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How to Shave Time Off Your Half Marathon PR

Squeezing in one more race before it gets cold and you're trapped on a treadmill? Here are 9 tips from a running expert on how to improve your long-distance time.

Q: What’s the most effective way to train to shave time off my half-marathon PR?

A: So you’re determined to max out every ounce of fall’s weather and squeeze in a final half marathon before you’re forced to treadmill train. After all, who wouldn’t want to enter the winter swiping one last strong finish under his belt?

But beware. Overtraining or training the wrong way could dock minutes off your time. According to running coach and former Olympian Jack Daniels, who’s now an associate physical education professor at A.T. Still University, you should stay away from sprints in training. “You won’t be running the race that fast,” he says. “Plus sprinting makes you lose all form and good mechanics.” Finish your endurance season strong with these nine tips on shaving time off your half-marathon PR.

1. Go On ‘Easy Runs’ – Make sure to build an easy run into your weekly training. Give about 70 percent effort and try to cover a third of your weekly mileage. Although the speed might feel sluggish to you, don’t worry; it’s a good thing. You heart works the hardest (and best) when you’re working at a 60 to 65 percent effort.

2. Master The Mechanics – Consistent breathing is just as important as a steady stride, so practice your breathing mechanics with repetition runs. Here’s how you do it: Run for 30 to 60 seconds, then fully recover for three times the length—this will ensure you focus on good stride, relaxed form, and easy breathing with every rep. You can run between 5 and 10 repetitions a few times per week, but just make sure they make up less than five percent of your weekly mileage.

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