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you have plenty of time to research and plan your training.
In general, an increase in the lenght (in time) of the weekday runs to around the hour and the long run at the weekend towards 1:45 will be a big help. There are plenty of trainign plans available online and in the running magazines that will help. As a rough rule, I would work to the following goals:
Weekly Routine:3 days of rest, 3-4 days of running
Weekly Mileage:13-23 miles
Long Runs:start at 5 miles, peak at 10 miles
Speedwork:strides, half marathon goal-pace runs (HMP)
Tempo runs are an important part of training and should be included when you are rested. Increase the lenght (in distance) of your runs by 10% per week until you reach peak and ensure you have a proper taper.
There are lots of races happening through the New Year. In particular in March is the Rock & Road half marathon in Kinvara. This is one I enjoyed last year as a participant and will do again in 2012. Enjoy the winter 5 & 10k races and use these as part of your training plan as tempo runs or interval sessions.
First thing I would say is to try and find a running club in your area. There's a list on the Athletics Ireland website. They will be able to help you train for different races/distances and you will most likely find others doing the same training for the same event.
Don't run more than 3-4 times a week and only do one of those runs "fast". The rest should be done at a conversational pace to build your endurance, fitness etc. The fast run (speed work) could be interval training, a tempo run or a fartlek session. A quick look on the likes on Runners World can give you more info on any of these.
Build up your distance slowly, by about 10% per week. Back off if you need to. You don't need to run 21k in training to be able to run it on race day. Before my first half marathon I had only even run 8.5k, and that was a week before the race. I still managed to get around in 2:08. Do try to run at least 15-17k before the race though!
@EoinOB, glad to see we have the same hymn sheet :)
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@AmphKingWest Nice to finally have someone who agrees with me :-)
@anonymous, I'm based in Meath too, so I'll probably see you there!
6th April 2014
Connemarathon - Half, Full and Ultra Marathons
27th April 2014
1st January 2014
9th August 2014