Running a Half Marathon

by Oscar B.
(Elizabeth, NJ)

I'm 41 years old. I have never run a half marathon. My longest race has been a 10K. I have been running steady for like 4 years, been running for around 10-12 years, but had my years off. The last 4 years I have run more steadily.

I tried this 12 weeks program 2 years ago and the longest distance I could go was 10 miles, then last year had some personal issues and I couldn't focus on training. Even then I ran around 6 races there were 5K, 5 Milers and a 10K.

My question is I would like to increase my longer run on Sundays from now on (I'm doing just 3.5 miles on Sundays since just started a couple of weeks ago and I live in Jersey - meaning very cold right now -lol-) but on that program I was increasing 1-1.5 every weekend and was supposed to get to the half marathon till the day of the race without never doing that distance in training.

Is it ok to run 10 miles for like 2 months -If I can do it that I'm not sure- previous to the race or would I burn myself out. Thanks.

Answer by Dom:

Hi Oscar,

Thanks for your question about half marathon training.

It sounds like you have got a reasonably good running background. Running off and on, doing quite a few races, trying to get out there a few times per week, etc.

In order to run and finish a half marathon I would advise to run four times a week. Three times a week is possible, but I think a bit on the low side for distances over 10k. More important than the number of runs per week, whether it is three or four, is consistency. Making sure you get out there each and every week without too many interruptions.

The half marathon is still short enough that you can cover the whole race distance in training (of course, at a slower pace). But if you don't want to 'race' a half marathon, but want to run it and enjoy it, I think having a longest run of 10 miles is quite okay.

Especially if you intend to run that 10 mile distance more than once. You are talking about running a 10 mile long run every week for 2 months. That would make me very comfortable about you being able to do a half marathon and I would not worry about burning out.

On the contrary, it is more likely that you would get more and more comfortable with running that distance and would be able to increase even a little further during that two-month-period.

Now, everybody is different and the major rule with increases in mileage is to listen to your body. Check out my increasing mileage safely-page for more info.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck with your half marathon.

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