A few weeks into your training and hopefully you are starting to see some progress! If all is going to plan, you can probably run further than you could a month ago and feel a lot better doing it too! With that training base well under way, the next four weeks of training are where you can start to add in some speed, whilst still continuing to increase the distance you run.
So far, most of your running has been at an ‘easy pace’, where you can talk quite normally as your run, and a ‘steady pace’, where you can still talk but in short sentences. In order to fine tune your fitness, it’s now time to bring in some ‘tempo pace’ running; that is, running at a pace where you can speak just one or two words. Yes, you’re right, it is an uncomfortable pace to run at but the good news is that you don’t have to run very far at that pace to get the benefit and you can take breaks whilst doing so! It’s faster than you’ll be running the half marathon at, but, by challenging your body to run bursts at this speed, both your energy and muscular systems will improve, so don’t be tempted to miss it out.
You can do your tempo pace running in a variety of ways and you can see these in the next 4-week training block below. Each speed session alternates some easy and/or steady running with the tempo running, so your body is gradually overloaded and has some time to recover between hard efforts. That’s how you’ll get fitter and faster!
Your next 4 weeks of training might look like this…
If you are a parkrun fan, running hard to get a parkrun PB would be a great way of getting your tempo run in at the weekend – just make sure you really are running hard enough! If you can chat to your friends as you run around, you’re not running fast enough! You won’t need to (and shouldn’t) do a tempo run as well as parkrun – for most people, one good quality speed session a week is enough. And if you do decide to do parkrun as your tempo run for the week, bear in mind that it’s not a great idea to go and do your long run the next day. Speed sessions are hard, and long runs are too, albeit in a different way, and two hard sessions on two consecutive days may be a challenge for your body to cope with. If you can, splitting the runs up across the week will reduce your chance of injury.
Keep up the good work!