What's the best mix of training runs to improve my likely half marathon time for a race that's on March 1st?
I am taking part in the Coastal Trail Series Northumberland Half Marathon
on March 1st.
I did it last year, wasn't particularly well at the time, and finished in just under 2h30 (about 11m20 per mile). I'd like to beat that this year by as much as possible.
Today I did a 14k (8.4m) trail race, struggled a bit, it was very windy, and finished in just under 1h34 (11:08m per mile). It has kick-started my competitive spirit, though, and I want to be as fast as I can be for my next race.
What would be the best training mix over the next month to increase my half marathon pace as much as possible? Is it even possible? I still need to increase the mileage of my weekly long run - today's run was the longest I've done so far in this round of training. But I'd also like to boost my speed.
Bonus background info:
* I've not been following a written training plan so far. I've been doing a steadily-lengthening long, slow run on a Sunday, and about three shorter runs during the week, varying between about 2 and 4 miles; usually one of those is an interval run.
* The first couple of halfs I ever did were on similar terrain to the Northumberland CTS (flattish trails and a bit of hard sand) and I finished in 2h12 - but that was 10 years ago (I'm 39).
* I've done loads of other trail runs since then, including a marathon, but have never been very fast, and wasn't particularly fit when I started training for this run in the autumn.
I know it's fairly late in my training, but would love to use these last few weeks to boost my speed if at all possible, rather than bimbling along as I've done before. What's the best mix of training runs to achieve this without injuring/exhausting myself?
There are some previous answers to similar questions that are somewhat useful, but they don't address this specific time period.