Reading Half Marathon

The Reading half marathon is one of the UK's most popular road races, attracting an annual field of up to 16,500 runners.  Like most mass participation races it takes you through the streets of the town, but the Reading half Marathon has the added twist of finishing in the Madejski Stadium, allowing you a grandstand finish in front of a large, cheering crowd.

The Reading Half Marathon is held in March, meaning that many runners use it as a part of their preparation for the London Marathon a month or so later – long runs are an essential part of marathon training, so covering 13.1 miles in race conditions can be a great way to add some interest to your marathon training schedule.

Whichever half marathon you are aiming for, it is essential to give yourself plenty of time to train for it – most experts reckon that someone who is already running will need around three months of training to be ready for a half marathon.  If you are new to running, then it would be closer to six months by the time you your body used to running, then add the mileage necessary to race over 13.1 miles.

Training for a race like this involves gradually increasing the distance you run each week, while at the same time adding in speed work that will increase how fast you can run.  However, whatever other type of training you do, the one thing you can't avoid if you are training for a race over this kind of distance is a weekly long run.

Most half marathon training programs recommend building up to a long run of between 10 and 12 miles a couple of weeks before your race, then gradually reducing your mileage over the final two weeks so that you are fresh and ready to run on the day.

Speed training is also essential and can take several forms.  The most popular speed workouts are intervals, Fartlek, and hill running – each of these involve repeated intense intervals followed by a short recovery.  This system of training builds your speed and stamina by using what is called partial recovery – you stress the body, allow your heart rate to slow a bit, then repeat the interval.

Over time, interval training of this type will enable you to run faster, and more crucially, to cover the race distance in a quicker time.  Although you can run the race as slowly as you like, most people set themselves a target time – and, let's face it, however much you love running, it is still fun to finish a race sooner rather than later!

Choosing a fun race such as this gives you a target for your training, and allows you the pleasure of setting yourself a goal an achieving it, something we all seem to respond to.