How to get speed, train for a HM, and retain triathlon fitness | 80/20 Endurance

How to get speed, train for a HM, and retain triathlon fitness

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    Age 45+ here. After years of stagnation in my running, I would really like to get faster and improve my HM-time. I think my running always suffered from also building cycling fitness and there were a few episodes of near-overtraining.

    As I am currently doing 70.3s, my running goal distance is the half marathon distance. My next 70.3 is end of April and after that, I might consider doing a standalone half marathon maybe in fall (October).

    I would like to spend the next few months therefore improving running speed, while still being able to have some “maintenance cycling (and occasionally swimming)” at the side of it.

    2 questions:
    1. Would you recommend doing a triathlon plan, but make running sessions harder/more specific vs. taking a running plan and adding the rides and the swims onto it?
    2. If the latter, would you do maybe a 5k or 10k plan first to build the speed, and then the HM plan to train the endurance on top?

    Thanks in advance for getting any helpful views!

    Matt Fitzgerald

    I recommend you select and modify a run plan. Working on speed isn’t necessarily the way to improve your half-marathon time. It depends on your individual limiters. Most of what you stand to gain from focusing on your running will come from simply running more. That being said, it won’t hurt you to train for a 5K or 10K first and then a half marathon.


    Hi Matt – thanks much for the quick answer!


    Hey Matt / David,

    Following up on that. I am now actually considering a full marathon plan… but actually irrelevant to my follow-up questions (I think).

    1) Given I want to retain some of my cycling fitness, would you recommend to go with a Level 1 plan, and add some cycling workouts, or take a Level 2 plan, and replace some of the easy/foundation runs with cycling sessions?

    2) I clearly would like to get faster and would like to finish significantly below 4 hours. I have 26 weeks time until the marathon. The marathon plan is 18 weeks. What is the best use for the 8 weeks before? Again, I would really want to get faster, on all distances, but with the end goal of finishing the marathon as fast as possible. What would you recommend?

    Thanks much

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Go with option 2. You have just enough time to complete a seven-week Get Faster plan followed by a one-week reset before you start the marathon build.

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