Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Jay Hennigan, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Jay Hennigan

    Jay Hennigan Guest

    I'm a long time lurker and occasional poster in the group.

    I have been running for recreation and doing orienteering for over a year
    now. I will typically run three or four times a week, averaging between
    six and ten miles per run on local terrain that is about half pavement
    (bike paths) and half dirt trails with some hills. Typically I run for
    the enjoyment and exercise, concentrating more on duration and endurance
    than trying to run fast. I'll typically run for about an hour to an hour
    and a half depending on where I run, hills, etc. Also run for fun with
    the local hash group, though I'm not a beer drinker. In addition to the
    orienteering I have run one competitive race, a 5K in July with a time of
    22:51.

    I've entered a local half-marathon that will be taking place on November
    6. My goal is to complete it without having to stop or walk. My longest
    runs have been just over ten miles, about every two weeks. Today I tried
    going for speed and matched my 5K race time as opposed to a typical hour+
    run.

    The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready for
    a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter than the
    race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on this advice
    I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon. But, this seems to be counter-
    intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with weighted bats so that
    when they step up to the plate the regulation bat seems lighter. Is it
    really sound to attempt a race that is some 30% longer than one's longest
    training run? Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    distances than the race. Then, when it comes to the real thing you've
    routinely and regularly done that distance and feel comfortable with it.

    Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of weeks
    prior just for the fun of it?
     
    Tags:


  2. << Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of weeks
    prior just for the fun of it? >>

    If it's fun and you don't risk injury, why not? But they do say that tapering
    before a race allow for good performance, as one likely draws on unused
    reserves.

    _______
    Blog, or dog? Who knows. But if you see my lost pup, please ping me!
    <A
    HREF="http://journals.aol.com/virginiaz/DreamingofLeonardo">http://journal
    s.aol.com/virginiaz/DreamingofLeonardo</A>
     
  3. Harold Buck

    Harold Buck Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Jay Hennigan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready for
    > a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter than the
    > race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on this advice
    > I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon. But, this seems to be counter-
    > intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with weighted bats so that
    > when they step up to the plate the regulation bat seems lighter. Is it
    > really sound to attempt a race that is some 30% longer than one's longest
    > training run? Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    > distances than the race. Then, when it comes to the real thing you've
    > routinely and regularly done that distance and feel comfortable with it.
    >
    > Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of weeks
    > prior just for the fun of it?



    FWIW, I think you can complete the race running the whole way with the
    training you've done. However, you'll probably do better and be more
    comfortable if you run 13 miles or so once before the race, provided you
    do it 2-3 weeks out from the race and provided you take it easy (don't
    race it, just run it).

    --Harold Buck


    "I used to rock and roll all night,
    and party every day.
    Then it was every other day. . . ."
    -Homer J. Simpson
     
  4. On 2004-10-13, Jay Hennigan <[email protected]> wrote:

    > The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready for
    > a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter than the
    > race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on this advice
    > I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon.


    Depends on what you mean by "ready". You should be able to finish without
    any problems.

    > But, this seems to be counter-
    > intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with weighted bats so that
    > when they step up to the plate the regulation bat seems lighter. Is it
    > really sound to attempt a race that is some 30% longer than one's longest
    > training run?


    Why not ? The training runs are not all-out efforts, so you'd expect them to
    be slower. In terms of duration, the race and the training run should be about
    the same. So in terms of *time*, the race isn't necessarily longer than the
    training run.

    > Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    > distances than the race.


    Depends. For a half-marathon, it's a good idea for experienced runners to go
    over-distance, because a run of 15-18 miles is not that hard for someone
    who's been running for a while. But for a marathon, it's rare to run the full
    distance in training, because you get most of the required physiological
    benefits out of the first 20 miles or so of the run anyway.

    > Then, when it comes to the real thing you've routinely and regularly done
    > that distance and feel comfortable with it.


    Doesn't work like that. Once you're doing the race, it's a completely
    different ballgame regardless. There's a big difference between being
    "comfortable" during a 15 mile 7:20 pace training run, and "comfortable"
    holding a 6:00 minute per mile pace over a half-marathon.

    Once you have the milage, and some reasonably long runs, whether or not you'll
    finish the race is no longer the question, it's being able to finish it fast.

    For example, I've never run 26.2 in training. The longest I've run is 22, but
    there's no question in my mind that I'll be able to finish a marathon. It's
    finishing a marathon at a fast pace that is a daunting task.

    > Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of weeks
    > prior just for the fun of it?


    Not really. If you're going to give an all-out effort, you may as well put on
    a bib. A 10 mile training run is not an all out effort. With an all-out effort,
    you'll be able to do 13.1 miles, and also do it quite a bit faster than your
    training run.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  5. Phil M.

    Phil M. Guest

    Leafing through rec.running, I read Jay Hennigan's message of 13 Oct
    2004:

    > I'm a long time lurker and occasional poster in the group.
    >
    > I have been running for recreation and doing orienteering for over a
    > year now. I will typically run three or four times a week, averaging
    > between six and ten miles per run on local terrain that is about half
    > pavement (bike paths) and half dirt trails with some hills. Typically
    > I run for the enjoyment and exercise, concentrating more on duration
    > and endurance than trying to run fast. I'll typically run for about
    > an hour to an hour and a half depending on where I run, hills, etc.
    > Also run for fun with the local hash group, though I'm not a beer
    > drinker. In addition to the orienteering I have run one competitive
    > race, a 5K in July with a time of 22:51.
    >
    > I've entered a local half-marathon that will be taking place on
    > November 6. My goal is to complete it without having to stop or walk.
    > My longest runs have been just over ten miles, about every two weeks.
    > Today I tried going for speed and matched my 5K race time as opposed
    > to a typical hour+ run.
    >
    > The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready
    > for a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter
    > than the race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on
    > this advice I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon. But, this seems
    > to be counter- intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with
    > weighted bats so that when they step up to the plate the regulation
    > bat seems lighter. Is it really sound to attempt a race that is some
    > 30% longer than one's longest training run? Logically, I would think
    > it makes sense to train at longer distances than the race. Then, when
    > it comes to the real thing you've routinely and regularly done that
    > distance and feel comfortable with it.
    >
    > Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of
    > weeks prior just for the fun of it?


    Your weighted bat analogy isn't appicable in this case. The
    weighted bat is not making you stronger. It is just making the
    regulation bat *seem* lighter.

    There are a few "rules of thumb" for long runs. Long runs should not be
    more than 1/3 of your weekly mileage. Long runs shouldn't be done more
    than once per week. The last long run before a race shouldn't be closer
    than 2 weeks away. For races less than marathon length, begining runners
    should run 2 or 3 runs of 66% to 100% of the race distance during the 8
    weeks before the event.

    Over-distance training (a training run that is longer than your goal
    event distance) is OK for events shorter than the half-marathon. But for
    beginners, anything longer than half-marathon distance requires too much
    recovery time to make it a productive training run. You are also
    increasing your chances of getting injured by running too long of a
    distance.

    You don't have a whole lot of time to train for this event. So I'd
    suggest just getting in a "time on your feet" run, no closer than 2 weeks
    before the event. That means that you wouldn't run at your half marathon
    pace, just run for the length of time that you think it will take you to
    complete a half-marathon. Your 22:51 5K suggests that you could run a
    half-marathon in about 1:46, which is about an 8:06/mi pace. Of course,
    this implies that you've been doing training that is appropriate for the
    half-marathon, such as long runs, tempo runs, weekly mileage. But since
    you haven't been doing that and your goal is simply to run the distance
    without stopping or walking, then you should probably plan on a 2 hour
    finish time and just have fun.

    For your next race after the half, you might consider following a more
    structured plan. A good place to start is with Bob Glover's book "The New
    Competitive Runners Handbook."

    Phil M.

    --
    "What counts in battle is what you do once the pain sets in." -John
    Short, South African coach.
     
  6. DrLith

    DrLith Guest

    "Jay Hennigan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]
    > The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready for
    > a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter than the
    > race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on this advice
    > I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon. But, this seems to be counter-
    > intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with weighted bats so that
    > when they step up to the plate the regulation bat seems lighter. Is it
    > really sound to attempt a race that is some 30% longer than one's longest
    > training run? Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    > distances than the race. Then, when it comes to the real thing you've
    > routinely and regularly done that distance and feel comfortable with it.
    >
    > Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of weeks
    > prior just for the fun of it?


    I think the advice to cap your long run at shorter than the goal distance is
    given out for marathon training, but not for shorter distances. The logic is
    that a training run of 26 miles or more does more harm than good (probably
    because it takes so long to recover from such a long training run). The same
    logic does not hold for shorter distances, though. A beginner *can* run a
    half-marathon off a long run shorter than the race distance, to be sure. But
    the "advanced" 1/2 M training plans I've seen generally call for long runs
    in the 12-15 mile range. Another way to look at it is time: semi-serious
    runners at most sub-marathon distances probably do a bread-and-butter 90-120
    minute long run most weeks. If you stay under 2 hours, and don't run hard,
    you can pretty much run that every week ad nauseum.

    So yeah, go out and run for a couple hours this weekend and next, then
    taper.
     
  7. steve common

    steve common Guest

    Jay Hennigan <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    >distances than the race.


    There's a limit to that logic (and physiology doesn't obey everyday,
    common-sense style logic anyway). If you're going to do a 100-miler will
    it be necessary to run a 101-miler in training?

    Where you draw the limit is a question of personal taste or age or
    availability or perceived risk of injury or training religion or running
    speed or ...

    My personal "limit" is still 2.5-3 hours for a single run in training,
    whether that allows me to cover the race distance in training, or not.

    If you run your 10+ miles comfortably, just imagine that the
    half-marathon is exactly the same thing, plus a piddling 3 miler to get
    home. If you pace right on race day, that's exactly the way it works
    out.

    When I have 10k to go in a marathon, I just think "pfffffff you do that
    much every single day". At 5k out it's "that's the equivalent of your
    warm-up". It makes the task seem ridiculously easy (well almost :)

    That said, if you really want to do a 13 miler "just for fun" (is that
    the real reason?), fine, but don't do it less than 3 weeks before the
    race.
     
  8. Dan Stumpus

    Dan Stumpus Guest

    "Jay Hennigan" <[email protected]> wrote

    > ...My longest
    > runs have been just over ten miles, about every two weeks. Today I tried
    > going for speed and matched my 5K race time as opposed to a typical hour+
    > run.
    >
    > The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready for
    > a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter than the
    > race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on this advice
    > I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon. But, this seems to be counter-
    > intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with weighted bats so that
    > when they step up to the plate the regulation bat seems lighter. Is it
    > really sound to attempt a race that is some 30% longer than one's longest
    > training run?


    Sounds illogical, but it really isn't:

    1. When you prepare for a race, you taper. On race day you have much more
    glycogen in your legs than you do during the week, and you're rested and
    raring to go. You're also giving it your all, and the competition
    stimulates you to push even harder. This enables you to run faster and
    longer than usual. For example, I usually ran a 17-20 mile run at between
    7:00 and 8:15 per mile 20yrs ago when I was a marathon racer. Yet on a good
    day I could average a bit under 6:00/mile for the entire 26.2.

    2. The long run is not the major determinant of your success at a given
    distance. It's important, but imo one's average weekly mileage and speed
    workouts (intervals, fartlek, tempo runs, 5k and 10k races, etc) are *much*
    more predictive.

    For example, for a half-marathon, I'll bet on a guy who can run a 10k in
    36:00, runs 60 miles/week and only runs a long run of 8 miles over a guy who
    runs a 10k in 43:00, 40 mpw, and a 15 mile long run, any day. Of course the
    36:00 guy has to go out at a sensible pace of about 15-20 seconds slower
    than his 10k pace.

    > Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    > distances than the race. Then, when it comes to the real thing you've
    > routinely and regularly done that distance and feel comfortable with it.


    That may be a confidence builder, but it's actually not necessary. I just
    raced a 50 miler and did ok (3rd ag) and my longest run in the previous 5
    weeks was 20 miles. I did a 35 mile race about 6 weeks prior, but that's
    still less than 50 miles.

    The way it works, is that most competitive runners' long runs follow these
    parameters:
    1. They can recover quickly from them (say within 48 hours).
    2. They're about 90 minutes or longer, which stimulates an increase in
    mitochondria, and trains fat burning metabolism.

    For example, for a high mileage runner (65 - 100 mpw) a 20+ mile hilly run
    is something he can do every weekend, and be ready to go hard 48 hours
    later.

    On the other hand, for a 40 miles/week guy, the longest run may be 10-12
    miles in order to recover fully in 48 hours.

    > Ready or not, here I come, but should I go for 13 miles a couple of weeks
    > prior just for the fun of it?


    There's no harm, as long as it's within your capabilities: you go easy, and
    can recover quickly.

    -- Dan
     
  9. Doug Freese

    Doug Freese Guest

    "steve common" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Jay Hennigan <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    >>distances than the race.

    >
    > There's a limit to that logic (and physiology doesn't obey everyday,
    > common-sense style logic anyway). If you're going to do a 100-miler
    > will
    > it be necessary to run a 101-miler in training?


    Amen, or run for many days to emulate a multi-day race.
    >
    > Where you draw the limit is a question of personal taste or age or
    > availability or perceived risk of injury or training religion or
    > running
    > speed or ...
    >
    > My personal "limit" is still 2.5-3 hours for a single run in training,
    > whether that allows me to cover the race distance in training, or not.


    My personal limit- 3-4 hours for 50k, 5-6 hours for a 50 and 8-10 for a
    100. I also feel the marathon is that last distance that one should try
    to match the distance of the race. Again, I've done the 20-22 for a
    marathon but preferred 26-28. It's personal taste, recoverability and
    mental.

    > That said, if you really want to do a 13 miler "just for fun" (is that
    > the real reason?), fine, but don't do it less than 3 weeks before the
    > race.


    Well maybe two but only if he has thorough knowledge of his
    recoverability. If any doubts 3 is good guide.

    -DF
     
  10. Phil M.

    Phil M. Guest

    Leafing through rec.running, I read Doug Freese's message of 14 Oct 2004:

    > My personal limit- 3-4 hours for 50k, 5-6 hours for a 50 and 8-10 for a
    > 100. I also feel the marathon is that last distance that one should try
    > to match the distance of the race. Again, I've done the 20-22 for a
    > marathon but preferred 26-28. It's personal taste, recoverability and
    > mental.


    You probably know that this goes against the grain of most marathon plans.
    For my last marathon prep I completed two 22-milers. Both were in about
    3:09. They were about 20 minutes shy of my marathon time. Since I was
    getting pretty good at recovering from these runs, for my next marathon I
    may try to push it to 3:20, however many miles that gets me. For me, that
    "on your feet time" seems to be important.

    Phil M.

    --
    "What counts in battle is what you do once the pain sets in." -John Short,
    South African coach.
     
  11. On 2004-10-14, Phil M. <[email protected]> wrote:

    > You probably know that this goes against the grain of most marathon plans.
    > For my last marathon prep I completed two 22-milers. Both were in about
    > 3:09. They were about 20 minutes shy of my marathon time. Since I was


    That's similar to the training I've been doing -- about 20 minutes short
    of projected marathon time, and about 4 miles short. Of course I haven't
    run my race yet, so we've yet to see how it goes.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  12. amh

    amh Guest

    Jay Hennigan <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > I've entered a local half-marathon that will be taking place on November
    > 6. My goal is to complete it without having to stop or walk. My longest
    > runs have been just over ten miles, about every two weeks. Today I tried
    > going for speed and matched my 5K race time as opposed to a typical hour+
    > run.
    >
    > The general advice I've seen here and on websites is that one is ready for
    > a distance race when his training "long" run is somewhat shorter than the
    > race distance, say ten miles for a half-marathon. Based on this advice
    > I'm ready to attempt the half-marathon. But, this seems to be counter-
    > intuitive. Baseball hitters practice swinging with weighted bats so that
    > when they step up to the plate the regulation bat seems lighter. Is it
    > really sound to attempt a race that is some 30% longer than one's longest
    > training run? Logically, I would think it makes sense to train at longer
    > distances than the race. Then, when it comes to the real thing you've
    > routinely and regularly done that distance and feel comfortable with it.


    You've answered your own question. My best half marathons have come
    when I've run a few 3 or 4 15 milers before.

    Now for the BUT.

    But you shouldn't ignore the rule that says "Thou shalt not increase
    your mileage quickly."

    If you can observe the above rule then run beyond 13.1 miles. If on
    the other hand you can't then go 1 or 2 miles beyond your current long
    run. Now keep in mind that I believe that a solid base is an absolute
    must. I didn't go out and run 3 15 milers and run a pr half marathon.
    Before the 15's I did a bunch of 13's, before the bunch of 13's I did
    a bunch of 10's before the 10's I did a bunch of 8's. I start training
    for a half marathon 5 or 6 months before the event.

    You mention that the race is in November so I'm thinking you really
    should be mindful of the "increase your mileage quickly" rule when
    thinking of your longest long run.

    Hope this helps,
    Andy
     
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