How Do You Use (and not Abuse) 1/2 Marathons as part of your Marathon plan? (Read 751 times)

    I know many people use 1/2 marathons as prep races for full marathons. I had 1 last weekend (a trail one) and have another sched. end of Sept. -- my marathon isn't until Nov. 11. Problem is the half last weekend is taking me some time to get over. My plan called for two days of cross training, which went fine, but today called for a speed workout (5 x 1000's)... I wimped out, bagging the workout at the half-way point. That being said, I wasn't purely a wimp -- my average HR on my warmup was 145 -- which is crazy high for me for a warmup (I'm typically 131 for really light work). Point is, I'm not recovered and wondering how to fit 1/2 marathon races into a marathon plan without screwing it up. It doesn't really matter so much now, but I'm concerned about my next 1/2 marathon end of Sept. Tks.

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      Marcus, Just thinking with my fingers here but could your training plan be pushing you a bit too much for some reason? I know that whenever my runs would begin to tank, the problem centered around my physical well-being such as coming down with a cold (or worse) or I just plain needed more recovery. Another thought is be careful of the temps. If the weather is hotter than usual then more energy is expended. Either add more recovery time or run easerer. If not, at some point the body is going to say that it needs to rest. Also, keep in mind that not every body will fit a particular plan exactly the way the plan was designed for the original user. Your higher than usual HR is indicative of some sort of stress. Are your BG numbers out of sorts too by any chance? I try my best to build in those easy days and complete rest days so that the muscles can rebuild themselves stronger. (Helps me to avoid injuries too.)

      Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end. (RF)


      CPT Curmudgeon

        I think if you're incorporating HMs into your training schedule, you have a couple options. One is to not run the halfs all-out. Sure, run them hard, but realize that it's training, not your A race. This is hard to do, sometimes. Another option is to recognize that you're going to be sore, and a little slower, for at least 2-3 days after the half, so you adjust your plan accordingly.

        Run like a kid again!

          Actually I was just thinking about this sort of thing on my Monday run. I ran a 20 miler at a slow pace but it was still a 20 miler. Then I ran on Monday and that same pace for a wimpy 6 miler had me having a little catching my breath. I didn't feel this bad at all for my 20 miler but it was a little hotter. My HR was high for such an easy run. I've been wondering how many days it takes for your HR to settle down after pushing yourself. I've been thinking of doing a half to get a better guess on what pace I should be running my full at. However, I worry too that it might mess up my training for the full. I was planning on doing a half about 4 weeks before the full. Most books suggest you do some races. I would love to hear other people's experiences with doing a half before a full and if it affected their training.
            2011 Goals:
            Sub 19 5K (19:24 5K July 14th 2010)
            Marathon under 3:05:59 BQ (3:11:10 Indy 2010)
            I think a well-executed half marathon is one of the best workouts you can do leading up to a marathon and if you do it right, should not require much in the way of recovery. I wouldn't think of racing a marathon without having raced at least one half somewhere in the final few weeks of training. The key is intelligent pacing and in a trail race that's sometimes impossible. You need to go out somewhat easy and negative split the half or the recovery will be prolonged.

            Runners run.

              The time it worked out best for me was when I did a half 5 weeks before the marathon. It was close enough to the marathon to give me a good estimate on what I could do for the marathon, but far enough away I could recover. I use the McMillan racing calculator for information like that, and it predicted a marathon time about a minute and a half slower than my marathon finishing time, pretty darn close. HOWEVER, I then went on to race a 30K a week later. Not my brightest moment... luckily no injury, but it was not a good race. I even remember being reduced to an almost-walk. That time in the same calculator predicted a marathon 40 minutes slower than what my actual time turned out to be. Luckily, I was able to recognize that I had a bad 30K probably because I had not recovered from my effort in the half the week before, so I didn't let it bother me too much. I think I would have been fine if I had just put in some slow distance over that weekend instead of racing the 30K though... Fortunately, my 3 week marathon distance taper was enough to fully recover, and I raced the marathon as fresh as I could be. On a side note, I raced my still current 5K PR 2 weeks before the same marathon. I had a feeling that was a bad idea, but that was two years ago, and my 5K and marathon PR have both held.


                If it were me, I'd consider the HM my speedwork for the week. I usually interrupt my training schedule to rest the day before a race, and then run a short, light recover run the day after. If I can't do speedwork the week after, that's fine too, change it to an easy run. Easy runs are severely underrated in training schedules, IMO, especially one as intense as a marathon training schedule.

                My Little Pal

                  Great tips from several people so far. Study them and see what fits you best. For me, a half marathon 6 weeks or more prior to marathon date would be treated as a serious event. IOW, a proper taper and recovery period. A HM at 6 weeks or closer would simply be a test to see how well I could hold my target MP. In a perfect world, it would be MP for the first 6.5 miles, then speed up to no faster than 5% under MP for the rest.
                  At the end of the day, be happy with where you are and what you've accomplished.