Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Brilliant O » Thu, 14 Oct 2004 17:03:32


<< 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.

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Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by DrLit » Thu, 14 Oct 2004 23:46:55


Quote:
> 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.

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Phil M » Thu, 14 Oct 2004 23:37:31

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

Quote:
> 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.

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Donovan Rebbech » Thu, 14 Oct 2004 23:33:54


Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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/

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Harold Buc » Thu, 14 Oct 2004 21:32:14



Quote:
> 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

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Phil M » Fri, 15 Oct 2004 22:25:14

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

Quote:
> 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.

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Dan Stumpu » Fri, 15 Oct 2004 13:48:39


Quote:
> ...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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by am » Sat, 16 Oct 2004 00:47:17

Quote:

> 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

 
 
 

Half-marathon, training distance shorter than race?

Post by Donovan Rebbech » Fri, 15 Oct 2004 22:48:03


Quote:
> 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/