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I'm currently training for my first 10k (the race is in a month and am in a good position from a training perspective). With where I'm at training wise, I'm starting to look ahead to the next goal for me. I'm looking at doing a half marathon next year but am wondering about how I should go about this.

Currently, my pace for running is around 13:00-13:30 a mile. Yes, I'm that slow. Because of that, I'm wondering if I should spend some time on speed before starting a training program for the half. I have plenty of time before any half I'd do (it wouldn't be until next spring) and I'm wondering if speeding up my pace would have benefits. I know training for the 10k, I used one of the couch to 10k apps which are all time based (they get you to run for an hour), but that left me short of being able to actually finish a 10k (I finished my program a couple weeks ago and am working on the gap between the hour and how long it will take me to finish). As I go for longer distances that gap will only grow.

So my question is, does it make sense for me to spend a couple months working on speed before diving into a half marathon training program or is there not a lot of benefit and I should just go into the next program?

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I would continue building base running fitness at your current pace until your about 3 months away from your race. You should see improvement in your pace without the speed work.

No need to include speed work until much closer to the race. Even then, you want to get plenty of recovery between speed sessions.

Find a good novice or beginner training program. These will typically be between 10-12 weeks. Here are a couple places to start:

http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51131/half-marathon-novice-1-training-program

http://rw.runnersworld.com/training-plan-finder/beginners-half-marathon-plan.html

Listen to your body, make sure your eating well, and get plenty of rest. Don't let the training plan dictate your life. Be flexible; as long as you get most of the workouts in (especially the long runs), you'll be OK.

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Speed walk the goal distance you plan to attempt 1-3 weeks in advance as part of your training program. Generally I think speed walking would help you improve both on your running pace and meet your goal of running longer.

Otherwise, once a week as part of training more than 1-3 weeks out run about 25% of your normal longest run at a hard effort. Use 5 minutes to warm up and cool down as part of the 25%.

For longer distances you'll find more plans will recommend that you run at least 60-80% of your goal distance at least once 3-4 weeks before the race. For the marathon most will recommend no more than 18-22 miles for first timers, so training doesn't necessarily require the full distance.

Im not familiar the couch to 5k plan (I like the time vs distance idea) but adding a 90-180 minute run on the weekend will help you meet your distance goals, and this long run will help you gain the endurance to run harder and faster for shorter distances. In fact getting this long run in at least once a month can help you do faster sessions. Almost guaranteed.

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Yes, speed aka (HIIT) is very good for fitness... http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4319131.htm

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