Using rest as a means of training to absorb the effects of running on the road, on the track and in the gym
It is well known that the arrival of autumn signals the start of the period of great marathons: running 42 kilometers represents the goal of a long preparation of training programs studied in detail. To accompany the long distances, there are also the half marathons, 21 intense but less demanding kilometers than the real marathon.

To arrive in perfect shape for a half marathon it is essential to try to sleep as much as possible. Whilst sleeping, the glycogen stores are recomposed and protein synthesis is activated, which allows the recovery of the damage caused by small muscle traumas.  Fatigue is absorbed, adaptations are implemented and the conditions are created for improving performance.

The question, however, that haunts every runner the week before the race concerns what pace to keep: "What is the right pace to take?"

THE RACE PACE
It varies from 5 seconds to 10 seconds slower than the reference speed (VR). The lower the runner’s level, the wider the difference between the VR value and the race pace.

TO EVALUATE VR 10-15 DAYS BEFORE THE HALF MARATHON YOU CAN TRY ONE OF THESE TESTS
- Conconi test
- Lactate test
- 10km in the race or race pace
- 5km: 0.93
- 3km + 10%

Now let's take a look at the recommended training methods during the 7 days leading up to the half marathon divided according to the level of the participant: beginner, intermediate and advanced level:

7 DAYS BEFORE
Beginners: 12-14km slow run + stretch
Intermediate level: 8-10km at race pace + stretch
Advanced level: 2 x 6km or 2 x 7km rec. 3 min. the first trial at half pace the second at tempo run pace

6 DAYS BEFORE
Beginners: cross training or a rest day
Intermediate level: 6-8 km slow run + stretch
Advanced level: 8-10km slow run + stretch

5 DAYS BEFORE
Beginners: 6km slow run + stretch
Intermediate level: if they ran the previous day, then have a rest day. If they had a rest day, then 4-5 km of repeats at a distance of 2-3 km at race pace, recovery 2-3 minutes
Advanced level: 6-8km slow run + stretch

4 DAYS BEFORE
Beginners: 3km slow run + 3km run at moderate pace or have a rest day if they ran the previous day
Intermediate level: rest if they did repeats the previous day, repeats if they rested the previous day
Advanced level: 5-6km of repeats of variable distance between 1000 and 3000m

3 DAYS BEFORE
Beginners: 3km slow run + 3km run at moderate pace or have a rest day if they ran the previous day
Intermediate level: rest if they did repeats the previous day, repeats if they rested the previous day
Advanced level: 5-6km of repeats

2 DAYS BEFORE
Beginner: rest if they ran the previous day or 30 minutes cross training, 4km slow run if they rested the previous day
Intermediate level: 6km slow run + stretch if they rested the previous day or rest or 40 minutes cross training
Advanced level: 6km slow run or rest

1 DAY BEFORE
Beginners: rest
Intermediate level: rest or 3-4km slow run if they rested the previous day
Advanced level: 6-8km slow run + stretch if they rested the previous day or rest if they ran the previous day
Like any programme or generic training plan, this chart is a general indication and may not be suitable for everyone.
This program must be supplemented by general and specific strength training.

Now all that’s left is to wish you ‘happy running!’


Fulvio Massini - Running consultant for training