Ben St Lawrence is the NSW 5k Record Holder

Ben St Lawrence Training Tips

RunNSW welcomes Ben St Lawrence and RunCrew with their training support for the Greater Sydney Half. Ben is a 62 min 1/2 Marathon runner and the Australian Record Holder and Olympian for 10k. Ben and Gary Howard from Run Crew have put their heads together and have come up with some ‘special tips’ for runners looking to sharpen up for a half marathon.  Ben’s Choice Training Tips can be viewed below.

Four weeks until race day

With four weeks until race day, here are four tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training in the final month*.
*We are assuming that you are at a level of fitness good enough to be planning a 1/2 Marathon in one month, but may still be relatively inexperienced and will benefit from some general advice on how to prepare.

1: Build then taper

Progressively increase your long run until two weeks out, then back it off to ensure you aren’t over-trained on race day. It is important that you don’t increase by too much from one week to the next, to minimise the risk of injury.

For example, here’s a progression for a runner who is only up to running 15km this weekend, but wants to get through the full half marathon on 23 August:

Sunday 26th July: 15km
Sunday 2nd August: 17k
Sunday 9th August: 19.5km
Sunday 16th August: 15km
Sunday 23rd August: Race Day, 21.1km.

2: Add a fartlek

Add some ‘sessions’ to spice up your training and improve your fitness. Long, slow running is nice, and it’s an important part of building up to a half marathon. But you can get a greater benefit in a shorter amount of time by including a session in your weekly training plan. Sessions involve a warm-up, a workout and then a cool down.

Fartlek sessions are a staple for runners from all around the world, from 800m to the marathon, so why not try one for yourself?
Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning ‘speed play’. Basically, it is a session involving periods of faster running interspersed with periods of jogging to recover.

Here is a basic Fartlek session, with the 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes at goal half marathon pace or faster, with 1 minute of slow jogging in between. This can be done on an oval, in a park or on a trail/path.

  • Start with a 1015 min warm-up jog.
  • Complete some dynamic stretches and basic drills, then 4 x 50m100m strides at 7085% of your fastest speed.
  • Fartlek session:
    • 1 min at 5km pace (1 min jog)
    • 2 min at 10km pace (1 min jog)
    • 3 min at 1/2 marathon pace (1 min jog)
    • 4 min at 1/2 marathon pace (1 min jog)
    • 3 min at 1/2 marathon pace (1 min jog)
    • 2 min at 10km pace (1 min jog)
    • 1 min at 5km pace.
  • Finish with a 1015 min cool down jog.

Try to include one session each week for the next three weeks.

3: Nothing new on race day

There is a golden rule with running: don’t try anything new on race day.
With this rule in mind, it is important to use the final few weeks of training to practice a couple of things so that there are no surprises on the big day.

  • Practice the pace you want to run on race day. A common mistake for beginners (and even experienced campaigners) is to run too fast in the early stages of the race, only to suffer later on. Aim to get a feel for your approximate goal pace, so you minimise the risk of ‘blowing up’. You can do this during interval sessions, fartlek sessions or short tempo runs.
  • Practice your pre-race breakfast. Aim for something light, easy to digest and high in carbohydrates.
  • Choose your race-day running gear (shoes and clothes) and wear them for a few runs.
  • If you plan to take on gels during the race, try this during at least two of your long runs to make sure you are happy with their taste and consistency. Practise drinking sports drink or water as well.
  • Plan how you will get to the race, where you will warm up, what time you will get to the start line, etc.

4: Get on a roll(er)

Invest in a foam roller, these are great for self-treatment and maintenance as you increase your training over the next few weeks. For some basic foam roller exercises, check out: http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/11044636/foam-roller-exercises-lower-body-physioadvisor.htm

If you have any questions about this information or would like a more tailored program for your next goal race, email [email protected] or use the ‘contact us’ section on the Run Crew website: www.runcrew.com.au

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