> 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
> 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
> 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