By Peter Park

So you signed up to run the Pier to Peak half marathon. What a great race! I’ve run it myself so many times I’ve lost count. I won the race twice, and one year I ran it while pushing my two-year old son, Hayden, in a jog stroller. (I think we came in tenth!) It’s a tough course, a 13.2-mile, uphill grind typically in unrelenting, 100-degree, Labor Day heat. But then you already know that. In fact, that’s probably why you signed up for P2P; because it’s such a terrific challenge. But it’s mid-July now, less than seven weeks from race day, September 3. Are you ready for P2P? Or…

  • You’ve procrastinated, haven’t trained enough, and now you’re starting to panic – maybe even thinking about pulling out. Otherwise known as quitting.
  • You had an injury from which you’re just now coming back and you don’t know what you should do over the next six weeks to get yourself ready for the race.
  • You’ve run P2P before and you want to PR, but you’re not sure 6-weeks out how to take your training to the next level.

If any of the above are true, don’t panic, you still have time to get ready for the race. But you will have to work hard and train smart. The former is up to you; as for the latter, if you’re in, what follows is a training program that maps out your next six weeks, day by day, week by week. Like I said, I’ve done P2P many times, I know this race, we can do this – if you’re up for it.


Here’s what you’re in for:

  • Two key work outs per week, one shorter, one longer, running repeats up hills. What hills? For the first workout, any short, steep hill will do. Leadbetter Beach to Shoreline Park is perfect. For the Saturday workout, try to get up to Gibraltar, since it’s the race course. That way your workout doubles as pre-race recon.
  • Three days a week you’ll do easy 30-50 minute runs at recovery pace, 60-70% intensity. Choose whatever course you want, around a track, on a trail. But don’t do a lot of hill work.
  • Obey the percentages. 80% effort doesn’t mean all out.
  • Take at least one day off every week to recover.
  • For a sixth day either rest, cross train, or go on a light run.
  • If you’re not lifting weights don’t start now. But if you are, keep at it, but when it comes to leg work, lower your volume and don’t go to failure. At this point it’s all about maintenance. And do your weight workouts on the same day as one of the two key running days so you have time off in between grinds to recover.


Before every work out (even on the lighter days) you need to follow my simple warm up routine so your nervous system’s ready to go and so you don’t make your heart rate explode when you hit the hills. If you’re up on Gibraltar you can do your warm up on Mountain Dr.

  • Run ten minutes on flat ground. Start slow and increase your pace as you go. You should finish at about 75% effort.
  • 5x 20-second strides at 80% effort. Jog 40 seconds between strides.

About Peter Park

Peter Park is a former Ironman triathlete, ultramarathon runner, and has been a strength and fitness trainer for twenty-five years. He’s also the co-author of “Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence,” and the upcoming, “Rebound: Regain Strength, Move Effortlessly, Live Without Limits.” Peter lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Kelly, and two sons, Hayden and Carter.

June 16, 2017



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