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I am a slow runner averaging about 7 min/km. I run 2-3 times every week with a weekly mileage of 20-24 kms. I plan to sign up for a few HMs this summer and I am targeting a sub 2:30 hours finish time.

I know there are a lot of training plans available on the web, but is there some program which can significantly help in increasing pace? Do any of you have personal experience by following a plan?

I am a fan of the Gallloway style of running and I do run/walk in intervals.

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You could try to mix in some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to better increase your V02 Max. That way you'll be able to step up your pace a bit without wearing yourself out in the long run. –  Evan Plaice Mar 29 '11 at 16:27
    
How did it turn out? Were any of the suggestions here useful? –  Eyal Feb 20 '13 at 13:47
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2 Answers

Seems you are just a smidge under the recommended low-limit weekly mileage (25 km - 40 km) for the Beginner Half-Marathon training program from Cool Running. But that program is for people who would like to finish around 2 hours which meet your requirements for a sub 2:30 hour finish.

Cool Running also has some speedwork drills to help you increase your pace.

Good luck!

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Do 3 main exercises each week in order to increase pace:

  1. Do repetitions of about 3 * 400m at 90% of capacity with 2 minutes off once a week. This should feel hard, and it's ok if you cannot do 3 to begin with. None of your other runs should come close to the difficulty of this. Do this twice a week.
  2. Do one "long run" a week, where you try to run, without stopping, for a given length of time. This run should be at no more than 70% of your max HR. The idea of this run is to build endurance, and to concentrate on style; often in faster runs under pressure, style deterioates into old habits. Run for however long you can run for now without stopping, and without feeling completely exhausted by the end and gradually increase the time each week, up to about 1:20 minutes.
  3. Do a timed "fast" medium distance run. This is a run where you do 4kms at a pace that is just above combfortable talking. Begin this by a 20 minute slow warm up jog. Do this once a week.

Remember also, take it easy! If you show your body samples of what you want it to be doing, growth hormone will naturally do it's work at night time. Beginners can sometimes be over-enthusiastic and if there is any "twitchiness" or soreness while running, stop that day's exercise and rest.

Each exercise should be done to the extent that you feel that you have had a workout, but with enough left in reserve so you feel like doing it tomorrow or the day after. If you do any more you might burn out. Regularity before intensity!

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This is similar to the plan I always use. I used to skip out on the track runs sometimes, but being diligent about them shaved 10 minutes off my race time. My overall strategy is to build for 2-3 weeks, then take it a little easier for one week to let the benefits set in. For the track runs, I'd cycle through 400m's one week, 800m's the next, then 1600m's (precede these with a 20 min warm-up). My fast runs started at 3 miles and I worked up to 8 miles. My training peaks 2 weeks before the race (4 * 1600m, 8 mile fast, 12 mile long), and I taper off until the event. –  Barbie Mar 29 '11 at 18:21
    
This is a good general answer but you left put one of the most critical parts: the order. If he isn't ordering his workouts throughout the week to optimize recovery, he won't get the full benefit. Really this needs to be done over the whole training season. –  matt Apr 2 '11 at 3:36
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