Calling half marathon types

For all you half marathon types following training schedules, what constitues a 'long' run?? Mine is around 10 miles and I'm doing around 1:45 race times.....should I be doing longer 'long' runs to improve?????


  • Normally your long runs would be excess of your race distance, except for marathons. For half marathons I normally reckon that 15 miles is a good long run.
  • You're getting good times on that Richard, so it obviously works for you. I would say 10 miles is perfectly adequate distance.

    For the GNR my longest road run, apart from a
    1/2 m the month before was 8 miles and I only did one of those. I don't like doing long road runs apart from racing as I find it boring; I do run 2-3 hour on the hills every so often, I reckon that's enough to maintain endurance until marathon training starts. Sadly that has to involve longer road runs!

  • I like to do over the distance at least once in the lead up to the race - just to add a bit extra confidence – In the lead up to the GNR by longest run was 16½-mile (but at a much reduced pace)

  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    My last half marathon really benefitted from having done a 15 mile run beforehand. I took 7 mins off my (albeit still slow) PB. However, as Laura says, offroad is better, so if you can do a couple of 2 hour trail runs, that would be ideal. Especially if there are hills involved too.
  • Typically, I find 15-16 milers to be good, at a steady pace (maybe 1-1.25 minutes per mile slower than goal pace for the half).
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    I've been doing several runs of 16.5 miles over the summer , along with marginally quicker 10-13 mile runs.
    Part of this however is because I aim for a spring marathon so don't want to let go of the endurance run overthe summer/autumn.

    If halfM was my longest race distance, I'd still try and do the occasional run in excess of 13 miles. Given your a 1.45 runner (similar to me) then try the odd run towards 2 hours , but slower than race pace.

  • I would say 10 is the mimimum for a half if your goal is to enjoy it. If you want to set a PB then you are into running 14 to 16 say every other week (10 on the between weeks) with the last one about 3 weeks before your race. I would also suggest that 1:30 to 2:00 mins slower than race pace is fine.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭
    I do the same as Marmite Master. It's a nice feeling to start a half with no doubt that you can cover the distance. If you've done a couple of 15-milers or beyond, the 13.1 miles are much less intimidating.
  • Hmmm...if 15+ mile training runs are the order of the day, looks like I won't be thinking seriously about half-marathon PBs until the spring. I haven't done more than 13.5 miles in training and won't fit anything much over that in before Cheddar. So that's something to keep me out of mischief over the winter.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Although not essential a few long runs of 15miles + certainly helps, especially if do the final 3 or 4 miles at 1/2 marathon pace of faster.
  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    Your pace of 1:45 is fairly similar to me (tend to vary between 1:40 - 1:50). If you don't want to go for extra distance, then you could make the miles harder by using hills or going off-road. This may not improve your basic speed but should improve muscle strength so by going a few seconds per mile less should lower the PB. However, I've read in RW a few times that training for longer runs helps to improve your time on shorter distances.
  • Talking about going over distance – would anyone advocate this for marathon training? (my marathon target would be about 4hrs)

  • WW,
    not a chance! I never go more than 22 miles before a marathon.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    WW, I'd second MM on that one.
  • Definitely not. Given you long run sshould be slower that M pace you can run for the target duration but cover less miles.
  • Not normally a thread I'd follow wwith great interest, but at the moment I am still weighing up the possibility of having a crack at Helsby in January....strictly as a one-off!

    Can't see myself getting used to 15 mile runs by then, but if I reached the stage where I could manage 10 at a reasonable lick, does anyone have any thoughts as to whether that would be enough to enable me to manage the remaining 3.1 in a race without the wheels falling off?
  • Since WW's question was whether ANYONE would advocate going above the distance when training for a marathon, the answer is yes, some experts do, but most don't.
  • One of the main reasons I ask is my long term goals is an Ironman event – which is about 13 hours of racing with the latter part being a marathon – my thinking was …

    If I am eventually going to be racing for around 13 hrs in total I should be at least be able to run for 5 or so – and I thought training for London would be a good chance to test the theory, as London is not my ultimate objective – just a goal (stepping stone) on the way?
  • Wish I'd never looked at this now. Looks like I'm in a minority of one doing so little on the road. I feel distinctly lazy! Looking at my training log since my last marathon (June) I've got by on lots of 5-7 mile runs, 2 1/2 marathons and long hill runs about every 3 weeks.

    Ah well, speed session tonight, one thing at a time eh?
  • Laura, you've run times that nobody can sniff at - and some of us only run so many miles on the roads because we don't have the joys of living where you live and it's a stark choice between the road or the treadmill - or travelling to a place where we can run off-road.
  • Most of the advice you read is about 'time on feet' and I tend to subscribe to this i.e. if you half is 1:45 you should know what its like to be on you feet this length of time. I would necessarily worry about pace.
  • I've read about time on your feet too, and was trying to do this prior to doing my first half marathon, so I didn't mind if I didn't cover huge distances. But like Laura I only ran 10 miles leading up to the half marathon and ran The Beast - an off road 13 mile event - a fortnight before the half. I did 1:46:16 in the half and felt fine. As I have to mix running with cycling I don't get many runs in a week. So I was just hoping that doing 10's would be OK.
  • I think that the 10 mile mark has worked for you but may want to increase the distance a little more to improve times. I found that prior to my first half the longest I did was 12ish miles but instead of training on the roads all the time I also incorporated hilly cross country trails including a variety of terrain from canal trails to shin level muddy fields! If nothing else it certainly allowed me to know what it was like to continue running when your legs are burning with pain!! And I managed to achieve my first half in under 2 hours so it couldn't have been all bad!
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    To answer WW , I don't know of anyone who covers up to 26 miles in training however,I'm a believer in the 'time on your feet' theory.
    Therefore it may be worth going out for nearly 4 hours (at least 3h30-45) albeit at a slower pace about a month before the main race.

    My last marathon I ran in 3.31 and did the 22 milers in around 3.15 which ceratinly helped.
  • Can i upset the apple cart here, by saying that when i did my last marathon (3.33 hrs) i only trained up to 18 miles? I ran 18 miles, twice a week for the three weeeks prior to the two week taper.
    Worked for me.
    My 1/2M times are usually around 1.34 -1.35ish
  • And for the 1/2M i usually train up to 17 miles long run. Next half this Saturday (20th) and only trained up to 14 due to various other committments messin gup my training.
  • I think it very much depends on what each individual can manage and what they want out of the race.

    To achieve your best (PB) I believe for the 1/2m you need to go over the distance at least to 15miles. However, a 1/2m can easily be completed with running lesser mileage, you just won't reach your maximum potential.
    Personally you're only going to get out of a race what you put in during your training unless you are exceptionally naturally talented!
  • I have now run 5 half marathons and can honestly say I have never run further than 13.1 miles in my life..unless christmas shoping after the GNR counts.
Sign In or Register to comment.