min CP|
|Day 5||Rest or Cross-Fit 30 min||Rest or Cross-Fit 30 min||Rest or Cross-Fit 30 min||Rest or Cross-Fit 30 min||Rest or Cross-Fit 30 min||Off|
|Day 6||7 miles CP||8 miles CP||9 miles CP||10 miles CP||11 miles CP||Race Day|
Breakdown of the Training Schedule
• Running at 5K Pace: Start by warming up with an easy run of ten to fifteen minutes. You will then run at full pace – 80% – 90% effort for the prescribed number of meters. Each high-effort session should be followed by the prescribed rest interval. Repeat for the required number of reps.
• Hill Repeats: Start by warming up with an easy run of ten to fifteen minutes. Set the treadmill to a minimum of 6%, or run up a steep incline and run at 80% – 90% effort for 90 seconds. Either walk or jog back down. Repeat the prescribed number of times. When done, run for ten minutes at an easy pace to cool down again.
• Tempo Run: Start by warming up with an easy run of ten to fifteen minutes. Run for as long as prescribed at the 10k pace. When you have done, run for ten minutes at an easy pace to cool down again.
• CP: Run at a pace that would allow you to continue a conversation with someone.
• Cross Train: Any aerobic exercise aside from running. So, you can cycle, swim, use the stair climber, or row.
• Strength Training: You need to do the two circuits as laid out below to build your overall body strength.
Strength Training First Circuit
This needs to be repeated a full three times before you start the second circuit.
• Squats: 12 – 15 reps. Use weights if you are at an advanced level.
• Pushups: 15 – 20 reps.
• Standing Rows: 15 – 20 reps.
• Plank: 30 seconds
Strength Training Second Circuit
• Walking Lunges: 20 reps. If you are advanced, you can use weights.
• Pull-Ups: 12 – 15 reps. If advanced, you can use weights.
• Medicine Ball Rev Wood Chops: 12-15 reps each way.
• Side Plank: 30 seconds on either side.
• Single Leg Reach: 15 reps.
And that is that, your complete six-week training program. Do be careful to listen to your body. Don’t push it too hard or you may end up injuring yourself. That will stop your progress dead in its tracks. The cross fit sessions are completely optional, so if you feel that you need to rest instead, that is fine.
With the strength training exercises, do pay particular attention to your form when performing each rep. You want to use controlled, fluid movements to get the best toning and strength building effects.
Once you have worked out the basic kinks, and gotten yourself into this routine, you will start to enjoy it. It is tough, but then it has to be – training for a half-marathon means training hard.
Image source: Pixabay
Jamie is a running addict and gym junkie. He trains 7 days per week and is currently doing an MA in nutrition and sports science