Race scheduling question.
Seems a lot of people & plans go for a half marathon as tuneup about 3 weeks before a goal marathon. What are people's experience with that kind of thing? Good idea for anyone, or better for more experienced runners, or those following a specific plan where it is indicated?
My concern (assuming you race the half all-out) would be pushing it too hard when your body is already pretty beat up from a marathon training cycle, risking tweaking something that close to a goal race.
I recommend it, but maybe three weeks before a goal marathon is a little too close for some. Four or five weeks out would be better, in my opinion.
PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013
Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013
18 marathons, 18 BQs since 2010
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Your concern was my concern before my first. I used the Pfitz 18/55 plan and I was feeling beat up by the end, even three weeks out. I know marathon training is "supposed" to beat you up so you learn how to run on tired legs but I don't think I could have done a HM three weeks prior. I did a 10k about five or six weeks prior and that was hard enough. Plus, I was so OCD with my training at that time I was afraid of getting injured so close to the biggest race of my life. It's really your call. If you do it, trust the plan and especially trust the taper.
Also, Pfitzinger prefers either 8k,10k or 15k time trials. They are easier to recover from. But if you would rather do a half (like myself), then he advises that you do a mini-taper and a mini-recovery (unlike for the other distances) and that you must realize that your finish time in the half will be somehow affected by the ongoing training. So you need to consider that.
I like to run a HM about 6 weeks out just to see where I am and get good feel for what to expect in the marathon. This time I ran the HM 9 weeks out simply because that's the event I wanted to do, but I do feel that was a bit early. I feel the HM is a good gauge of my current fitness level. Of course, keep in mind I am not following a plan and completely half-assing my way through training.
I've read in some articles that if you can go all out in a half marathon a few weeks before your marathon, you aren't training for a marathon right............ but some people are different. I, myself will be running a half about a month before my first marathon this Fall and I can't say for sure but I don't think I'll be going all out for it.
*Do It For Yourself, Do It Because They Said It Was Impossible, Do It Because They Said You Were Incapable*
5k - 24:15 (7:49 min/mile pace)
10k - 51:47 (8:16 min/mile pace)
15k -1:18:09 (8:24 min/mile pace)
13.1 - 1:53:12 (8:39 min/mile pace)
26.2 - (Debut) - 4:48:10
100K or Bust
I've raced everything from 5K to 30K from 2 to 5 weeks out. I think 25K two weeks out was the most extreme. I've also had mixed results, but that could be as much poor race day execution as aftereffects of the races. I didn't feel tired or over-trained going into any of the marathons as a result of racing that close to race day. A few years, one in particular, would leave most people shaking their heads but it led to my second fastest marathon ever even though I ran a poorly paced race. That's the year I ran 6 races in the 7 weeks preceding the marathon including a HM, a 10M, and a 90% effort 8.4M the week before along with a 3.25M xc race, a 5K, and a 10K.
2017 Goals: for races not to be exercises in futility
My thoughts are that the HM can help make GMP seem less drastic. If you race the HM in such a way that you're not dogging it, but not attempting to run at the outer limit of your current fitness level either, it can be nice to lay down some sustained speed and get the muscle memory to be all like "oh GMP, that's slooow, dude!"
When to do it will vary for the individual, but too far from the marathon and it won't be fresh.
Squidward Bike Rider
I did a tune up half 2 weeks out from my last marathon. I didn't think it adversely affected my race at all.
6 Weeks out is ideal to test fitness, recover and fine tune for the full. YMMV.
You people, have issues.
I guess that would depend on the persons ability to recover and the type of training they routinely do. I would not be adverse to the idea but I do a shit load of speed work and recover relatively well from it all (when I am not broken into a million pieces that is).
Coming from where you did though I can understand your trepidation, if you are confident you do not need the practice at marathon pace then there is no point in doing it.
As you know there are two popular half marathons here five weeks out from Detroit (Romeo 2 Richmond) and three weeks out (The Brooksieway). I would most likely choose R2R but only because there is a downhill portion at Brooksie between mile 10 and 11 that scares the living shit out of me!
But yeah, many of the people who run them both also run Detroit but you know the old saying, YMMV.
I have done HMs 3 weeks out to gauge my progress but like they have said, it depends on how well you recover. Otherwise 5-6 weeks would be better.
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner, INKnBURN Ambassador
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
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I know at least 10 people running Boston who did a hilly half recently which was 6 weeks prior. 3 weeks prior I want to do my 22 and then taper.
20 marathons completed and I've had more success with shorter race tune ups; 10k two weeks out or 14k four weeks out. After feeling that sting marathon pace seems like a joke.
Youth Has No Age. ~ Picasso / 1st road race: Charleston Distance Run 15 Miler - 1974 / profile