>Racing>Half-Marathon Long Runs, Injury, and Tapering
I'm mostly a lurker but was hoping I could get some advice.
I'm currently training for my 4th half-marathon (never done anything longer). It's next Saturday 5/3. I slacked on my training after a while (Wisconsin in February is the worst) and had been building back up, but had some sciatic issues that caused me to cut a couple long runs short. My longest run was 9 miles about two and a half weeks ago, at a 9:20 pace.
The back issues are fixed now I think, and I'd like to do 1 more long run before the race. Would this Friday be too late to run 10 or 11 miles? I want to make sure I give myself enough time to recover before the race.
I'm also going back and forth on pacing. I've been getting faster and feeling good otherwise, and was originally hoping for under 1:50 (8:23 pace), but I'm not sure my training really supports that. Current PB from last June is 1:54. I ran a 10k in early Feb in 49:38 (8:00 pace), which McMillan says should put me right at a 1:50 HM. Any thoughts?
ETA: My real goal is my first marathon in October, so I want to try to stay as healthy as possible since I know I'll be increasing my mileage substantially over the next few months.
I don't think the longest run of your current training cycle 8 days before the race is a good idea. It probably takes a couple of weeks for the body to benefit from a training stimulus.
If this is a goal race I would just run another 9 miler this Friday. Otherwise since you already run a bit low mileage would run 11 miles and expect the race to be a bit of a struggle (you will likely be carrying a bit of fatigue from that 11 miler), but now you know you can run 25 miles (plus whatever short runs you'd be doing the next week) over 8 days, and doing that kind of mileage (or more) is what will likely help you get faster.
McMillan would assume you've put in HM training. So it's not really accurate. You haven't done that training and it's a little late to try now. I'd say shoot for a 1:53 PB. Anything else you have left in the tank for the last 2 miles is gravy.
It's sort of like a test is coming up and you'd be better off being rested than pulling an "all-nighter".
Given this isn't your main goal, I'd say the risk of thinking you were too conservative and left 2 minutes on the course is better than blowing up with 3 miles left in the race.
In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion
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Nothing you do within about 10 days of a race is going to "add" to fitness. The goal of runs within the 10-day window is to maintain fitness. Pushing the distance also runs the risk of re-injuring the back.
Perhaps, a total run of 8 miles broken up as 3 at recovery pace to warmup, 3 at goal race pace, 2 at recovery pace to cool down.
2014 Goals: First Marathon - BQ2016 <3:40 - 1/2M <1:45 - 5K <22:00
2014 Marathons: 05/04 Flying Pig (3:49:02) - 09/20 Air Force - 11/01 Indianapolis Monumental
Ekat - what race are you running on 5/3? If it is Door County I am pacing the 1:50 group, so you can run with my group if you decide to go for it.
I wouldn't run the long run, unless you literally did it today. Otherwise you pretty much gain nothing since most say you don't benefit from a long run in terms of fitness until 10-14 days out. You're just putting yourself in position to go into the race with dead legs.
As for pace, 1:50 seems pretty aggressive looking at your log. If you decide to go for it make sure and really pace well by starting slow those first 3-4 miles or so.
Thanks for your ideas everyone. You've pretty much confirmed my thinking. I'll probably just do a few mid-length runs and take what I can get on race day.
"I don't think the longest run of your current training cycle 8 days before the race is a good idea. It probably takes a couple of weeks for the body to benefit from a training stimulus."
Good point. I should know that but didn't think of it for some reason...
"Perhaps, a total run of 8 miles broken up as 3 at recovery pace to warmup, 3 at goal race pace, 2 at recovery pace to cool down."
I like this idea!
"Ekat - what race are you running on 5/3? If it is Door County I am pacing the 1:50 group, so you can run with my group if you decide to go for it."
I'm running the WI Marathong half down in Kenosha.
Obviously I need to get off my ass and be more consistent. Maybe having you all tell me that will help
Update: Suggested 8-mile run went great. I decided to aim for an 8:30 pace the first 5 miles and then adjust 10 seconds/mile up or down depending on how I felt. Managed to finish in 1:50:00 (talk about cutting it close!) with minimal injury issues. I'm sure I'm going to regret this tomorrow...