pracetice race or use as a long run?

Hi all

Hope all is good, im new to the forum so hope you can help,

Currently doing a 16 week training program for the london marathon ( to complete in sub 4 hopefully) and in week 7 completed my first 13 miler of the year last weekend.

This is my first marathon and ive got no experience of road running competions only tough guy back in 2010. Therefore would really like to get in a few taster events but should i run them as a race or as a training long run? as ive recently been told to start slowing my long runs down to about a 9:40-10m/mile pace currently running them at av 9:22.

Below are the week numbers and long runs i have left.

wk 7 14 miles

wk8 16 miles

wk9 18 miles

wk 10 10 miles

wk 11 20 miles

wk 12 10 miles

wk 13 22 miles

wk 14 12 mies

wk 15 8 miles

wk 16 VLM


Any advice/suggestions would be great






  • As a highly experienced marathon runner, with 1 marathon under my belt, image, I'd say that it's normal to run a half marathon as part of the training.  Maybe also do some shorter ones... like a 5K "Park Run" would be good too.

    The advice to run your long slow runs at 10 minute miles is good - in fact 10:10 to 10:30 per mile might be best, assuming you're doing a hill or interval session sometime in the week. It took me a while to work out the value in this...

    I'd definitely say have a half marathon race in your programme... a few weeks before race day.  Do it as a training run but if you're human, you'll want to achieve something.

    So for your sanity, I'd allow myself to run at 9:09 pace.   It will be good experience at learning what it feels like for a long period.  But try not to be too competitive.  Just beat the 2hrs by 30 seconds or so...  don't get dragged into knocking an extra 2 or 5 minutes off it!  If you do, you'll take too much out of yourself and take value out of the following week's training - for little extra benefit.

    You could also fit in a 5K Park run as one of your speed sessions...  no problem in racing that, IMO.  A 10K might be nice ... but not sure.  It's a bit long for you to run at full speed (without knackering yourself)... but not long enough for that real 'long run' road racing experience.

    Good luck.

  • Cheers for the advice,

    Was looking to take part in the ashby 20 but might just use this as a long training run instead and focus on a race pace half marathon.



  • I think either is a good idea. Sounds like you are on the right track. Both will be good training and race conditions will be good experience. Key is, as you stated, race pace half or easier training pace 20.
  • Similar question, so thought I'd put here and save starting another thread...

    Doing the MK marathon (6th May)...and in similar position to Simon in that I have no road race experience (only x country). Looking at doing either the Thames Riverside 20 mile on 3rd March or the Hyde Park 20mile one on 24th March. The first one might be a little soon (last LSR was 16.5, planning on doing 18 this Sunday, and then it would be 2 sundays later so probably my first 20 miler), but then this might give me lots of time to work off the time? Or should I go with the later one? Also, should I race this at what I hope would be marathon pace or as a slow training run?  (I'm aiming for sub 4.15, but off recent runs this seems quite possible, so ambitionally aiming for sub 4, but probably this would be my 2nd marathon aim!)

    Any advice would be great, thanks 

  • This sounds silly, but it's also worth doing a half marathon just to get a taste of what running a road race is actually like and to get some experience in turning up on time, using the loos, preparing yourself (physically and mentally) on race day. Even if you have a bad experience (and they're rare), you learn something from doing it. I personally would be tempted more to use the half as a training run, perhaps not going for full race pace until the last four or five miles, if it's possible for you to speed up in the last few miles.

  • I think the OP meant the half at marathon race pace, therefore a training race. At least what I thought he meant. Obviously what Peter says about race experiences isn't silly because that's what I said.
  • Doing brighton half marathon this weekend as part of my marathon training program. Have done a half before with a time of 1:55. I've been seen programs for a sub 4 marathon time that suggest you aim for 1:50-1:52 which makes sense to me.

  • Thanks all for your responses,

    emphasisng my point it was just really to get road race experience should i do a half or a 20 miler at race pace (or close to) before big day.

    Still doing an easy run, tempo and 1 long run a week along side 2 strength sessions, i just dont want to overdo anything or impair any future training



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