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Hi, I'm new to this board and I have a question about half-marathon training plans and I was hoping for feedback from some with personal experience! I've been running on and off for years; I've never competed in a race but trained for the MCM in 2007 until I was sidelined w/ asthma hospitalizations x3 in 4 months....that's going much better now and I've decided to run the MC Historic Half at the end of May. So, my question is, I've compared numerous training plans and I was looking for feedback about whether running 12 or 14 miles one week is worth it vs. doing maybe 9-10-10-8 as the maximum long runs in the last 4 weeks. Some training plans max out at 9 or 10 miles and others actually have you run 14 one week. Does the extra-long run make the half feel "easy" or are the 10 mile runs enough to carry you through? I'm willing to do either....not trying to short-change myself here....but I'm in the 1st week of a 12 week cycle and I'm still deciding on which plan I'm going to follow. Any and all advice is welcome! Thanks!
If you are able to run a 10 mile run -- while being true to the training plan --- you shall be able to carry through to the end of 13.1
Since this is your first HM I suggest a conservative approach to the training. Do what the plan says, and you will finish -- of course, barring injuries, etc.
Although you have run in the past it does not sound as though you have a great base of running laid down. That is fine. But this is why I suggest the conservative approach.
I normally find one that I am comfortable with the schedule and go from there. As you progress, constantly do body checks and make sure you are feeling ok (no odd pains, etc). If that is the case, keep it up. If not, pull back some and slow it down.
Right now, I am in week 4 of 12 for a 1/2 on May 6th. I have used Hal Higdon's marathon training before, but decided to stay with the Active training program this time around. Neither one is better than the other - just that it approaches the problem from different angles and gives you something to work towards until you reach the goal. Without any training program lined up, I am not very productive.
My race times (2012)
Race Schedule for the year:
May 6th Frederick Running Festival 1/2 Marathon
May 28th Run through the Park, Ligonier 5k
August Tentative - 5 miler in Chambersburg, PA
October Baltimore Running Festival Marathon (also the 2nd part of the MD Double challenge)
Personal Best :
5K : 28:32 Run through the Park, Ligonier PA
5mile : TBA- Marine Corp 5 Miler in August, Chambersburg PA
10mile : 1:44:52 Cherry Blossum Festival Run, Washington DC
Marathon : 5:01:22 Akron Marathon
I agree with the expert advice from the others to pay attention to your body and do what you determine is best for overall preparation. It would be unfortunate to risk injury due to over-training, for example. By the same token, you will want to complete the total LR miles that make you feel the most confident for the half. Honestly, I think the 10 miles is probably adequate, especially if you are moving above a moderate pace. Again, consider your mental and phsycial conditioning in the coming months and give yourself some flexibility in adjusting a schedule for your particular needs as you continue to improve.
I have never followed any specific training plan, although there are some wonderful resources out there. I would say just consider them as helpful and insightful guidelines to consider. Performance and progress are highly individualized, so it sounds as though you have a wonderful base and can easily adjust to whatever increases your comfort level for the upcoming event.
Wishing you all the best and hopefully you will enjoy the experience with a great after-party!
I'm not an expert, but I've been training for a HM that takes place in 10 days. My plan goes up to 13 miles, with a maximum of 30 mpw. At this point, I wish I had done more. I know I can finish, and probably could have finished a Half several weeks ago, but I found that I was fine adding miles up to about 11, then it seemed to get much harder adding distance. Maybe it was psychological, maybe insufficient nutrition or hydration, but 12 and 13 miles were definitely more effort than 10. If your body will allow, and you are doing sufficient miles on the other days (i.e. so your long run isn't 50% or more of your total), I'd go for a plan that gives you a bigger base before the race.
As others have said, 10 is adequate to finish a half comfortably. Race atmosphere/excitement will carry you the rest of the way. If you have time in your plan to schedule more miles on your long runs, that's all to the good.
On the other hand, I agree with GinnyinPA that adding miles to your long runs starts getting harder around 12 to 14. And running longer is a good idea if you want to run a competitive (for you) half. But it's not necessary to finish. BTW, I finished my first half never having run farther than 10K in training.
Although almost all my race experience is at shorter distances, I've done 2 half marathons, in 2008 and 2009. I used Hal Higdon's intermediate training programs because I wanted to race the halves for time, not just to finish. The longest runs I did in the half training were approx. 13 mi in 2008 and approx. 14 mi in 2009. I found that it was extremely helpful, mentally, to have done the full distance in training - there would be no doubt at the race that I would be able to finish, and I would know just how the last miles would feel. I would definitely recommend doing the longer runs if you can fit them into your training schedule.
I did notice, both in training and at the races, that despite my best efforts, I was consistently about 15 sec/mi slower after about mile 10. In 2009 it was particularly noticeable because I finished in 2:00:50, so that slowdown cost me the chance to break 2 hours. I chalked it up to a combination of relative inexperience (I'd simply done a lot more runs under 10 mi than over 10 mi) and subconsciously tensing up my legs after about 10 mi, draining strength from them.
Heart of the City Run, Los Angeles, CA, 24:13
Downtown Anaheim 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:32
Claremont Turkey Trot, Claremont, CA, 24:20
The Great Race - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:12
Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:31
LA Cancer Challenge, West Los Angeles, CA, 51:21
Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon, Long Beach, CA, 1:54:31
Thank you EVERYONE for your responses. I really appreciate your advice. I am definitely following one of the plans--or maybe doing a hybrid of some plans--and I will see what it's like to run 10 miles and then try to do longer runs to see if I can...so far, week one of training is going very well! Thanks again!