Many of the same points I mentioned in my post about marathon preparation apply equally to half marathons. However, there are a number of other tips that can help make your next half marathon a success. These tips can be divided into two categories, physical and mental.
1) Plan to do a 7 to 8 mile run in the middle of the week. The pace for this run should be about 30 seconds slower than your goal pace, except you want to pick up the pace in the last two miles and finish strong at goal pace. Don't worry if you start out a little slower though. You want to negative split these runs.
2) An alternative to 1) above would be to do the same distance, but work in various surges into the run. For example, start out by doing a 5 minute warm-up, then do surges: 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 6 minutes, 4 minutes, 2 minutes. After each surge, rest the same number of minutes before starting the next surge. It's important to sustain a reasonably fast pace during the rests though so that you get used to running when you're tired. I suggest going 45 seconds per mile slower than goal pace. Try to plan it so that you finish the last surge about a half mile from the finish of the run.
3) During the weekends, plan to do a long run of 8-12 miles and again try to negative split the run. I like to do my long runs on a nearby rail trail because it has a soft terrain and not a lot of vehicle traffic. Increase the length of this run by no more than a mile every other week. So it would take you ten weeks to reach the second 12 miler. Plan to do this run two to three weeks before the target race day and taper thereafter.
(I like to mix in 30 second pick-ups at a pace a little faster than goal pace during these runs, which helps your speed and endurance.) Try to do 10-20 of these each run and distribute them through the workout.
4) Plan to do at least one 10K race at the half way point of your training program and substitute that run for one of your long runs.
5) Do half mile to mile repeats at a pace fifteen to thirty seconds per mile faster than goal pace. Do this workout once every two weeks for a total of 5 miles with a two minute rest in between repeats.
1) Keep track of each of your runs in a logbook (time, distance, pace, weather, how you felt etc.) and periodically review what you've done to build confidence in your plan.
2) Visualize having a successful race after you have run and scouted the race course.
3) On race day, think positive and listen to music that puts you in a happy, but energetic mood.
By following these tips, you'll be putting yourself in a position to do well on race day.
Good luck and happy running.