Training for Royal Parks Half in six weeks: Building up the distance

National Events Fundraiser and Team Incredible Captain Henry Fleming is training for a half marathon in just six weeks. During week two, he blogs about how he’s gradually increasing the length of his runs – and, with the help of much fitter colleagues, his fitness.

Henry (far right), back in the golden days when he achieved a two-hour personal best.

In this blog mini-series, I’m sharing my experience of leaving it more than just a little late to start training for the Royal Parks Half, and how I'm rekindling my love for running.

I’ve given myself just six weeks to get half-marathon-ready from a point where I could barely run a slow flat 5K – annoying considering a year and a half ago I got a half marathon PB of under two hours.

A week or so into training and I’m getting on better than I expected considering where my fitness was when I started this. I’ve been getting out and about doing two or three runs a week (ensuring that I give my poor under-used leg muscles time to recover in between!).

"Running with people who are fitter than I am makes a real difference"

The majority of these are 30–45-minute sessions at lunchtime with our office run club, spent jogging around Regent’s Park just up the road from Team Incredible HQ.

We generally manage to tick off 5–6 km each outing, and running with people who are fitter than I am makes a real difference to improving my fitness.

I’ve also been using my day working from home each week as a way to get out and increase the distance that I can do. I get up at the same time as usual, but instead of feeding the cat and heading down to the tube station, I pull on my kit, lace up my trainers and hit the pavements.

I’ve been sticking to a slow pace (seven minutes per kilometre) to ensure that I can really up the distance without burning out super early.

"I’m going to try for 18km or so and blag it on the day"

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m looking to up the distance of my runs and, by the end of week three, I’m hoping to be well into double figures in the kilometre department!

I must add: I’m not aiming to get to 21km during training; I’m going to try for 18km or so and blag it on the day – something that many, many people do.

The atmosphere of the crowd support on the day all helps to spur you on and keep you going.

Race-day fuelling strategy

I can also start considering my race-day fuelling strategy – all sounds rather technical, right?! – but all that means is that I'll start working out what works for me food-wise when I run.

From past experience, I know that I don’t want more than a banana or two before I run – so I really need to consider whether I’m going to take any extra sustenance with me on the course.

Stay tuned for my third blog post next week!

Got any tips for Henry?

Have you trained for a challenge event in just a few weeks? Got any pearls of wisdom to share with Henry?

Share your advice with Henry on Twitter

Say hi at @HenryFEvents


Henry Fleming

National Events Fundraiser

Henry Fleming

I've been at Sue Ryder since June 2013, and my role is to make sure that you have the best experience possible as a member of Team Sue Ryder. I started running at the beginning of 2016 to improve my fitness, and now regularly take part in races, often alongside Team Sue Ryder runners!

Follow me on Twitter @HenryFEvents or email