So I've got a question about half marathon training, but let me first give a little bit of background info. I'm 28 years old and I just started running about 3 months ago, have already completed three 5k races (with improved times), and run about 4 times per week currently. My long runs are up to about 6-7 miles, which I do once per week. I combine this with either a hill or speed workout, and two shorter runs. The half marathon I'm training for (which is my first) is not until the end of April. I've looked online at 12, 16 an 20 week training programs, but all of them don't get into the milage I'm at currently for the long runs until several weeks in.
My question is this - do I continue increasing the mileage on my long runs now and cap off at a certain number and then bring it down to the 4-5 mile long runs at the beginning of a training program, or do I keep increasing mileage if my body feels fine with it up to 12 miles per long run? For example, since I'm almost 6 months out from the race, should I keep increasing it until I hit let's say 12 miles and do that each week until the taper, or should I stick to one of the programs that has me decreasing my mileage at the start and building back up again?
I apologize if it's a stupid question, I'm just concerned about pushing it too much by going 12 miles on my long runs for a while, but I'm also afraid of having to build my mileage back up again when I'm already there. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
I'm training for my first half marathon as well, and I had a long training time to work into as well. I extended the early portions of the training regimen (ran week 1 for 3 weeks, week 2 for 2 weeks, etc.) I'm now 4 weeks out from my race and right on schedule with my training. I'll run a 12-miler two weeks out, then taper, and run the 13.1 on Dec. 1.
I'm no expert, but my advise would be to stick with what you are doing now until about 8-10 weeks out from your race, then pick up the training at the level you are at now.
I was also thinking that we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years coming up, so chances are you are going to struggle to even stay at 6 miles through the cold weather and the onslaught of high-calorie foods! I would consider looking at January 1st as my "real" training start date, and work from there.
Again, I'm no expert, as I've only been running for about 8 months, but that makes sense to me in my head, and the voices in there agree with me.
I would not decrease from the mileage that you are already doing for the LR schedule and it sounds like you are also working in some tempo runs and other training. There really would be no benefit to starting over just to follow a beginning training guide when you have already advanced.
You also have plenty of time to complete some 10k races before the half and those should be of great assistance in overall preparation.
In general, you should do great with ten miles (80% of your maximum effort) for long runs, but it also depends on your comfort level. See how things are progressing in the coming months, so if you feel more confident by adding a few miles just prior to the taper, that should also be mostly a personal choice.
Congrats and wishing you all the best!
Thank you both for your replies! That's good advice about the holidays coming up - knowing me, I'll be intaking a lot of comfort foods! What I think I will do is keep my long runs at around 6-8 miles for the next 2-3 months to build a base, so that by February, it won't feel difficult.
I do also like the idea of running some 10k races in preparation. Although my main goal is just to finish the half, my other goal would be to complete it in under 2 hours, so those races could give me an early indication on my time. I will more than likely try to incorporate a training program to where I'm at when I get to it. I'm really looking forward to the challenge! Thanks again!