TIME to bust UP your Trail Half Marathon PB?

Sharing tips and training ideas for non-pro athletes from athlete & personal trainer, Ian Clarke.

A half marathon training plan for an intermediate - level trail runner who already have some experience of 8 - 10 mile trail runs and regular higher intensity training sessions.

Trail half marathon training plan

Here is a descriptive guide to the trail half marathon training plan;

How many runs each week?:

  • If you run 4 times per week, do only the runs in green and rest on the other days.
  • If you run 5 times per week, do only the runs in green & blue.
  • If you run 6 times per week, do the runs in green, blue & red.
  • If you run 5-6 times per week, but usually only do one harder run per week, do the runs in green and add in your remaining 1-2 easy runs as usual.


Pacing your training:

Judge your training paces by intensity/effort level, not by actual moving speed, which can be very subjective for off-road running.

  • Aim not to make any significant changes to your mileage or frequency of harder runs when following this plan. Hence your easy runs can be a distance that is typical for you, and should be at a truly easy pace.
  • Strides are quick 10-20s accelerations that you can include at the end of runs as specified, and also in your warm up for harder sessions. They can feel fast (10-20 min race pace) but are not flat-out sprints.
  • Hill sprints are very short, top-speed efforts on a gradual uphill with a firm surface (tarmac/hard-packed trail). The long recovery is an important part of these sessions. Never do hill sprints or other challenging sessions if you are experiencing any tightness or running-related pain.
  • Steady pace is slightly quicker than easy, as specified - usually either 3h or 4h race pace. This should feel like a moderate, fairly enjoyable, cruising intensity.

Other half marathon advice:

  • It's a good idea to bring a few (2-4) gels with you for a trail half marathon - practice taking these during your faster long runs so that you are prepared to do so on race day.
  • Aim for your long runs (and your easy runs) to be on terrain that replicates the event you're training for, when possible.
  • Runs can be shuffled around to different days of the week, but avoid doing two hard runs on back-to-back days.
  • Significantly exceeding the stated intensities is likely to be detrimental to your race preparation.


HM = half marathon

' = minute

s = second

 Our new marathon training hub will be packed full of more tips and advice.

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