Race a Half 2 Weeks before a Full (Read 130 times)


    I'm considering racing a half marathon 2 weeks before racing a full marathon. Brilliant tune-up for my goal race, or recipe for disaster? Discuss. What does the risk/return trade-off look like?


    About me: running for ~10 years, run 30-40 miles/week and will peak ~50-60, 3 marathons and 15 mid-distance races (half marathons, 25ks, etc.). Recovery qucikly from mid-distance runs; not so much from marathons.

    Only 26.2 miles more to go.

      The book says it would probably take you 10-14 days to fully recover from an all out half marathon race. I wouldn't recommend racing this half all out. Use it as a "work out". Warm up a couple mile then do 8-9 miles at goal marathon pace and then burn it in the last mile.  You can recover well from that work out.


      Risk-you could get injured in half and or not recover in time for the full

      Benefits - confidence, hard work out you could come back stronger from with full recovery.


      I think risk outweighs the benefits as you are already trained and pretty much ready to go 2 weeks before the full. A taper should start 2 weeks before and I personally wouldn't recommend starting the taper with an extremely hard work out/race. You want to feel good going into the full.

      Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

        ---Agree with the above, based on my limited experience.  --- Running the Half at 90%(ish) effort would be an excellent training run I would think, but running the Half at 100% full out max effort would likely have a negative impact on the Marathon performance 2 weeks later.

        The Plan '15 →   ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

        In it for the long run..

          I would do it.  You have the base for it.  I am an older runner and a few years ago (2009) I had a strong half (decade PR) followed the next week by a marathon decade PR and BQ.   I don't buy the 3 week taper stuff at all.  I think it's too long and I like my last long run (maybe 17 miles) a week or at most 2 weeks out from the marathon, so a hard half 2 weeks out would be fine.

          "It's not who wins the workout..."

          BANNED from the LLR (Ladies' Locker Room) forum at age 64.  Remember, folks, it's just running.

            DISCLAIMER -- I"M NOT AN EXPERT - However, I have an opinion....


            I'd say to use the HALF marathon as a trial....wear the same shoes, singlet, shorts, wrist band (if you wear them), Garmin and everything just like if you were running the Marathon.    THEN - Run the Half Marathon like it was the first 1/2 of the Marathon, so when you completed the HALF, you are ready to go on...


            Use it as a practice 'run' for the the first 1/2 of the Marathon that you will be running two weeks later........

            Champions are made when no one is watching

              racing a half marathon 2 weeks before racing a full marathon


              The operative word being "racing."  No.  Too close together unless you want to risk totally hosing your marathon.

              - Joe

              We are fragile creatures on collision with our judgment day.

              Bad Ass

                Two weeks is too short a time to recover to properly race the marathon, assuming the marathon is the goal race.  There will still be some lingering fatigue from racing the HM to run the marathon on pace.  I would do as Phidippides suggested and use it as a dress rehearsal.  I would even do it at MP and see how it feels at the end of it.


                That you can PR at both, yes, it can be done.  But I'm sure your PR in the marathon would be somewhat compromised by the lingering fatigue from the HM.



                "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

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                  I would not do it.  In fact, I struggled with this exact scenario a few months ago and decided not to race the half so I can say that honestly.


                  For me, it came down to risk/reward.  I decided the risk of injury or not being able to recover was greater than the reward of figuring out what my goal race time should be (which was why I was thinking of running it).  Now, if it had been one of my favorite races or something, maybe I would have tried to treat it as a training run and do it less than full effort but I don't know that I would trust myself not to race a race.

                  “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the fight in the dog. – Dwight D. Eisenhower


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                  No more marathons

                    My half and full PRs are one week apart.  Both were my first at the distances.  (Kind of sad, huh?  Sad).

                    The notes from my log for the half say that I had not intended to run that hard, but was pacing with a friend and it just felt right.  As a result of that race, my goal for the marathon went from 3:20 to 3:10 or better.  I got the better at 3:01.

                    So the questions then become:

                    1.  Could I have run a better marathon time if I hadn't run so hard the week before?

                    2.  Would I have even tried to run the marathon harder if I didn't have the confidence of the half?


                    Of course, none of this goes to answer your question.  Running the half at or maybe a little faster than marathon goal pace would be a great confidence boost (assuming, of course, that you are successful at doing that).  Racing the half MAY impact your marathon, but that depends on your own personal ability to recover (and only you would know that).  Also, you don't say if this is your first at either of these distances.  I'm guessing not since you didn't say you're running your first marathon.


                    Still didn't answer your question - so here goes.  If it were me.  I ran my BQ in Oct last year.  If there had been a half in my area two weeks before I would have raced it.  As there was not, my workouts the two weeks and the one week before were 16 and 12, both at sub marathon goal pace.  I say go for it.  Big grin

                    Boston 2014 - a 33 year journey

                    Lordy,  I hope there are tapes. 

                    He's a leaker!

                      After the recent fiasco that was my PR half marathon on Saturday, I've been looking around to see how quickly I could get that bad taste out of my mouth and get another HM run to knock that PR off with a little more respectable time.


                      I found another HM that would be 15 days before my goal marathon so I'm looking at the same option as you now.


                      It's only been 3 days since my HM and I'm already feeling pretty much recovered.  Not sure if that means I didn't race hard enough or maybe I'm just fooling myself.  I am moving my strength interval session from today to Wednesday, but that's more of a result of the weather sucks today and it is going to be nice tomorrow.  I think if I had to I could get my interval session in today.


                      My last long run on my training schedule is this weekend and I'm already doing a bastardized version of it doing a 15K race at goal marathon pace and then running 6 miles easy after I cross the finish line on that.


                      My plan calls for a MP Tempo run the weekend in question with 10 miles at MP (8:45) with 3 more miles of warmup and cooldown.  I ran my most recent HM at an average of an 8:15 pace and felt pretty good the whole way.  How much difference would it really make if I just substitute that MP Tempo run out with the HM race? Wink


                      VERY tempting.

                      Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

                      Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)

                        Tempting isa familiar word with me as well.


                        ---I'll be honest... I give advice about "don't run the Half at 100% 2 weeks out from the full", but here I am with a Half Marathon scheduled for this Saturday, and then a 24-Hour race on the following weekend, only 7 days later.   I am sitting here telling myself "I can take it easy in the half and use it as a training run, my last long run before the 24 hr event"...

                        But remembering past history and the competitive spirit that develops when you are surrounded by hundreds of other runners, I know I will be very "tempted" to set a PR in the half, even though I have a huge race only 1 week later....  My Half PR is soft... But how far can I push it without hurting my efforts in the 24....   Hmmmmmm....

                        The Plan '15 →   ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

                          The other issue for me is that this will be my first marathon, but everything is pointing to the fact that my goal time is a little bit too conservative.  I've been doing all my training based on that goal time, and lately have been feeling like my training is going really well and that my MP Tempos and my strength interval workouts are closer to moderate than comfortably hard.  With that said, I don't want to get overconfident and go out too fast on my first ever marathon so I'm planning on running it pretty conservatively and sticking with my planned goal pace for at least the first half of the race, and probably even longer than that unless I am feeling super good about things at the halfway point.


                          Based on my the avg pace that I just ran on my HM race the calculators say I should be able to run a 3:43 marathon instead of a 3:50 that I currently have as my goal time, but then again everyone says the calculators are overly optimistic on marathon times.

                          Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

                          Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)

                            Counterpoint:  run it.  if you're like me, you may start with the intention to go 90% or marathon pace or whatever, but that goes by the wayside if you're feeling good. If not, there's snacks and bevvies and cameraderie.  Two weeks is a long time in my boo (i'm not a big taper guy either, my PR came 3 weeks after the Steamtown marathon).


                            FWIW I ran a relatively tough trail 15 mile race last week in the Chino Hills outside LA preparing for Boston.  I have no idea if it's going to make me slower or faster but it sure was a lot of fun.


                            Either way, enjoy.


                              Thanks for all the helpful advice. This is one of my favorite races, and one that I have run every year but one (when I was pregnant) since the race started, so really I'm just fishing for an excuse to sign up.Smile I will see how I feel next weekend after my 22-miler, and if I'm not feeling too banged up I think I'll register. Having run the course before, I know it's easy on the legs - not too much cambor, no sharp climbs or (more importantly in my opinion) descents, but lots of little rollers to give your legs a break. If I'm not feeling great, I will use it as a practice run. If I'm feeling strong, I'll go for it, 'cause I'm a risk-taker like that.


                              Either way, I think it will help me manage the taper crazies.

                              Only 26.2 miles more to go.


                                I just did this Holly.  I PR'ed 2 weeks before the St. Louis Marathon.  My legs were fine for the marathon but I was more effected by the weather and all the walking/social stuff that went on the day before.  Do you have a goal for the marathon?  Maybe that would be a deciding factor -- if you ware just running for fun then why not race the half.  Just a thought!  Smile


                                MM #2929