Half Marathon Training

Hi, I am doing my first half marathon in just over 4 weeks. I am up to 9 miles at the moment. I am pondering on whether to actually do the 13 miles before the event or just leave it at 10/11 and then leave the rest to on the day to really feel that sense of achievement on the day. Does anyone have any ideas on what is best?


  • It depends on your motivation and how far into your training you are. I'm presuming you've not done regular 8- 10K runs immediately prior to starting your training programme.

    If you haven't been that regular 10K runner, and if your motivation for the race is just to finish, then consider sticking to 11 miles max as you suggest. Perhaps next weekend (then start tailing off the maximum distances in the following weeks as you approach the race - but keep up the regular runs - including a bit of interval training/speed work/cross training... I presume you've read advice on training programmes somewhere on the internet or in a book.)

    If you've got the ambition not just to finish, but secretly also want to achieve a time that makes people say "wow", then I'd suggest that you run the full 13 miles this weekend (probably a 45 second per mile slower than the pace you've been running for the first 12 miles.... then give what you have left for the last mile ).  Then you know you've got the distance in your legs. Then make sure you include a bit of speed work (e.g. a pacier 10K, and/or some interval training) perhaps 3 or 4 times over the following 2 weeks. You'll know that the last week before the race should be relatively gentle.

    Good luck and enjoy it!

  • My first half I only done up to 11 miles, last 2.1 were hard but the sense of achievement was great. I would say stick to 11 max and as Run Wales suggests do some intervals, I personally would be careful doing too much speedwork though (injuries)  that said if you want a good time its essential.

    Good luck

  • I would suggest it is too little time to go up to 13 miles, or to bother with intervals for your first Half. Increase your long run mileage to 10/11 over the next couple of weeks. Don't do intervals unless you already are running these - they will be a recipe for injury otherwise.

    Ideally for a half, your long run will go over 13miles. This needs a 10 - 16 week training programme for a first time Half. Do 11, and on the day you will do the 13.1 through the adrenaline and buzz
  • I would not start interval training this late in the game.

    Continue to build your mileage up slowly, along with your other runs during the week you'll be fine come race day.

    You want to make sure that you focus on your long runs as your quality session, intervals will just detract from this. Keep your running legs fresh for getting the miles in.

    Whatever happens you'll be setting a pb and giving yourself a target to chase. You'll manage the distance on the day.

  • I would go for 11 this weekend. See how you feel. If you feel good then 13 next weekend and drop to 6 or 7 for the week before.

    All these runs are slow aren't they?

    Forget interval training, go for 6/7 mile runs mid week.

    Good luck, have fun.

  • I would say stick to 10/11 miles for this one - it'll be more than enough to get you round. I entered a half last weekend at the last minute (trying to get some points to avoid relegation in Fetcheveryone's UTMOST game). Longest in training was 9 miles. I kept expecting the wheels to drop off, but they didn't, and I finished in 1:33, only 45s outside my pb set 10 years ago!

    Generally I would say that to really race a distance well, up to a half it's a good idea to get a few "over-distance" runs in, but you are guaranteed a pb anyway, and it too late to try to adjust your schedule to fit them in now - leave it until next time!

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