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11054 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Feb 28, 2013 7:45 AM by FrodeAndersen
ILatty1974 Rookie 1 posts since
Feb 11, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 11, 2013 2:07 PM

One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

Hello, I started running in earnest about 8 months ago.  Family and work generally keep me from running during the week, although my daily walking component of my commute (walk to train..walk to office...walk to train..walk home) is 3 miles a day.  I run once a weekend and have gotten in the practice of doing 1 long run a week.  I started at around 4-5 miles and have slowly increased the distance.  To date, my max long run was 10 miles.  My pace is around 9:30. 


I am targeting my first half marathon in June.  I have read  various training programs that advocate several training runs per week.  After I complete a few 13 mile runs, am I better off dialing down the distance and doing a shorter run on the weekend to work on conditioning and improving pace?  I'd like to have a least one 13.2 mile distance run done for the confidence building angle, but am concered that simply continuing with 1 weekly long run may either leave me unprepared, too slow, or more susceptible to a training injury. 


I appreciate that multiple runs a week may be preferred, but when that is not an option what is preferable: one long run a week or a shorter run designed to increase pace?  Thank you.

  • Running4urlife Pro 72 posts since
    Oct 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 11, 2013 7:43 PM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    Hey ILatty - You're doing great if you only run only one day per week(end) and can do 10 miles at 9:30 mpm!!  There are so many training programs but like you said, they really target those that run daily or at a minimum 4 times per week.  I want to encourage you to continue training with a long run every weekend and if at all possible, can you fit in a 20 minute cross train session one other night per week when you would do sprints and some other strength training exercises? 


    I've been running for many years and this is my first year that I'm attempting a 1/2 marathon....I am a short distance runner and really enjoy the 5k and 10k races.  I turned 50 in October and promised myself that I will complete a 1/2 marathon before my 51st bday!  So I'm committed now.  I just started the Beginner 1/2 Marathon training plan thru Active Advantage.  It's for those of us who run regularly and can commit to 5 days per week so this is obviously not for you.  But that's the beauty of can listen to your body and sculpt your training to fit your lifestyle.  Although some may disagree, I don't feel there is a right or wrong in doing your runs/workouts.  What works for you is not necessarily what would work for me, vice versa. 


    I would suggest adding some 30 second sprints and even some hills in your regular runs to change it up a bit.  This will work different muscles in your legs and help strengthen them.


    Good luck and keep us posted!!  And remember....just


    GET OUT AND RUN!!!! 


    2010 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k ---47:24 (walked...first race in 10 years!)

    2011 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k ---- 33:53

    2012 - St. Paddy's Day 8k/5k Run....58:59....FIRST 8K!

    2012 - Tiger 5k Speedway Racetrack....35:38

    2012 - Short Run on a Long Day 5k in Frankfort....34:43

    2012 - Fort2Base - 3 Nautical Mile (3.45 miles).....36:44

    2012 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k.....31:46...PR!!

    2013 - Mar - St. Paddy's Day 5k/8k Run...34.26

    2013 - Apr - Tiger 5k Speedway Racetrack...34:36...2nd place in my "old age" group

    2013 - May - Solider Field 10 Miler...2:01:26

    2013 - June - Chicago Color Run (not timed)

    2013 - June - Women's Chicago 1/2 Marathon....2:43:04

  • ydiez Pro 161 posts since
    Nov 7, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Feb 12, 2013 3:52 AM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    I believe you have some pretty strong time limitations there, is there any way to get around them? For example, could you run twice in the weekend? The thing is that running only in the weekends give you plenty of time to recover, so maybe you could squeeze a short, fast run on saturdays (running fast for 30-40 minutes) and then keep your usual long run in sundays you would have quite a lot more room for training "experiments". You would also benefit from being able to run (or cross train) during the week. Given your tight schedule I would consider very short runs (about half an hour) near your house or, should this be infeasible, at least some core training exercises.


    Finally if none of this is really an option, and aswering your question, I would probably increase the distance of the long run progressively (most probably you do not need to reach 13.1) and once you have reached one that is enough for you to be confident to be able to run the 13.1 on race day, start working the pace by introducing pace intervals in midrun.



    Hope this helps.

    Current PB:

    5k: 19:53 (December 31st 2014)

    10k : 42:30 (March 9th 2014)

    Half Marathon: 1:32:40 (February 1st 2015)

    Marathon: 3:33:31 (March 15th 2015)

    Completed my first marathon! Feeling like getting some more!

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Feb 12, 2013 6:32 AM (in response to ydiez)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    Run as much as you can, more is better if done the correct way.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Feb 12, 2013 6:59 AM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    Well . . . underprepared, yes, but not unprepared.  Obviously, a couple weekday runs would help a lot, even if relatively short.  Too slow?  Not if you're willing to run the race at close to 9:30 pace.  Susceptible to injury?  There's the rub.  Trying to get faster on one run a week would be tricky, and would have to be a very gradual thing.  ydiez's idea of getting the distance where you want it, then introducing pickups mid-run would probably work.  Don't make them sprints though!  Just a slightly faster pace.  And be cautious at the race.  It will be a PR no matter what, but trying for too fast a pace could very well result in injury.




  • Billy137 Amateur 14 posts since
    Feb 8, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Feb 19, 2013 1:40 PM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    I have to agree with Len on this.  I think by running once a week will make you susceptible to injury, especially if you try and increase your pace.  I completely understand that work and family take a lot of time.  To get my mid week runs in during the winter I get home and change and go right when I get home.  Yeah it sucks to not eat dinner first and be with the family, but a 30-40 minute run isn't that big of a deal to get out of the way.  Then I get home and relax.  Every once in a while I have other commitments after work, so I bring a change of clothes and run during my lunch break.  I like to run outside, so I don't wake up early to run yet.  But once it starts warming up more, I wake up early and get it out of the way before work.  Last year I did an Ironman, and to get my workouts in I woke up by 5 am every morning so I didn't infringe on family time after work.  I've always thought the motto great that if there's a will, there's a way.  Getting a 3-4 mile run in 2-3 times a week really shouldn't be all that difficult to fit in, that is unless you are just starting out in the lawyer or doctor fields and working 16 hour days, then I understand only getting in a run on the weekend.

  • Sweet Lou Dunbar Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 10, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Feb 20, 2013 11:08 AM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    I'm not sure if you run only one once a week or if you only run one long run per week. I'm assuming you run shorter runs alon with the long run so I would say that one long run per week like you are doing is recommended, especially for a beginner runner. I would try to get in 3 more shorter runs during the week. Two 4 mile runs and one 6 mile run - Two runs at easy pace (one 4 miler and one 6 miler) and the other 4 miler where you push it a bit (tempo run - start out easy, get intense in the middle, finish easy).


    Once you get more advanced, I would add in a day where you do intervals of six 800 meter runs. 800 meters is just under a half mile so if you don't find a track, just use MapmyRun or your car to determine a good spot where you can measure that on a road. At your pace of 9:30, you should try to shoot for 4 min 30 second intervals, resting in between each. If that's too agressive at first, try for 4:45.


    I also like following Hal Higdon's running routines from It's free and he has routines for all types of races and runner levels. Try the beginner for half marathons and work your way up.   


    Good luck!

  • SusanJohnson21 Rookie 3 posts since
    Feb 20, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 20, 2013 12:08 PM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    Sounds like you're doing a great job! I have done serveral races in the past, and one thing I found that helped me are my after workout protein smoothies! When I eat well right after a workout it helps my body and keeps it from getting really sore! Here is the website where I get some of my recipes from...

  • FrodeAndersen Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Feb 28, 2013 7:45 AM (in response to ILatty1974)
    One long run a week for 1/2 marathon training

    If I read your post correctly you only run once per week and that is the long run. Like others have said, you are far more in danger of getting injured that way. Definitely be very careful with adding pace. I did 3 half marathons last year (the first ones I have done) and am doing some this year and am aiming for one or two fulls. I do one long run, 2 short runs and 1 mid level run per week plus two days of crosstraining/weights. I understand that this is not possible for you (and quite possible you do not want that much of a load, it is definitely time consuming) but imo you are pushing the limits a bit.


    Something you could consider doing is adding in some real quick and simple office workouts. Doing lunges/squats/planks/push-ups/pistol squats a couple of times per day for a few days a week will really help you build up muscles that you need. Stronger muscles will help you run better and also assist you in staying injury free.


    If nothing else I would try to do what somebody else said and do a short run Saturday and then the long run Sunday. It isn't perfect but would definitely help some.

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