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3997 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 8, 2013 12:05 PM by Kelly1066 RSS
csantoni Rookie 3 posts since
Apr 5, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 16, 2013 10:15 AM

first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

I signed up for a half marathon a few months ago and have been training for it. The race is this Sunday and based on my recent long runs I'm not sure I can do it. I have been running steadily for about 2 years and have completed several 5ks and one 10k.


My training plan was based on an article I read that said if you can run 3 miles (my typical workout) then you can increase your mileage over time and do a half. The plan calls for limiting all runs except your long runs to 3 miles and increasing the long run by 1.5 miles every two weeks. Everything went fine for a while and I did a 7.5 mile run with no problems. 2 weeks later, during my 9 mile run, I started to have knee pain and wound up walking the last two miles. Since then I haven't been able to go more than 6 miles without the pain kicking in. It seems to be an IT-band issue and stretching helps prevent it during shorter runs but no matter what I do, the 6 mile mark is a wall.


The question: should I attempt my race on Sunday? I don't think I should but I'm really disappointed to skip it and don't want to if there's any chance I might finish.

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 16, 2013 11:42 AM (in response to csantoni)
    Re: first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    My concern would be more along the lines of injuring yourself further versus finishing.  A half marathon is not a trivial distance, and if your bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints aren't conditioned well enough to endure 13.1 miles, your chance of injury can be quite high.


    Regarding the race this weekend:

    • Does the race have an accompanying 5K or 10K?  If so you might want to contact the race organization and ask if you can run the shorter race.
    • Have you tried NSAIDs?  While I don't advise this in a regular basis, for a one-off event like this race, many folks take a couple of Ibuprophens pre-race as a propholatic measure, and that helps them over the hump when things like knee pain would otherwise stop them.
    • Do you have the option of selling your bib to someone else?  If you can, at least you’ll be able to recover part of the cost of the entry if you decide not to run.
  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 16, 2013 11:50 AM (in response to csantoni)
    Re: first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    While I don't have an opinion on whether you can do the run without suffering longer term injury issues, I do have an opinion on the training advice you read.  Personally I don't believe a training schedule which limits most runs to three miles with the exception of a long run per week is sufficient for running a half marathon.  Granted this is just one individual's opinion, but I would think you'd want to be running 6-8 miles at a slowish pace at least three times per week PLUS a longer (and slower) 10+ mile run, for a minimum of four to six weeks before attempting a half marathon.


    I know a lot of folks out there may well be able to manage on the program you're following, but to me at least, it sounds like a good way to get injured.

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Oct 16, 2013 12:13 PM (in response to shipo)
    Re: first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    As your long run increases so should your other runs, LR's should be 1/3 to 1/4 of your miles for the week

  • Terranss Legend 268 posts since
    Feb 14, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Oct 16, 2013 12:28 PM (in response to csantoni)
    Re: first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    Hi csantoni,


    I had a very similar IT problem while training for my first half marathon a couple years back.  I was determined to finish it, though, so I bought an IT compression band, slowed down my last couple training runs, and ran the race anyway.  I finished, but it wasn't pretty.  The aftermath was rough, though; for the next week it hurt to go down stairs, I had a limp, and it took a solid two weeks before I could comfortably run again. 


    So, I guess the short answer to your question of whether you CAN do it is yes.  But should you?  My recommendation would be no.  Unfortunately, I probably wouldn't take my own advice, so no judgement here if you decide to do it anyway.  Just be prepared for a couple of weeks of pain, and no running. 


    Whether or not you decide to do the race, look into a foam roller for IT band recovery and therapy.  It really helps.  Also, work on leg-strengthening and flexibility exercises; generally an IT band problem is a symptom of muscular weaknesses and/or lack of flexibility in the leg.  Cycling/spinning can help with this, as the impact forces are minimal.  Just as with running, ease into cycling/spinning, or you may end up with a whole other set of problems. 


    As running becomes more comfortable, try to incorporate hills into your run route, as this will help strengthen your calves, quads, and glutes.  Lastly, you can give your IT band an easier time by running on grass and dirt, rather than only on asphalt and concrete. 


    Best of luck!

  • wade moore eric Rookie 3 posts since
    Apr 3, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Oct 16, 2013 1:19 PM (in response to csantoni)
    first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    I am about to do my first half also, my advise start real slow im talking 12 min mile, and keep thinking positive, listen to music, and just don't stop! There are several tips in the latests RUNNERS WORLD on half marathon. You can do it!!!!

  • JohnHinshaw0 Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Oct 26, 2013 4:22 PM (in response to wade moore eric)
    first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    Ran my first half about a month ago. I trained by gradually adding miles over a 2-month period with a few shorter 6 - 10 k runs and one long run until I could pass through 10 mi nonstop at or 15-20 s off my desired pace. Was recovering from an injury incurred early August from pushing too hard in a hilly 10k, but felt it would not interfere too much. Race day came with torrential rains and cool temps in the 50's, but the rain became a blessing because it help keep all of us cooled down (here in the NW USA we're used to getting wet like that). I could feel the injury a little but it did not get worse thru the run and wasn't too bad. I got to around 11.5 miles and started to really feel muscle fatigue so slowed down and finished about 10 mins later than what I had in mind. But allowing myself to slow if needed was part of my plan, and really the big goal was to finish at all! It was fantastic, and I came out really appreciating good socks! Have already signed up for a couple more halfs next year.

  • Kelly1066 Pro 123 posts since
    Jul 12, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Nov 8, 2013 12:05 PM (in response to csantoni)
    first half marathon, not sure I'm ready

    Good luck - that's a hard decision to make.  I'd be tempted to put it off until I felt ready and knew it wouldn't make my injury worse and prevent me from running more in the near future.... but it's really hard to train and work towards something and have to cancel.


    Let us know what you decide?

    I write a running blog geared towards other new runners at!

    Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012

    First 10K, June 2nd, 2013

    First Half Marathon, September 2013

    Twitter: @iamrunningthis

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