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Race Pace Interval Training

Woman Running with Hat and Sunglasses

Interval training simulates running race pace. This tempo running hardens your sole (foot) and legs to the ground-pounding reality of race day. By training at a fast race pace, your body can recognize the feeling and be better prepared on race day.

My first half marathon mistake was I didn’t push race pace for a long enough duration. As a result, my legs were not prepared for the pounding I gave them. Thus, I suffered a severe leg muscle strain.

Polar Half Marathon Training Program

The Polar Flow App provided me with a customized half marathon training program. However, interval training was only one day per week and consisted of the following:

  • 16-minute warmup in heart rate zones 1 – 3
  • At the most, interval sessions were 3 x 6-minutes at heart rate zones 4 and 5
  • 2-minute rest periods between intervals at heart rate zone 3

These cruise intervals did not prepare me for a sub-two-hour half marathon. However, upon finishing my first half marathon my legs needed a full 7 days to rest and recover. Even after a week of no running, my left calf muscle still had a little soreness.

Half Marathon Race Pace Interval Training

The following half marathon race pace interval training can harden your legs and feet so you will know what to expect on race day.

Ten Mile (90 minutes) Interval Run:

  • First two miles easy (moderate heart rate zone 3) for me running at 10:00 pace
  • Miles 3 and 4 hard at race pace (heart rate zones 4 and 5) for me running 8:23 pace
  • Middle mile 5 easy
  • Miles 6 and 7 hard
  • Last easy mile 8
  • Final miles 9 and 10 hard

This workout gives you 50 minutes of hard running over 90-minutes. It can prepare you to run a sub-two-hour half marathon without injury better than the Polar (16 minutes of hard running) program. Furthermore, learn how interval runs improve your lactate threshold.

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