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Interval Training To Improve Your Half Marathon Time

Posted 08-24-2020
In Workouts & Running

Interval Training To Improve Your Half Marathon Time

For many runners, just finishing a half marathon is an incredible achievement. Training to run 13.1 miles takes a lot of commitment and dedication. Once you complete a half marathon, no one will ever take that amazing accomplishment away from you. If you have already done a few half marathons, you may be seeking to improve your time. In fact, many runners get addicted to the possibility of improving their race times and they thrive on consistently getting faster.

If you are already doing a lot of long, slow runs, then it's time for you to add a weekly interval training session to your routine. Interval training will help you increase your VO2 max so that you will be able to use oxygen more efficiently when training and racing. It's also very efficient and allows you to burn more calories per session because, not surprisingly, going faster takes more energy.

Therefore, if you already have a solid amount of running under your belt, then you will definitely benefit from some interval training as you train for your next half marathon.

First, before you do any interval training, you should do a warm-up jog for 10 to 15 minutes. Warming up will help you prevent injuries as well as prepare you for the workout.

All you need for a successful interval workout is your Gymboss interval timer and a positive attitude.

Below are a couple of interval training ideas as you work towards your next half marathon.

  1. The 15 on/15 off Workout

Once you know what your goal half marathon pace is, set your Gymboss timer any model) for 4 intervals of 15 minutes each. This workout is very simple and will take you an hour to complete, not including your cool-down. Use the first 15 minutes of this workout for your warm-up. Then, run the next 15 minutes at your goal half marathon pace. After that, jog the next 15 minutes at an easy pace. Then, you will run the next 15 minutes at your half marathon pace. Finally, you will cool-down for 10 minutes after you've completed your last 15 minutes at half marathon pace. When you complete this workout, you will have done a total of 30 minutes at your half marathon pace, which will get you that much closer to being able to do it for the entire race.

Over time, you can run 16 minutes at your half marathon pace, followed by 14 minutes easy and repeat this sequence until you get to one hour. Then, you can do 17 minutes at your half marathon pace, followed by 13 minutes easy and so on. Luckily, with a Gymboss timer, you will not have to do any math if you set it properly. Once again, you can adjust your intervals based on your fitness level and goals.

  1. The Pyramid Workout

This workout can be very challenging. An example of a pyramid workout on the track may include: 4 x 200m repeats, then 3 x 400m repeats, then 2 x 800m repeats, followed by another 3 x 400m repeats and 4 x 200m repeats. In this particular example, your rest interval would be equal to half the length of the work interval.

Even if you do not live near a track, you can still do a pyramid workout using your Gymboss miniMAX. This workout will push you to run faster for the shorter work intervals so that you can improve your foot turnover and speed.

Here is an example of what a pyramid workout might look like when you use a Gymboss timer. This can be set up in its entirety on a Gymboss miniMAX timer:

  • Jog slowly for 10 minutes to warm-up
  • 1 minute at your 5k pace followed by 30 seconds slow, repeated 4 times
  • 2 minutes at your 10k pace followed by 1 minute slow, repeated 3 times
  • 3 minutes at your half marathon pace (or slightly faster) followed by 90 seconds slow, repeated twice
  • 2 minutes at your 10k pace followed by 1 minute slow, repeated 3 times
  • 1 minute at your 5k pace followed by 30 seconds slow, repeated 4 times

As you can see, this workout forces you to run faster when your intervals are shorter. When you do shorter intervals at your 5k and 10k pace, you will notice that the half marathon pace seems a bit easier. Therefore, you will be able to hold your half marathon pace longer.


If you add interval training sessions to your routine, you will be much more likely to run a faster half marathon. If these interval training sessions are too difficult for you, you can always reduce the number of repetitions or lengthen your rest period until you get more comfortable. You can make these workouts harder or easier simply by adjusting the interval lengths on your Gymboss timer.

With a Gymboss timer, you can do these interval training sessions anytime anywhere.