Half marathon during marathon training

Hi All,

I have a half marathon coming up in a couple of weeks as part of my marathon training schedule (7 weeks until race) I plan to race the half marathon to get a good gauge of what time I can go for in the marathon (Current PB is just under 1hr 25- if i take a couple of minutes off this conmfortably will consider going for a sub 3 marathon if not will stick to original goal of 3:05-10) was just wondering if I should do a "mini taper" before this race or continue training as normal?



    You don't really want to lose a week's training by tapering too much and I don't think that during marathon training it's necessary to taper for a half.

    But you could rejig your week, take a rest day the day before your half and any speed sessions move to the early part of the week, then your legs should be fresh for the race.

    Good idea to race the half as this will be the best indicator of how your marathon training is going and as you say give you a guide of what pace to aim for on marathon day.

    Good luck, hope you get that PB.
  • @SHADES just to ask re your point on a half being a good indicator of how your marathon training is going...

    how might you use info from a bad race to adjust? I recently did a half marathon in the midst of marathon build up - similar timing to OP. i was hoping for 1.40 (5 min PB, although i've never really trained solely for half) and died in last 5 km. Should i adjust marathon expectations? I was hoping for 3.30- 3.35 on a flat course (i did 3.43 last year in first on Dublin, which is a bit hilly). 

    my marathon is end of sept and i had been doing really well, until last few weeks...

    Christine - I would expect if marathon training is going well that a half marathon PB would be almost expected.   This is because the marathon training gives you that endurance to hold race pace especially in shorter races.

    A 5 minute PB in a half is quite a big expectation so maybe that was a little over ambitious, but you know your training paces and how your training has been going.   But there are times when we all have a bad race and often not for any obvious reason, we can't all feel brilliant every day and sometimes it just doesn't happen even if you didn't make any of the usual mistakes like going off too fast.

    You can use a race predictor using your recent half to give you a guide for your marathon, but a lot depends on your training.   There are many other factors to consider too.  Weather/nutrition etc.  It maybe that at this stage of your training you are a bit weary, the most common reason for this is running your long runs too fast.

    I've done Dublin 15 times and it's not hilly, it's one of the fastest marathon courses around.    Which marathon are you doing?
  • i had done a 45 minuted 10 k, so i think i was expecting the 1.40 to be within reach. ok - i live in Denmark, so i def count dub as a bit hilly - it's not Danish flat! Doing the HCA marathon in Odense. 

    i have been doing some MP chunks in my long runs. 

    i dont have a recent HM to use to predict - other than the 'bad' one. would you back off a bit now on training? i have one more long run scheduled - 32km. i have been doing these in around 5.30 pace (feeling great), and then last weekend, 5.45 (1 week post bad half, and i didn't feel fantastic). 
    Christine - I haven't done the marathon in Odense, but you are obviously used to very flat courses.

    Yes, a 45 min 10k does mean that your expectation of a 1:40 half was reasonable.

    I've just put your current half PB (1:45) in a training pace calculator and it does seem you've been training too fast for your long runs, pace should be 5:49 to 6:49 for long runs.   

    So I would suggest that you need to ease up, especially as you didn't have a great long run last weekend.   This weekend do say 12 miles at slower long pace, then following weekend 14 miles and last weekend pre race 10 miles.   Ditch any MP sections, what you want now is to recover your energy so you feel strong and healthy on that start line with some bounce in your legs.  Eat and sleep well and you should be feeling ready to take on that marathon course.

  • I was thinking about this

    SHADES said:
    Christine - I would expect if marathon training is going well that a half marathon PB would be almost expected.   This is because the marathon training gives you that endurance to hold race pace especially in shorter races.

    And wondering if this really makes sense - a half marathon PB from good marathon training is to be expected. i would expect that a half marathon PB would come more readily from a good half marathon plan, no? 

    maybe it's because you're giving me an answer i don't want to hear (i fully expect myself to be able to improve because i put in the hours and i'm disciplined with diet & sleep). i am just a bit miffed as to what i should aim for in the marathon now - i know it's a death wish to go out to fast....
    Christine - no, I would expect a half marathon PB to be easier to attain from a marathon plan as the longer runs increases endurance and gives the ability to hold race pace for longer.

    You maybe just had a bad race, followed by a disappointing long training run.   You have to put those behind you and run easy until you feel confident again.   The mind is a very powerful tool in distance running and if you worry about your marathon time and whether you can reach your goal it will have a negative effect and make you miserable.

    Marathon training rarely goes to plan, we're human and it's not an exact science.   All you can do is train to the best of your ability and run the race the best you can on the day.    You may still achieve your target time on race day, don't be so hard on yourself.

    Your marathon training is done now, so you just need to be kind to yourself now and prepare as best you can now for race day.    
  • thanks for encouragement Shades! 

    i went a bit 'off plan' yesterday and did 13.1 training run in 1.39.59. massive confidence boost, at least i know i am fitter, and the training has had an impact. now to recover, recover, recover. 

    do you think 3.30 or 3.35 is unreasonable to aim for in 14 days? 
    Christine - that's great that you've had a really good training run and it's restored your confidence.

    Taper well and I think as long as you feel good on race day go out at no faster than 3:27 pace, that's 7:55 min/mile or 4:55 min/km, see how you feel at halfway.  OK you might slow a little in the 2nd half but you should still be on for a good PB.

    Good luck and do come back here to tell us how the race went.
  • DEF no faster than 3.27. if i hit 3.30 i will be over the freakin' moon! thanks again :) 
    You're welcome, have a great race.
  • 3.29.40!

    went out with the 3.30 pacemaker, who i ended up leaving (there was only one guy and he ended up far behind-  bad day at the office, poor guy :neutral:). 

  • Brilliant! Congratulations, sounds like you ran the perfect race!

    With less than a month to my race great to hear of someone who stuck to a plan and got the result they wanted, was beginning to have a few doubts and this has put my mind at ease somewhat :)
  • i had all the doubts...and felt i wasn't getting the results i should have been. i had been consistent in my training - didn't miss a session, and thankfully it all paid off. it's a great feeling when it does come together. 

    wishing you a great result also! 
    Christine - congratulations, great running.   You worked hard for that result and it paid off, be very proud of yourself.

    trev84 - be strong, stick to your race plan.   
  • Well done Christine - great result!
  • aww, thanks Cal! now to decide what I should do next. Now that there's a big marathon-shaped hole in my life.....
    Enter another marathon :)
  • oooh, or would you focus on the shorter stuff to improve a bit more at the longer stuff ultimately? i'm trying to consider what a sensible next marathon goal might be. i'd like 3.20 but perhaps that's just too big a jump for April next year.

     i've done 45 min 10k, 21.10 5k, and no reasonable recent half marathon. decisions...decisions 
    Christine - you've achieved your goal for this year.   So now just enjoy your running and choose your next goal, whatever you fancy.

    Maybe aim for 3:20 next autumn and a good half PB in the spring
  • I have a place in London ya see, so bit of a decision as to whether to go for it with training for that, or just run it to enjoy/ experience London. 
    Christine - oh, tricky decision to make then.  Maybe see how the training goes through the winter and decide nearer the time whether to race London for a good time or just run it to enjoy the occasion.
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