Increasing speed and mileage

Hi - This is my first post here. I'm training for my first half marathon which is in 4 weeks. It's all going well so far. I'm trying to get a bit faster, I had been happy enough plodding along at 11min/mile and not really thinking about it. However the more I run - the more I want to get out of it, so having read about how to increase speed I've started to incorporate some intervals and just generally push myself a bit harder. I did an 11 mile run on Sunday in the time it took me to do a 10mile run the previous Sunday. - Yay. But I certainly felt it for a few hours! Anyway... None of my friends run, and I probably just get on their nerves talking about it. I spend a lot of time deliberating joining a running club, but just not quite got to the point where I feel I want to. So I'm here.image Any advice on increasing speed while also increasing mileage for the half marathon - greatly received.


  • If you had more time great....

    As you only have 2 weeks, and it takes between 2 and 4 weeks to actually feel the beneficial effects of extra training it's not worth trying to hard to up both your speed and your distance now for a half that is only 4 weeks away. 

    You risk getting injured, and wasting the efforts you've put in up to now.  Carry on how you are training and stick to whatever plan you have, but as you know you can do 11m at x speed keep using that as your base training speed I guess?

    Once you have got your target half marathon out of the way, and run that as hard as you can take a week to recover, then, sort out your next plan, and plan from the beginning to use a lot more speed work, look around for a more challenging plan for the next race.

    Might not be the best advice or what you want to hear, but with only 4 weeks to go, It's the best advice I can give, settle for training properly, and then blasting this half.  Then using that time, you can then help to calculate and work out how much quicker you want to get.

    If you want a bit of speed work, try parkruns each Saturday morning, free timed 5k runs each week, they are an ideal way of judging how speed work is going.

  • Hi Nell, welcome along. Sounds like you are doing well so far, and it is encouraging that you want to go faster image I also deliberate joining a club on a near daily basis but the not knowing anyone aspect puts me off a bit at the moment!

    I'm guessing you are following some sort of plan? Its difficult to advise without knowing the plan and your current weekly mileage and across how many sessions you are doing, but the usual would be 2 quality sessions (In your case, an interval session and a long slow run (LSR)) with any others being at easy pace.

    The main recommendation you'll get here will be to keep your weekly long run slow, regardless if you feel you can go faster. The speed work during the week (Intervals) will be beneficial come race day but with only a couple of weeks to go it will be negligible, but the LSR is about training a different type of aerobic system. 

    Additionally if you run the LSR too fast, you'll end up tiring yourself out and your other sessions may suffer and you could end up hurting yourself.

    Hopefully your plan starts to taper off in a couple of weeks too.


    Remember, the time for speed + distance at the same time is the race itself! Don't burn out in training. 

  • You are well on track if you are up to 11 miles with 4 weeks of training to go. I'm no expert, in fact I am a first timer just like yourself but my advice is to just keep doing things the way you are. You want to have that great enthusiasm for the race. It would be a shame if you were to spoil it by trying too hard in training. You have the rest of your life to get faster. image

  • Thanks  all image - this all makes a lot of sense. I did the 11 miles in 1 hour 57. I am following a plan, but it doesn't go beyond 10 miles. I really want to feel what its like to go the full 13 miles before I do the race. Sometimes I look at other plans and see if I can sort've mix them up. I'm putting in around 21-23 miles per week.

  • So essentially I'm 'saving' my self for the race? Does this mean I run faster than I ever have in my LSR's before - in the second half of the race at least? With the first have being similar to my usual LSR's? thanks 

  • By tapering off, you basically are then recharging your energy stores for the race. Your last long run should be about 3 weeks out.  Subsequent mileage should then drop off and the week before you should just do light jogging and maybe one short intense session. So in theory your lung runs could be 12m, 9m, 6m, Race. This is my pre-half taper, others may have different views. Then adjust midweek sessions appropriately too.

    The combination of recharged batteries and race day adrenaline should mean you are able to go faster than in training. My first half marathon I was over a minute per mile quicker than my long training runs.

    Some people do advocate a negative split (First have slower than the second) but my personal tactic is to try and maintain an even pace. But that will vary according to personal preference.

  • Ah I see. Thanks mattywarr. I think I prefer the constant steady approach, that usually means I can run quite fast in the last 1-2 miles.

  • Hi Nell, well done on your achievements so far.  Half Marathon is a great achievement too, it's still a long way.  I wouldn't recommend running 13 miles in training, there really is no need.  You only need to get up to 10 before race day.  It makes the challenge even more fun, knowing you've never ran that far before.   Good luck, enjoy the day.

  • Thanks Pipski, I hear so many conflicting opinions on how far to go in training. But I really felt that 11miles last Sunday, so I'm feeling kinda scared...can I really run 13miles? I want so badly to do myself proud and still feel strong at the end. Perhaps the way to do that is to stick at around 10 miles in training? Plus I just need to deal with the fact that this is my first HM and it's going to be an acheivement just to finish it.

  • ..Why is it that in training its suggested increasing mileage in LSR's by 1/2 mile or a mile each run, but you only need to do 10 in training for a 13 mile run?

  • Because you don't want to wear yourself out running the full distance.  The adrenalin and general fitness levels will get you the extra bit.  Same in a marathon you only do 20 - 22m in training.

    Hey it's only a 5k  you can easily do a 5k so you run 10 miles, and then you have an extra 5k and then you are home image

  • The training is just that 'training' the 'race' is when you want to peak and have all your energy. So if you have over trained then you won't do your best.

    If you end up running quite a few half marathons then you might end up wanting to go further maybe even upto 15 miles so you have really good stamina, and the 13 is easy but for the first couple don't over do it I guess is the plan theory.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    Nell - well done for getting out there.

    Just two things to add.  I heard a comment along the lines of "If you were planning on climbing Mount Everest, you wouldn't climb it 3-weeks before to see if you could do it".  I think that applies here as well.  Try and trust your training and I'm sure you'll be fine. As booktrunk mentions, if you end up doing a few halfs then you may end up even training over the distance, but based on what you've said I'd stick to 10-11 and leave the 13.1 for race day.

    Also, regarding the joining of a club I'd recommend to just do it.  It's the best thing I've done for my running.  I too was nervous about joining, but if you find one that caters for your requirements I think you'll get a lot out of it.  My club is relatively large and has different groups for different requirements, as well as having a big social calendar  image

    Good luck!

  • I like that one!! image

  • Ah it becomes clear! I get it image Thanks. I think I will do this Half and then check out my local Tuesday running club. 



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