Training for a Half Marathon – top tips from champion Aussie marathon runner Liam Adams

Brrr it’s so cold this morning. Went out to exercise and it was freezing at 6am. I think winter is definitely on its way!

This weekend is the Sydney Half Marathon and I was really hoping to run it this year but because of not being able to run at the moment I didn’t enter. Am going to do it next year instead and combine the weekend with a bit of retail therapy!

Anyway, in light of the the race this weekend I thought I’d write a post around training for a half marathon. A bit late for those running this weekend but for those of you that are thinking about training for one hopefully this post will help you. I have written a few posts in the past about race preparation but I had the opportunity to be put in contact with an expert Aussabout this before a fair while ago  and I got them from an expert – marathon runner Liam Adams. Liam has won a number of running events including the Gold Coast Marathon 2012, City2Surf 2011 and the Australian Cross Country Championships 2011.  His best half marathon time was 1hr 3 mins which is awesome and a 5k in 13.31 mins – I could never dream of being that fast!!

Image taken from
Image taken from

When it comes to training for a Half Marathon Liam has shared some awesome tips. I’ve listed half today and will list the other half in the next post in a few days which will cover off the actual race day. Hope you find them useful.


1) Set and understand your goal

Set a goal at the start of your training and understand what it takes to reach your goal/target. Train and gradually build up to that goal or target.

2) Make your training social

Enjoy and make the most of the social aspect of training and running with a group. It can be one of those encouraging factors that helps you get up early out of bed, get out in that miserable weather and/or get out there when times are tough.

3) 2-3 sessions a week

Try your best to get 2-3 sessions in per week and the rest should be easier running. The most important types of runs that you should get in are tempo/threshold run, long run and either repeat efforts or fartlek work out. Any other running you do for the week should be easier so that you can absorb the benefits of your workouts.

4) Get the miles into the legs

One of the simplest ways of improving your half marathon time is by increasing your weekly mileage (kilometers per week). Of course there is factors such as work, family, ability to recover, overuse niggles or injuries, and other limiting factors that reduce your ability to do so but if you can get out there just a couple more times a week than you’ll be better off. Make sure to listen to your body and don’t over do it if your body isn’t handling it well. It might be necessary to take days off so don’t be afraid to do so.

5) Picking the tempo up

I find a great way of breaking up the monotony of a long run and making it a lot more enjoyable and satisfying is to slowly pick the pace up towards the end. You’ll be surprised how fast you can get down to and how easy it feels in actually doing so. You can gain so much strength and confidence in building up the pace towards the end of these long runs and you will definitely notice the difference come the later stages of the race.

6) Train to race not race in training

Don’t be that guy or girl who dominates every workout and then fizzles on race day. People who have the tendency to train too hard leave their races in their workouts and are too flat/exhausted when it comes to the big race.  Recovery is as important as the session. You have to make sure you get enough rest along the way through rest days and easy runs that are built in to the training plan for a reason.

7) Lead up Racing

Nothing will prepare you for the big day like racing in a smaller event. You can practice your nutrition plan, work through pre-race jitters, and learn what it feels like to run that bit harder than what you have been in training.

8) Variety

Quite often we use the same training sessions or the same running routes over and over to gauge how we are going. Yes it’s a great way to see our progression but sometimes our body gets so used to it that we could probably do these sessions in our sleep. If you feel you’re training the house down but not getting the results you need or that you are struggling to get excited about training, then maybe change up the training stimulus just a little. Also go out and explore new places to run/train at and enjoy the different training environments.

9) Pre race taper

By the time it comes around to that final week before your important race, you should have already done all the training & hard work that is going to give you the best result possible. In that final week you can’t really gain any extra fitness through training hard or doing extra miles for your key race, you can only really cause a detrimental effect on your performance.

8 thoughts on “Training for a Half Marathon – top tips from champion Aussie marathon runner Liam Adams

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  1. Sorry to hear you miss out on doing the Sydney half. But like you said you plan to do it next year.
    Sometimes we are just unable to do things when we want them too. Just not enough time, but at least you have it as a goal for next year.

    Great tips, can’t wait to read the rest.

    1. Hi Matilda thanks for your comment. I think the only thing keeping me sane is knowing all the race plans I have for next year onwards – so all good 🙂

  2. Thanks for this info – just in time for my first half marathon in less than 8 weeks!

    1. 🙂 glad it’s useful and good luck! Its the Gold Coastyou are doing isn’t it? I look forward to seeing your write up 🙂

      1. Thanks Zoe. Yep the Gold Coast – up to 15km this weekend – longest run yet…

    1. Hey Roger haha yes true re English summer. It is into single figures innthe mornings now. Think I have adjusted to the climate here too much and become soft!

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