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13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon

The UtahRUNNING.com Expert Panel received a request to provide a list of “7 things to do before running a half marathon,” so that is what I originally set out to answer in this article. However, while running with the high school girls I coach and discussing this topic with them, they helped me realize seven tips were just not enough. In fact, they insisted that I list 13.1 tips for preparing to run a half marathon (makes sense, right?) Thanks, girls, for the inspiration and for making me laugh everyday!

13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon:

1) Train Smart. Be consistent and gradually build your mileage. Work in some interval workouts, tempo runs, and long runs into your training regime.

2) Keep It the Same. The week of the half marathon is not the time to try something new. Don’t change what has been working for you. Obviously, your workouts should be lighter, but you should still run the days that you normally run, stretch, eat relatively the same, etc.

3) Hydrate/Sleep. Besides keeping your routine the same, it is also a good idea to put extra focus on being well hydrated (urine should always be clear) and to get plenty of sleep in the weeks prior to your big race.

4) Plan for Your Race. Before race day arrives, work out the details of your race in your mind. Visualize it–your pace, when to make a move, and how you will handle tough spots in the race (hills, mile 9/10, etc.). Consider different scenarios and how you will react to each one. Come up with some things you could tell yourself or remind yourself of when the pain starts to set in and you need some inspiration. Decide when you are going to refuel and know where the aid stations are in your race (For example: “There is an aid station at mile 7. I’m going to plan on taking an energy gel just before I get there). The night before race day eat a solid meal (pasta, rice, potatoes…whatever works for you). Make sure you don’t eat too late. I like to eat around 5:30 or 6:00 the night before to give my food plenty of time to digest before I go to sleep. The best way to know what and when to eat is to try different strategies with your training runs so you know what will work for you on race day. Have all of your race gear (shoes, clothes, number, energy gels, etc.) ready to go the night before, so you aren’t rushed in the morning.

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Marathon Pace from Tempo Pace

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I have been doing tempo work and was wondering how I gauge my race day pace off of tempo pace? (e.g., 30k and Marathon)”

Answer!!!

As I mentioned in the Tempo Time article, usually tempo pace will be about 20 seconds slower per mile than 10k race pace and 30 seconds slower than 5k race pace. As you try to gauge race day pace off of your tempo runs it can become quite tricky. Again, the faster the runner you are, usually the less time between your marathon race pace and your tempo pace. For example, my marathon best is 2:10:59 which is slightly under 5:00 mile pace. I usually ran my tempo runs at about 4:50 per mile, so my tempo pace was usually about 10 seconds faster per mile than my marathon race pace. However, slower runners will usually need to run relatively faster to hit their tempo zone. Jack Daniels agrees and he places tempo paces at approximately the following relative to marathon pace:

2:30 marathon 5:45 pace=tempo pace will be about 17 seconds faster or about 5:28 tempo pace
3:00 marathon 6:55 pace=tempo pace will be about 23 seconds faster or about 6:32 tempo pace
4:00 marathon 9:08 pace=tempo pace will be about 30 seconds faster or about 8:38 tempo pace
5:00 marathon 11:30 pace=tempo pace will be about 40 seconds faster or about 10:50 tempo pace

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Should I run a half marathon before a marathon?

Expert Panel Question???

Question:

“I’m planning on running the Ogden Marathon this May and am wondering about racing beforehand. Particularly, I’m wondering if I should do a 1/2 marathon race 6 weeks before the marathon or just use that half marathon as a training run?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)

Answers!!!

The amount of time it takes to recover from racing is different for everyone. Some bounce back relatively quickly, while others recover more slowly. The general rule is that it takes about one day to recover for every mile that you race. So, it will take almost two weeks for you to be fully recovered from a half marathon.

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Training Schedule Adjustments for Running Multiple Marathons

Question:

“How do i need to adjust my training schedule for running multiple marathons (one a month for 4 months). i haven’t been able to find training schedules for this kind of running. I don’t know when to taper, how to do speed workouts, etc. i am trying to get under 3:30 for one or all of the races. I also want to know how often i should do gu or gels during the race. i have run more than a dozen marathons, yet i still can’t figure it out. If you have any advice that would be great!

Oh ya, if you know of any running studies i could be a part of that would be awesome too.
thanks,”
Sherrie Wayment LOVE2RUN

Answer:

Hi Sherrie,

The short answer is yes, you would want to adjust your training based on the number of races you plan to run and the frequency with which you plan to run them. The marathon distance takes a toll on your body and without adequate recovery you will not be properly, rested, refueled and ready for the next one. That said, I would think seriously about running one per month, especially if you are trying to set a personal best. I am a pretty firm believer that you can only really “race” 2-3 marathons per year – the incredible effort it takes to do well in a marathon (training: including mileage and speed work as well as recovering adequately) is quite taxing. Not knowing your current training schedule, it is difficult to make specific suggestions or comments – I am also not a coach, and consulting with one would be a great place to start. Paul Pilkington [Lora Erickson, and Janae Richardson], [members] of UtahRunning.com’s expert panel [offer] coaching services and may be a great resource for you to develop a training plan specific to your needs.

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