LEARNING OBJECTIVE: The reader should understand the basic design elements for helping a fitness runner make the transition to become a neo-competitive runner. This will involve understanding how to progress the frequency, intensity, and time of training and how to recommend an appropriate pace for both steady state and interval training.
A fitness runner desiring to make the transition to competition and complete a half marathon successfully must increase the total volume of training, generally in line with the “rule of threes.” They also need to periodize the increase in training load to prevent accumulating fatigue. Last, they need to add some higher-intensity training to improve their underlying running capacity, generally on the basis of the maximal aerobic speed, which can be estimated from their performances in “fun runs” or smaller competitions.
Carl Foster, Ph.D., FACSM, is a professor of Exercise and Sport Science and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He also is a visiting professor at the VU University Amsterdam. He received his Ph.D. in exercise physiology from the University of Texas at Austin. He was President of ACSM in 2005 to 2006, is editor of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, has been the associate editor in chief for Applied Science for Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, and has received the Citation Award from ACSM.
Derek Stanley, M.Ed., is the cross-country coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He received his M.Ed. in sports administration from Bowling Green State University. He holds Level 1 Coaching Education Certification from UASTF and has USATF Level 2 Coaching Education in endurance/sprints/hurdles/relays/throws/jumps. He was the 2009 USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year and 2013 USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Jos J. de Koning, Ph.D., FACSM, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam and an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He widely is regarded as the world’s leading authority on the scientific aspects of speed skating and was one of the primary forces in the development of the klapskate, which revolutionized competitive speed skating. He has given a President’s Lecture at the ACSM Annual Meeting.
John P. Porcari, Ph.D., FACSM, is a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He also is the director of the Clinical Exercise Physiology program at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and executive director of the La Crosse Exercise and Health Program. He received his Ph.D. in exercise physiology from the University of Massachusetts. He is a past president of AACVPR, has received the Award of Excellence from AACVPR, and has given a keynote lecture at ACSM’s Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.
Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest and do not have any financial disclosures.