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Half in March - focus on speed or endurance (Read 126 times)

AndyTN


    While I will likely do some shorter races ad-hoc over the next couple months, the next seriously training regiment will start soon for my local half marathon March 8th. I have gained a tremendous amount of endurance over the past year training hard and went from my 1st half last March at 8:12 per mile to my 2nd half in Nov at 7:39 per mile. Before that half PR, my mileage had increased to 30-35 miles per week for a month, which I would say is my max with a busy job and two young kids.

     

    Because I am still fairly new at serious training, I still believe I have a lot of potential gains to make. Since I seem to do better at short distances like 5k, when using the pace equivalency calculators, I am thinking I still need time focusing on endurance. I know most responses will probably say a mix of speed, long, and easy runs, which I will still do but should my overall focus be on the endurance runs?

     

    I like doing long tempo runs where I run 5-6 miles in the middle at a pretty fast pace with a total of 10-12 miles. Should I even be doing interval sprints or just let the tempo runs be my speed work?

    Memphis / serious runner for 2 years / 34 male

    5k - 21:01 (SEP 19) / 10k - 46:30 (SEP 19) / Half - 1:40:17 (NOV 19) / Full - maybe someday

    Races - Half in March

    slingrunner


      As you mentioned, you'll probably get the biggest bang for your buck by increasing your overall mileage, but you said you are already maxed out for the time you have.

      My suggestions would be focus more on tempos, but still do some occasional faster intervals (maybe 1200m)@5k pace, although that can vary.  Also make sure you are doing your tempos at the right speed.  A 5-6 mile tempo run is a pretty long run for you, and it's possible you are going too slow.  Maybe average 1-2 workouts per week, depending on your recovery ability.

      5k- 18:55 (2018)    10K- 39:04 (2017)    Marathon- 3:00:10 (2018)

      Marky_Mark_17


        As the Rogue Running guys say, train your weaknesses early and your strengths late.

         

        If you need to build your endurance, mileage is the key - but like slingrunner has pointed out, that really depends how much time you have available for running.

        5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:58 (Nov-19) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) 

        HM: 1:10:46 (Nov-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

        Last race: Bays Night of 5's 5000m, 20 Dec, 15:39 (PB)

        Up next: Southern Lakes Half Marathon, 4 Apr

        "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

        Seattle prattle


          Build your overall strength as a well rounded runner. You are way too early in your progression to start worrying about specializing. Two years running? Ahhh, like i said.

          Looking at your PRs - they are pretty average and that is being generous.

          It's like this - you can spend a moderate amount of energy becoming generally a better runner at all distances. Or you can spend a real lot of energy trying to get just fractionally better at one particular distance.

          So, if you buy that,. just don't reinvent the wheel  - do a weekly (or 10 day cycle) in which you incorporate a tempo, interval, and long run, interspersed with recovery runs. Always a good idea to work in a hill workout or two, if you can, as well.

          Lastly, speed workouts will benefit you in many ways you may not realize, even if you are preparing for a long distance event like the half marathon.

          Probably not what you wanted to hear, but you asked.

          wcrunner2


          I'm out of ideas

             

            Lastly, speed workouts will benefit you in many ways you may not realize, even if you are preparing for a long distance event like the half marathon an ultra marathon.

            Probably not what you wanted to hear, but you asked.

             

            FYP

             

            2020 Races:

                 03/07/20 - Delano Park 12-Hour

                 05/16/20 - 3DATF 50K

                 07/11/20 - Ethan Allen 6-Hour

              False dichotomy. That said, strength/endurance is the limiting factor at half marathon and long tempos are your moneymaker for that distance.

              Runners run.

              Tchuck


                Without increasing miles it will be a challenge to keep improving but I think you can run better in March just because you have more miles in the bank and are more race experienced. Your best bet for making some progress longer term without increasing miles.

                 

                - Lose weight

                - Do a variety of "work outs"in addition to healthy dose of tempos but mix up tempo work outs too. Also, include "critical velocity" work outs. Google it. A lot of bang for your buck. Short interval work has its place too but is not a focus in my opinion.

                - Train smarter really focusing on your "hard work outs" and with optimal recovery between. Easy runs need to be easy.

                - Mix in some strength training for strength and  injury prevention as a lay off can set you back.

                - Pace and race smarter. This goes unrecognized.

                H-WAVE - Helping Athletes Reduce Pain and Recover Faster

                Marky_Mark_17


                  False dichotomy. That said, strength/endurance is the limiting factor at half marathon and long tempos are your moneymaker for that distance.

                   

                  This is... surprisingly not entirely right.  I got pointed towards this research the other day.  Total volume and easy runs seems to be more of a factor, and short intervals seem to have a similar benefit.  This is for world-class athletes though so I'm not sure if it would be different for you and I.

                  5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:58 (Nov-19) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) 

                  HM: 1:10:46 (Nov-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

                  Last race: Bays Night of 5's 5000m, 20 Dec, 15:39 (PB)

                  Up next: Southern Lakes Half Marathon, 4 Apr

                  "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

                  Marky_Mark_17


                    Looking at your PRs - they are pretty average and that is being generous.

                     

                     

                    Runners don't say that to other runners.  We can't all be Kipchoge.

                    5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:58 (Nov-19) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) 

                    HM: 1:10:46 (Nov-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

                    Last race: Bays Night of 5's 5000m, 20 Dec, 15:39 (PB)

                    Up next: Southern Lakes Half Marathon, 4 Apr

                    "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

                       

                      This is... surprisingly not entirely right.  I got pointed towards this research the other day.  Total volume and easy runs seems to be more of a factor, and short intervals seem to have a similar benefit.  This is for world-class athletes though so I'm not sure if it would be different for you and I.

                       

                      Interesting. This doesn't really conflict with what I was *trying* to say, which is: both endurance and speed.

                       

                      In practice I have done big tempos sparingly and they may well have been more valuable as predictors and/or confidence boosters than anything else.

                       

                      I can say for certain that over my running "career" that the single best predictor of success at every distance from 5k to marathon has been total volume. Nothing else is really close.

                      Runners run.


                      It's a setup

                        I'll second this. I needed people like Mike to tell it to me a few times before it took. The long run and the hard aerobic run are important, but it's the volume of easy miles in the middle that make the difference.

                         

                        In the beginning of the year I ran some shorter races and workouts that would predict well under 1:40 but struggled in a couple of attempts (1:44, 1:47) even though I got my weekly mileage up to the mid fifties. It wasn't until I had a good 8-10 weeks of consistent mileage with a weekly long run and midweek workout that a 1:35 came, and then a 10k PR too.

                         

                        Get yourself consistently into 6.5-7 hours a week (or maybe more, or maybe just peaking once or twice at more) with a 1:45-2:15 long run and at least one other hard aerobic day. You can even sneak in some speed work like 6x400, 10x200, or a Moneghetti, which may not make you faster, but will help you get more efficient and break up the monotony.

                         

                        Good luck, be serious about recovery days, and pay no attention to condescending assholes who casually shade your PRs.

                         

                         

                        I can say for certain that over my running "career" that the single best predictor of success at every distance from 5k to marathon has been total volume. Nothing else is really close.

                        JMac11


                        Taper Czar

                          Mileage is king for the half and full. The mileage you can run in a week as being a "max" is of course personal, but countless people will tell you how they thought some mileage was the most they could do when they first started running more "serious" mileage, only to find out they could actually run more. It's a matter of what's important to you. If 30-35 truly is your max, then obviously focusing on more things like tempo runs will help. You can't say you have a max mileage and then ask how to focus on endurance. They're incompatible. So maybe waking up at 4 am to run is not for you, and that's completely okay! But I always challenge people to say that adding 5 miles a week is only 8 extra minutes per day if you run 5 days a week. So sure, maybe you won't get to 50+ where you really start seeing major gains, but even 5 MPW can make a huge difference over months of training.

                           

                          So yes, assuming you've reached your peak mileage, tempos will help more than just running all easy runs. But as others posters have said, it's hard to keep improving at the half without getting your mileage up.

                           

                          Oh and yeah, I second the people being condescending about your PRs being average. That literally does nothing to help this conversation, especially a newer runner looking for help.

                          5K: 16:51 (8/19)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:16:05 (10/19)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 

                           

                          Next Race: Cupid's Chase 5K (2/8/20)

                          berylrunner


                          Rick

                            Endurance.

                             

                            Speed with come with better endurance.  Has to be a way for you to get more miles.  Run streak, always have your gear ready, late evening early morning,  lunch. run to work.  You will find a way if you really want to.  Start building your base now and then maintain.   March seems far away, but it is just around the corner.

                            Try intervals and strides.  Good way to improve form and turnover and also good for strength.

                            Your tempo run sounds advanced.  Are you going the right pace?

                            1-18-20  St. George Half Marathon (Utah)

                            2-15-20  Sun Marathon (Utah)

                            4-18-20  Zion 100 (Utah)

                             

                            AndyTN


                              Thanks for all the input everyone. I have been running all my life to stay in shape (which was getting questionable for a while) but I have never been serious about structured training plans and improving race times until the past couple years. I know I will continue to need more and more endurance for years to come to make time improvements. More mileage per week should be easier to knock out as I gain more endurance so maybe I will be able to run 40-45 miles per week next year.

                               

                              I like doing the long tempo runs because I like to think I can work on endurance and improving VO2 max at the same time. You all may disagree with that approach and I know my tempo runs are frequently longer than recommended so I am not necessarily always hitting that prescribed pace. Tempos also help make the longer runs less monotonous.

                               

                              Would there be any harm in mixing in intervals into a tempo run day? For example, run 3 miles at easy pace, then do intervals of 6x800, and then another 3 easy miles for 9 miles total. Would I be able to get the speed and endurance benefits from the same workout?

                               

                              I will also be traveling to Virginia right after Christmas to visit family and at least twice during the 9-day trip I will go out and run 12-15 miles on the Appalachian Trail. I know this is temporary in my training plan but running up/down those mountains for 2+ hours is a hell of a workout when I have done it before.

                              Memphis / serious runner for 2 years / 34 male

                              5k - 21:01 (SEP 19) / 10k - 46:30 (SEP 19) / Half - 1:40:17 (NOV 19) / Full - maybe someday

                              Races - Half in March

                                I like doing the long tempo runs

                                 

                                This is an underrated factor. The best training program is the one you will do consistently. Once you concede that none of us is really training optimally and all of us hobbyjoggers are putting self-imposed limits on how fast we can get, based on what we're able and willing to put into the sport, then then doing training that you actually enjoy and that keeps you motivated over the long haul is extremely valuable.

                                 

                                As for doing tempos and intervals in the same workout, that's fine as long as you build in enough recovery on the easy days. You'll see workouts like that in some advanced training programs.

                                Runners run.

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