Skip navigation

6297 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2012 7:53 PM by Chasing youth jdr3
Chasing youth jdr3 Rookie 2 posts since
Mar 19, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 1, 2012 8:03 AM

"Long Run" lengths in half-marathon training

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!

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009

    Welcome aboard!


    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.

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Mar 1, 2012 10:30 AM (in response to skypilot77)
    "Long Run" lengths in half-marathon training

    I agree with skypilot 100%.  After you have run a couple and want to worry about a time then more is better, 1st one just finish and start healthy.

  • Ericd3043 Legend 266 posts since
    Aug 2, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Mar 1, 2012 12:23 PM (in response to BOSNPM)
    "Long Run" lengths in half-marathon training

    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

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Mar 1, 2012 12:49 PM (in response to Chasing youth jdr3)
    "Long Run" lengths in half-marathon training

    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!

  • GinnyinPA Pro 150 posts since
    Sep 29, 2011

    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.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Mar 1, 2012 7:00 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    "Long Run" lengths in half-marathon training

    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.




  • crl8686 Legend 1,313 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Mar 3, 2012 1:35 PM (in response to lenzlaw)
    "Long Run" lengths in half-marathon 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.

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:24

    Pride of the Valley, Baldwin Park, CA, 24:28

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:40

    Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:57

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...


  • Correct Answers - 10 points
  • Helpful Answers - 7 points