Reading Half – A New Challenge

Reading Half – A New Challenge
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Oddly enough, having run one marathon and trained for a further two (that unfortunately I never got to race), I’ve actually only ever run one half marathon. Ok, I’ve covered the distance a fair number of times, but as we all know a training run vs race atmosphere is a completely different thing.

After deciding that perhaps the marathon distance isn’t quite for me, I’ve turned my attention to 10ks and half marathons, for the time-being anyway. So when the lovely people at Promote PR (I made their “fabulous fitness bloggers” shortlist!) offered me a media place for the Reading Half marathon (you can still enter here) I snapped the chance right out of their kind hands.

So what’s the problem?

The trouble is, with having never trained specifically for a half marathon, I have no idea what time I’m actually capable of. I was running at my fastest when I was marathon training, and have set myself a PB for the half distance that I’m already pretty pleased with, but the competitive side of me is very interested in beating it. But based on a race with miles and miles of tarmac already underneath my feet, am I likely to be able to achieve the same?

It seems I’ve certainly chosen the right race to test it… the guys at the Vitality Reading Half have updated their route to make it faster and flatter than ever. That and the stadium finish will obviously inspire a sprint finish like no other. But motivation is clearly lacking. At this rate I’ll have to forget the time goals and just aim to get round and enjoy it.

Onto my “training plan”

Not wanting to be too caught up in a rigid plan, I thought I’d loosely set myself some goal runs to complete each week. A balance of three runs a week, combined with my favourite fitness past time of CrossFit, should hopefully be enough to get me to the start line bright-eyed and busy tailed. So I’ve decided to divvy it up as follows:

1 x #runcommute per week – either a #runcommute, or post-work run with friends.

1 x speedwork session per week – preferably with my local Running Club as I hate speedwork by myself!

1 x long run per week – the weekend is my friend here, and actual real-people friends are very welcome to join me!

Obviously there’ll be less volume than training for a marathon, and the speedwork won’t be quite as short and sharp as for a 10k training plan, but that’s as far as I’ve thought about it so far. But what is suddenly dawning on me from thinking about all of this is that really I’ve done it all the wrong way around. Surely you’re “supposed” to do 5ks, then 10ks, halfs and then marathons? There should be a certain order to all of this?

Has anyone else progressed to a longer distance and skipped a few rungs on the way up the ladder? Have I done it all wrong?! Or do you have any tips on training for a half marathon as opposed to a 10k or marathon?

Georgina Spenceley
Georgina Spenceley


  1. 6th January 2015 / 8:26 pm

    I ran my first half before I ever ran a 10K. The nice thing about that was that I never felt like I was “training” for the 10K! Good luck to you!

    • Georgina
      7th January 2015 / 9:29 am

      That’s how I felt doing my first half marathon while marathon training! Thank you 🙂 Oh and I also signed up for Run This Year after reading your blog post – thanks for the tip!

  2. 6th January 2015 / 8:44 pm

    I ran 10km only once ever before my first 10km race. Then having run 10km twice in my life I ran a half marathon. Then I decided I should go back a step and focus on 10km so that was the last year. Now for 2015 I’m all about the half marathon!

    You’ll smash this half though! I know it!

    • Georgina
      7th January 2015 / 9:30 am

      Wow Elle, you stepped it up quickly! Very impressed 🙂 it’s nice that we’re both training at the same time, be good to read up on eachother’s progress! Thanks for the confidence in me… I just know I won’t PB though – I haven’t done enough consistent running in the last year.

  3. 6th January 2015 / 9:28 pm

    I went from from 5ks to a half marathon. I find the advice for how much running experience you need to have before doing X distance to be overly conservative (except for marathon). Maybe they’re assuming you’re a complete couch potato. I was reasonably active before i started running. It took me only a few months of running for me to be in half shape. And i’m not a particularly sporty person either.

    • Georgina
      7th January 2015 / 9:32 am

      Yes I think so too – a lot of the plans say you “should be already running 20-25 miles per week”… really?! I think being active and doing other sports/fitness transfers over to running quite well. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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