1st half marathon- last couple of weeks

I'm running my first half marathon in just over two weeks. I've been training for the last three months but have been quite lax on increasing mileage. Basically I'm now up to 11miles but am incredibly tired. Any advice for the next two weeks? And most importantly what should I do in the days leading up to it?


  • When did you run 11 miles? How long ago? What is a typical weeks training for you?
  • Hi jess, I guess it depends what your goals are.... Firstly if completion is your main aim then you're pretty much there if you've done 11 miles, so well done on getting up to that mileage. Most novice training plans don't have a long run much further than that. Pushing yourself for a final 11-12m this weekend is probably what the average schedule would say, and doing a long run is always the key run of the week so stick to that routine. However I guess the exact length of the run should depend on exactly how sore and tired you are - you have to listen to your body.

    Most HM schedules i've seen have a slightly reduced long run the weekend before. In the days leading up to it then do..... very little. Except for eat sensible, well balanced food, but don't do too much differently, keep hydrated, avoid alcohol etc etc..... Do a 2-3 mile run 2 days before the HM and generally rest and avoid doing obviously daft things like playing 5 aside football on the Friday night, like I did before one HM.

    Other opinions I'm sure are available....!
  • As Andy said,  11 miles in training is the longest run that most plans would suggest.  For my first half marathon I didn't go over 11 miles in training, as it added to the "special" nature of my first HM event that it was the first time I'd achived that distance.

    If you are following a plan from a website/book etc, the amount of running should reduce over the next two weeks (commonly referred to as the "taper").  If your not following a prescribed plan, then reduce the distance of your runs by 10% two weeks before, and then reduce by 20% in the final week, so if you normally run 5 miles on a Weds you'd do 4.5 miles next week, and then 4 miles in the week before the race.  This will give your body some time to build up its energy reserves for the big day.

    Also remember the old training adage that it takes two weeks for the effect of training to become apparent in your performance - so don't be tempted to try and squeeze more "quality" training into the last couple of weeks, as it will not improve your race performance (and in many case would reduce it).

  • I am also training for my first HM and my longest run is only planned to be 12 miles.
  • me too image 1st half is 28th october. really excited to get some more distance, furthest ive done so far is 9.6 miles but i ran out of road lol

  • I'm also training for my first half marathon.  Mine is in 4 weeks and I'm terrified I won't be ready.  My longest run so far is 7 miles but I'm planning on doing 9miles for my long run this week.  I'm actually more worried about getting my head in the right place because I've had a few setbacks in my personal life these last few weeks and I constantly doubt myself.  How do you stay positive and focussed?

  • Don't push it in the last 2 weeks, realx, keep the legs turining over, do a couple of shortish runs at planned race pace, to get your head around the correct pace, but don't knacker yourself, as stutry said- you won't gain much rom the stuf you do in the last 2 weeks, and you need to be resting. If you can make it to 10 miles OK on race day, you'll finish- adrenaline will pull you through, and a few days rest before race day will help.


    Good luck!

  • Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Unfortunately I don't need an excuse to cut down on my mileage image and I never ever knew that two weeks thing, so thanks for that too.

    I haven't had much of a set routine as I work shifts, but I normally try to do a long run early in the week and then a few shorter ones. Most weeks I'll do maybe 2 lots of 5 miles and a 5k as well as the long run and also spend one day in the gym doing other cardio and a bit of conditioning.

    I can't quite believe how far I've come if I'm honest. I entered because I life was a bit stagnant and I was miserable - I literally couldn't even manage a mile - and just wanted something to aim for. It's been really great for my confidence and general happiness image

    Tamara: If you can get up to 10 miles the week before I think you'll be fine. Especially if yu've faced adversity the feeling of how much you've achieved despite that will be immense!

    So from what you all say, I should be fine. I just hope I don't have a bad running day on race day. One day last week I couldn't even manage 2 miles!!
  • my longest run before my first HM was 11miles which was 2 weeks before it, then I tapered, save your legs, you will find that the adrenalin, the whole experience and the crowd support and the runners support will take you through it

    do abit of swimming or cycling now too that will help and yes eating properly will also help Dont forget to carb load the night before and have a breakfast such as porridge is good to help you on the morning of the marathon

    Incidentally which HM are you doing?  You might find there will be other people there from RW, i have met loads of runners off here and thats also a massive boost to help you

  • So it sounds like youre all almost there with the training and therefore just enjoy it. When you're on the start just remember that thousands of people have started from scratch like yourself and completed Halfs after longest runs of 9-11. Only a tiny % stop during the race - the majority who dont achieve their goal are those that entered but didn't do the training and therefore aren't even on the start line....
  • Jess, I had never run a half marathon before last Saturday and have done 2 now. All I can say is have a couple of days rest before the race and just do a bit of stretching.   had only run 11 miles before my first half and that was about three weeks before.

    The advice I was given was that if you can run between 9 and 11 miles you will finish the race with all the adrenaline and the crowd pushing you on. The most important thing is enjoy it as I have loved every minute of the two I have done in the last 8 days.

    Best of luck BL259

  • 12 miles done today. That's it now seriously going to wind down!

    Thanks I
  • You've done plenty Jess, enjoy your taper and relax! You will hopefully really enjoy your first HM. 12 miles long run is plenty, and it proves you can definitely do it. Aint nothing stopping you doing that last mile! image

  • Let us know how you get on next week, also be warned that 'taper madness' can kick in about now, pre race helplessness when you've completed your training and instead start dreaming about missing race starts and wondering if you've forgotten how to run. I'm in that now too with a marathon in 2 weeks, just ignore it all and concentrate on getting organised for race day. Enjoy.
  • Hey Jess

    So glad you got to 12 miles.  Looking forward to hearing how you've done.  I completed 9 miles last week on my long run and I'm going for 11 this week.  If I manage that I'll be really pleased.  3 weeks to go for me.  Cannot believe I actually signed up to do this and have stuck with it - I tend not to stick with things.  Terrified but so much want to do this.

    Good luck Jess and thanks to everyone else for your advice x

  • Hi guys. Just thought I'd pop by and let you know how I got on.

    I did it in 2.29.10 which to say my target was 2.40 I'm very chuffed with. I really enjoyed it too..the route was a bit boring but it was good anyway.

    I reckon I could have gone faster in places too, felt a bit dizzy and breathy just after half way for a couple of minutes but apart from that i was fine. Just needed to do one to convince myself I could get round, next time i'llbe much fasterimage

    Thanks for your help and support guys. Couldn't have done it without you image
  • Well done Jess, thats fantastic.... hopefully youre still buzzing. Thanks for the appreciation, i'd love to claim some of the credit but a few words on the page are nothing in comparison to the hours of training and commitment youve put in!

    I like the reference to 'next time'... and you could always give a marathon a go!   

    Good luck the others who've still got theirs to do as well...

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