Registering For a Half-Marathon This Year? - Totum

Post by: / March 27, 2020

Registering For a Half-Marathon This Year?

Are you thinking of registering for a half-marathon this year? Wondering what the key elements to a solid half-marathon training program are? Here’s Totum team member & running specialists, Victoria Lavinska’s two cents…

Long Runs

  • Goal: endurance – the longer these runs, the more you will work on your endurance, helping you prepare for race day
  • Pace: these should be performed at a slower pace, i.e. this should be a long, but “easy” run
  • These runs will build up throughout your program
  • For a half-marathon (21.1km), you can work up to 18-19km in your long runs – the idea is to run for a similar amount of TIME as race day, so, given the slower pace, your 18-19km run time should approach your race time

Speed Work

  • Goal: increase your speed, improve your cardiovascular performance (get your heart stronger!)
  • Pace: 5-10km pace, i.e. fast, but not so fast that you’re gassed out and can’t continue
  • Start with an easy pace 1km
  • 2 ways to work on speed:
    • Speed intervals – either by distance or time (e.g. 5X400m or 5X2min), separated by either walking/light jogging intervals
    • Tempo runs – continuous run with a gradual build-up to a 10km pace in the middle (holding that for 1-2 min) and then gradually slowing back down


  • Goal: improve your hill running technique (as this is different than running on a flat surface), improve your cardiovascular performance (get your heart stronger!)
  • Pace: try to maintain pace while going uphill, increase pace while going downhill (you want to use the advantage of the decline to get some quick mileage in)
  • Start with an easy pace 1km (flat)
  • 2 ways to work on hills
    • Hill intervals: intervals of short (steep-ish) hills (running up and down), separated by running flats
    • Hill endurance: longer intervals of small-incline hills, separated by running flats


  • Goal: improve running efficiency (improve performance, decrease risk of injury)
  • Use a run/walk program to work on technique – this will give your body a chance to get used to the new technique with a decreased risk of injury
  • Examples:
    • Increased cadence (170-190 bpm), i.e. smaller steps
    • Decreased noise, i.e. being “light on your feet”
    • Running barefoot (on a treadmill)


  • Goal: get your body working different muscle groups to allow an “active” recovery from running, helping muscles be more adaptable
  • Ideally another cardiovascular activity (e.g. cycling, swimming, etc)
  • Yoga and Pilates are also good complements to running as these activities focus on core strengthening and stretching

Rest Days

  • Goal: allow your body to recover from your week’s workouts
  • You could also do an easy yoga class on rest days

Here’s an example of a balanced and gradual half-marathon program :


Week/Day Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Rest Speed X-train Hills X-train Technique Long
Week 1 Rest 5X400m X-train 1X100m X-train 30min 1R/1W 8km
Week 2 Rest 30 min tempo X-train 2X100m X-train 30min 2R/1W 10km
Week 3 Rest 6X400m X-train 3X100m X-train 30min 3R/1W 5km race
Week 4 Rest 35 min tempo X-train 4X100m X-train 30min 4R/1W 11km
Week 5 Rest 7X400m X-train 5X100m X-train 30min 5R/1W 13km
Week 6 Rest 40 min tempo X-train 6X100m X-train 30min 6R/1W 10km race
Week 7 Rest 8X400m X-train 7X100m X-train 30min 7R/1W 14km
Week 8 Rest 45 min tempo X-train 8X100m X-train 30min 8R/1W 16km
Week 9 Rest 9X400m X-train 9X100m X-train 30min 9R/1W 15km race
Week 10 Rest 50 min tempo X-train 10X100m X-train 30min 14R/1W 18km
Week 11 Rest 10X400m X-train 10X100m X-train 30min continuous 19km
Week 12 Rest 30 min tempo X-train 3X100m X-train 30min 1R/1W 21.1km race


Want a half-marathon program that is tailored to your specific needs/level of experience? Come see one of Totum’s running specialists to get a detailed running assessment and step-by-step plan to help you reach your running goals!