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Marathon or half-marathon

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Has anyone here ever done a marathon or half-marathon? I recently decided I want to try running the half marathon during the local marathon which is run on Father's Day.

Does anyone have any tips, suggestions, advice? I just turned 25 a couple weeks ago, have always been athletic and active. I am 6 feet, weigh 160 lbs. This year I have been getting into better shape thanks to soccer and running. I have been going running about 3 times a week, usually doing interval training, 4 minutes fast jog, 1 minute sprint for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes at a time. So that's the base I am at right now.

As always, advice and comments greatly appreciated.

Stephen
post #2 of 7
I am sure that there are people who can give you better advice than me - I ran a marathon 20 years ago, and I only did just under 4 hours.

but I think you want to get up to running half the distance of the race, 3 times a week. so if you are working on a half marathon, you should be running 10 Km 3 times a week.

the only other thing I know - put vasaline on your nipples.
post #3 of 7
I have done both. My times are not great, but the runs are still fun. There are very good training guidelines available on-line. Check, for example, the marathon page at the New York City Road Runners website - see www.nyrrc.org. Also, the runner's magazine webpage is pretty good and has very useful links.

The key to both full and half, imho, is the long run. For example, a good 20 week marathon training program would have 3-4 long runs of 18-20 miles built into the program. Of course, you will need to build up to the long run, but I found those runds essential.
post #4 of 7
Training and conditioning for half marathons are quite differently. For reference, I run (ran, it's been about 5 years since my last) mediocre half marathons (1 h 36 min PR) and poor marathons (just under 4 hours. I am ashamed,) but can do a 5:20 mile on a (really) good day and a 5:30 on a bad. I never trained for marathons hard enough to deal with "the wall", which is when essentially you are have burned off all available glycogen and are going anaerobic. Or maybe I just suck.

It sounds like you are in plenty ready for a half marathon, which requires less endurance than a marathon. During a half marathon, you never hit the wall (which usually come between 18-21 miles, depending on your suckage factor). All it really takes is that you have enough endurance to finish, with enough energy to really blast through the last 2 miles or so. In addition to intervals, which are good for building up your maximum speed and also helps with strength, I would recommend hill runs to build up strength and power, and add long runs to build up endurance. Unlike a marathon, where you don't want to run more than, say, 22 miles during training, you can run over the 13.x miles that is the half marathon. I wold recommend building up to a 15 miles for long (but slower than race pace) so that you actually know how it feels come race day. Of course, taper for the last two weeks. There are plenty of books out there with good training regimens. I would recommend intervals twice a week, hills twice a week, a long run once a week, a day of cross training (say, the elliptical or the erg) and a day off. Oh, and on race day, try for negative splits (i.e. speeding up rather than slowing down throughout the race).

Of course, I am a mediocre long distance runner at best, so take my advice with a strong pinch of salt.
post #5 of 7
I thin LA Guy has great advise. My only disagreement is with frequency. I would do intervals and/or hills no more than twice a week. More than that could be counter-productive.
post #6 of 7
I done both, as well as triathlon and long distance cycling.
It's funny you used the word "base", because it's actually a term of art. Endurance athletes use the word the describe their training in the offseason. It refers to low intensity, very long workouts, and it's what I'd recommend to you. It develops your body's aerobic capacity. It's always the best way to start, especially for long distance events like marathon. it's not as crucial with 1/2 mari's.

IMO, speed/power training isn't very useful for beginner marathoners. How often do you actually run fast during a marathon? Maybe the first and last 100 yards. Spend your time training below or at the pace you plan to run. Not only will you get faster, but more importantly, your body will get more efficient. Once you develop a large base, you can start incorporating speed drills.

You're probably ready for your 1/2 mari, they're not too bad. It's probably obvious, but it's worth repeating that a full mari is exponentially harder than a 1/2. Training, pacing, eating, etc all are paramount in the full, whereas most people can just go out and run (and enjoy) a 1/2 on a whim.

Anyway, there's a ton of stuff on running out there. I'd recommend:
1) increase your mileage by ~10% per week.
2) once a month, take an entire week to rest, which equals easy days and a drastic reduction in mileage
3) once a week, go on a long run that should approximately make up 40% of your combined weekly mileage (not counting the long run itself).
post #7 of 7
I agree with pretty much everything Renault says. Let me add another thing from my experience: When I ran my first marathon, I had never run more than 12 miles, and my training regimen was an average of three runs a week. The vast majority of those runs were less than 45 minutes. I did not do long runs (though I knew they were recommended). My goal was to finish, basically just to find out whether I could do it, and I made it in a bit less than four hours. Now, I’m not saying this is a wise thing to do from a medical standpoint. But I did feel pretty good for the first 20 miles (the rest was a bit of a bitch, I’ll admit that), and was able to go at a consistent pace for the entire race. The point I’m trying to make is that you need not be intimidated by the whole thing. You’re young, and you’re used to being active, you could probably run a half-mari right away. Which doesn’t make proper preparation a bad idea, I’m just saying.
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