Am I ready? (13.1m)

Hi All,

 Looking for some experienced guidance as to whether I am ready to take part in two races that I have scheduled over the next two months. I am looking to compelte these in good times (specified below). baring in mind that I have only been running since October 2012

 Race 1: 10 miles (aiming for 90 minutes on an undurating road course) - January 20th

 Race 2: 13.1 miles BRIGHTON HALF Marathon - (aiming for 1:55 on a relatively flat course) - February 17th

 Since October I have been out on 37 runs, covering a total of 334 miles so far. This weekend gone I completed a long sunday run of 10 miles in 1 hour 27 minutes on empty roads

I normally get out to run 3 times a week, twice in the week (shorter runs of about 6 miles) and once at the weekend ( around 8 - 12 miles on average). I am reasonably happy that I can complete the 10 mile run in a few weeks as I have done this already. However in my one attempt to cover 13.1 miles so far I managed to do it, but then had calf cramps for a week and it took a toll on my ability to get out and train.

 I guess what I am looking for is a) some advice on whether I am on the right track to complete the races, and 2) some advice on what to do now I am in the weeks leading up to these.

 Many thanks



  • I'm sure you can do these - but maybe look at your training. You didnt run 10 miles in 1.27 - you Raced 10 miles.  You're meant to do that in races. Not training. Same with the 13.1 miles.

    Run at a steady chatty pace for most of your miles.

    Do one session of speedwork a week.

    Do some tempo session in a run where you simulate race pace for a mile or two. 


    Racing every session hinders your training - as you take too long to recover and improve. 


    If you train smart you'll be fine.  If you race everywhere you'll get injured and be out of the game and the best runner in the world cant improve when injured. 

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    For the 10 miler, its two weeks away so theres nothing positive you can do in training that will help you go faster as it takes about two weeks for the effects of training to become visible.  However, its still possible to have a negative impact on your performance by running too fast in the next couple of weeks.  

    Try and run at least 30 seconds per mile slower in each session over the next two weeks, and maybe run one mile less per session this week and two miles less per session next week.  This will keep your legs ticking over ready for the race, whilst giving your body the chance to store some additional energy for the race.

    Once you've completed the 10 miler, you should have more confidence going into the half-marathon as you'll have experienced racing conditions.

    And remember, the best bit of racing at a new distance is that you are guaranteed a personal best! 

  • Thank you, both, for your replies - this is very helpful.

    This may sound naive, but I actually find it difficult to run any slower than the pace mentioned above, especially outdoors (the gym is easy to moderate speed but it's extremely boring!). I tend to find that when I am at that pace, my body just feels as though it is moving more efficiently in terms of gait and landings etc.


    I completely accept your point on running slower / trying to get in some temp and speed runs. My main scare is that I will do something silly and be unable to complete either of them! (I have taken part in a 10k race before but that is my only experience to date). I will make sure that I start the actual race about 2/3 pack in the pack and play it steasy, especially as the 10 mile race is mostly uphill.


    Also another quick Q, what is the best way to run down hill? - In my experience it has always been very tough on my knees as I always feel that I am 'stopping' myself from accelerating



  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    The running slower thing is difficult at first, as it feels counter-intuitive and as you say it can feel a little awkward.  This is why most new runners fall into the trap of running hard enough that it feels like your expending effort (e.g. heavyish breathing etc) but not so hard that your worried that you'll blow up before the end of the run.  Unfortunately this level of exertion is the least effective at improving fitness as your body is too busy repairing itself to make positive adaptations and the pace isn't high enough to stretch your lactate/VO2 limits.   

    Try looking at your running form when doing it, and try and make sure your not slouching etc - by practicing it at a slower pace you'll get the benefit at higher paces.  

    I wish I had the answer for downhill running!  As a latecomer to running after many years of cycling it came as a bit of shock to find that the downhills required just as much effort as going uphill.  I try to stop myself leaning too far backwards and concentrate on landing mid-foot rather than heel striking, but it still hurts the thighs.

  • I got battered on the hilly Keswick Half by a woman - I'd pass her on a climb and she'd come blasting past on the downhill.  

    Now I'm ok at downhills - you have to almost stop your running and just use gravity. Let the legs turnover nice and fast and you'll pass lots of people for no effort. 

  • Re. downhill, try to keep your knees slightly bent and relax your legs. That way all your natural shock-absortion comes into play. Unfortunately this is very difficult to do if your quads and/or glutes are already trashed and tightened up, but otherwise it works!

  • Ok guys!

    It's now just under 4 weeks until my half marathon, and i'm getting worried that I am not going to be ready. The recent snowfall in my part of the UK (London) has made it extremely difficult to run outside, especially in the early mornings (5am) when it is -5 degrees outside.

    Like I mentioned before, back in early december I could cover about 7 miles twice a week, and then around 10 miles at a weekend, is this going to be enough to see me through a 13.1 miler. The problem is Over christmas I have not trained as much as I feel I should have, and due to the weather feel unable to 'test' my ability!



  • Yes. If you can get another 10 / 11 miler in just to reassure yourself.  You might not get the speed quite as quickly as you want for your half, but you should be able to do it.  You aren't going to magically forget how to run with a period of running a bit less.  Might do you good resting your body.  Relax, go out and run when you can.  If you cannot if possible do a bit of gym work, or run on a treadmill.  If you cannot do any of them just relax, and run when / if you can.  Seriously you know you can do 10 miles already it's not much further and there will be people cheering you on so the start and the finish are taken care off, as your so excited you won't notice the first few km, and the last km well i'm sure even if you feel crap you will drag yourself over the line.  So don't worry image

  • Hi Tom, what stopped you going out yesterday? I'm in south-east London (Croydon/Beckenham area) and I did 30 miles!

    Only you can decide whether you are ready. Many people run half-marathons having never done more than about 10 miles in training. I'd guess that you can certainly complete it, but quite possibly will not do as well as you would have hoped to do, and if things go badly you might even need a run/walk strategy towards the end. However, it's all good experience. If you decide to go ahead, then set off at a conservative pace, and complete it - then you have a time you can aim to beat on the next occasion. Good luck.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    As others have said, don't worry too much.

    You are better trained than a large proportion of the entrants, as you've been building up to this time.  

    This weather defnitiely divides opinion, many have gone out regardless whilst others (including myself) have weighed up the risk of injury through falls etc against the benefits of training, and decided to rest.   

    The conditions will improve later in the week, so go for a long run on the weekend and see how you go.  You probably don't want to leave it later than this week-end as it gives you three weeks to build up your reserves for the race.

    I'm assuming your 10m race was cancelled yesterday?  

Sign In or Register to comment.