The Specific Phase
As the name implies, the specific phase means we’ll be training to the race-specific physiological demands of the half-marathon. While running alone will help you get fitter, to achieve your peak potential at the half-marathon, it’s important to tailor your workouts to match the exact demands of the race.
The intensity of the workouts in this phase increases each week while remaining focused on specific workouts aimed at developing your half-marathon fitness, while your overall mileage doesn’t increase significantly from the foundational phase. The focus is on challenging, race-specific workouts and long runs while the easy days are designed to facilitate recovery.
Cutdown runs: Cutdown runs teach you how to continually increase your effort as you become increasingly fatigued, much like the mid-point in a race when you start to feel the effect of the early miles. The crucial aspect of a cutdown run is that every mile is faster than the one before it, with your last mile being the fastest.
Alternating tempo run: The goal of an alternating tempo run is to teach your body to clear lactate more efficiently while still running at or near race pace. To do so, run at race pace for a mile, flooding the legs with lactic acid, and then drop back to half-marathon or marathon pace to “recover,” which helps you become more efficient at clearing lactate.
Fast finish long runs: Fast finish long runs simulate late-race fatigue and help train your body to push the pace when your legs are begging you to stop.
RELATED: Eating On Long Runs
Long run surges: Planned surges during a long run inject speed into what would otherwise be a “slow” running day. They also teach you to run fast while fatigued, which develops race-specific strength and skills. Finally, surges help increase the overall quality and pace of your long run.