Conflicting advice

Right then ..I'm scratching my head here as I am being hit with advice from all angles about training for my half in October. (run to the beat) Currently I am running between 8 and 12 miles BUT some friends say you must never run the exact distance of 13.1 miles in training for a half and always run less, while others say I need to run further than 13.1 and ramp up the miles to about 15 miles per run before the day!!!!!!?????


  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I'd follow the plan that you have for your half and focus on that. Different people have different training plans and what may work for one will not work for others. As you're so close to the day - just focus on what you've been doing and let that lead you through.

    Everyone has different views on training. You just need to find a plan that works for you and stick to it. Maybe after this one - try a different plan and see how that works for you (e.g. one race running over 13 miles then the next running less than 13 miles) and go from there.

  • Rachel, I'm not surprised you are confused! Running is one of the simplest forms of motion, and the only rule to the game is not to start your race before the gun. There are no rules for training. It seems that this is your first half marathon, which is a popular distance. I remember that prior to my very first one I didn't want to have gone further than 13.1 because that would deflate part of the challenge (for my sponsors). Conversely I wanted to be confident that I had done enough training. Personally, I took it as far as 12 miles on a few occassions in the preceding weeks.

    Subsequently I was running half marathons as part of the training build up for marathon races, so was building a far greater endurance base (to 22 miles).

    Do what feels right for you. If you can do 12 now, I'd keep that going until the week prior then taper off the distances. You'll hit the line as fresh as a daisy.

    (One other piece of contradictory advice you'll come across is about pre-loading with pasta the night before. This may be fine, but I'd warn against pigging out and being fat and bloaty on race day)

  • If you want to simplify that advice this is what I would say. If your goal is to complete the distance, then 8-12 milers is perfectly adequate training to enable you to do this. People who run 15 milers are for people who the distance is not a problem but are going for a fast time.
  • Hi, yes I was wondering the same as am doing a half M in October too.  I'm a first timer 52 year old doing this Jeff Galloway run, walk, run thing which I am really liking and certainly thing it makes you go faster and makes it much easier, I like a regime! He reckons to do a little more than whatever it is you are running so you feel confidence about a month or so before.  I can't quite bring myself to run more, but did do a half exactly yesterday as though I had done a couple of 15k's before I wasn't totally sure I could hang on in.  Anyway, it actually is quite a nice thing to have under your belt, and I even sped up in the last two miles, so on balance I would say it is worth it so you see how you get on etc.  I might run a bit faster in the middle on the day.  Could do any of it without Runkeeper though, telling me how many miles I've done etc, that makes a big difference to my interest in the whole thing.  Good luck!

  • Was wondering the same thing - Am also doing run to the beat and its my first half marathon...(well I did complete one 11 years ago and thought that doing a few 30 minute runs a couple of weeks before would be enough!!!!)

    Have reached 10 miles but training has gone downhill due to kiddies and holidays. They are back to school now so I have no excuse. I guess like what people have said if you are aiming to complete the course then 10-12 miles should be enough.

  • I prefer to run further than the race distance in training (except for marathons).  It doesn't seem to do me any harm, and means you feel confident in being able to do the distance.

  • I am with Wilkie on this one.  Tried both options and I have found that running 14 miles in training for a half has made the half seem more comfortable.

  • +1 for Sussex Runner - I've done 7 HMs and never run more than 11 miles in training - this year I am going for a PB so have regularly run 13 miles.

  • I would not agree with 'never' running race distance in training. However, in order to complete a race you do not have to have run the distance in training and certainly having run 12 miles a couple of times will see you through a half marathon.

    Running over distance is good practice, I've seen up to 18 miles advocated for a half marathon. I prefer to run up to 15 miles for a half, however I may run up to 18, it just depends on how I feel.

    The main thing is not to fret over it too much. You have done enough, relax and enjoy.

  • I agree as it says long is a pice of string? If you can do 8 to 12 miles alreayd then doing the 13.1 will be ok. If you want to reduce the time then go a little further that 13...whatever you do, enjoy it!

  • I agree with most of the comments above. You certainly can complete a HM without running 13 miles in training, but when you've done a few you may find it more comfortable to hold a faster pace if you've done some runs that are longer. 

    I would say the rule of never running longer than the race distance is generally only held for the majority of marathon runners who probably don't run 26 miles in training -although there will be some people who do.

  • Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
    If you want to simplify that advice this is what I would say. If your goal is to complete the distance, then 8-12 milers is perfectly adequate training to enable you to do this. People who run 15 milers are for people who the distance is not a problem but are going for a fast time.


    Simples. Get round/do decently just get a few 8-10milers in.

    Start hitting your potential, upto 16miles is good. Then a mere 13.1 feels comfortable.

    I remember seeing a 20year old who posted on here who did a 1hr 12 half saying he went up to 18, but I suspect he had an eye on converting to a marathon.

  • rachaeldavies8 wrote (see)
    ...ramp up the miles to about 15 miles per run before the day!!!!!!?????

    per run?

    If you are serious about getting your best time you need a balance of Long Run (13-15miles) Medium run (10ish) and Tempo (6-7miles) to perform at your optimum. Running all your runs long isn't the best thing to do.

    Having said that, as it's your first half, I would say at least one of your long runs needs to be 11miles or more, you don't need a Tempo run and so your other 2 runs can be about 6 miles. You'll get round.

    Amongst other things, the long run gets your muscles used to working for a long time. The longer the distance you do in training the less you will hurt in the days following the race.

  • Thanks everyone for all your advice image, one of my gym instructors is a regular half runner and it was she who told me to go furtherimage, I think I'll just hang back and maybe do the odd 12 or 10 once a week and maybe max out the other runs at about 8, Im not looking for a PB just yet maybe just to complete within a certain time frame but as its my 1st just to finish will be ace!image.  I usually run 3 times a week on a mon, wed and fri and then spin tues and sat, with football training on a thurs and sun if i havent got a matchimage.........I have dropped a spin class once a week to give me a day off and rest in order for me to run at least one long run....

    Thanks everyone - hope you are all coping with the humidity and mozzies if your runtime are in the evenings.

  • Be careful with the footy training near the race Rachael! Unless you play in a particularly pleasant team, or you're a pansy flair player, there's always the risk of getting cronked, and missing the key race!

  • i cant believe someone told you to run 15mile per run, no offence but i think its a tad careless to tell a fairly new runner to do that because its basically a recipe for injury.

    as others have said if you simply want to get round then you`ll not be needing to do the race distance or further, you`d probably get away with 10miles as a long run really. if you can handle the extra miles in training without getting injured it will help make the race itself to be a generally more comfertable and enjoyable experience.

    you only need to do more mileage when your going for times to be honest, otherwise mileage is a bit pointless if your doing it for the sake of it.

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