Why shouldn't I run 13.1 before my first HM ?

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12/10/2012 at 15:41


I have my first HM in Novemeber and I keep hearing comments that I shouldn't run 13.1 miles in training before the HM. Why is this so ? What harm would it do if I do run 13.1 before the HM ?


12/10/2012 at 15:42

You SAID it.

12/10/2012 at 15:45

What did I say ???

12/10/2012 at 15:46

Basically, I was agreeing with you.

SAID = specific adaptation to imposed demand.

12/10/2012 at 15:50

Oops, sorry !

Do not most sportsmen practise the actual event in which they take part ? I dont see Usain Bolt practising only up to 80 metres. I just dont really understand why people say not to run the 13.1

cougie    pirate
12/10/2012 at 15:51

Running that distance takes it out of you - so it will take a little bit longer to recover. 

So you may miss some sessions that you'd otherwise get more benefit from. 

Its worse for marathons - no program I've seen says to do a full marathon in training.


Its up to you though - try it and see ?

12/10/2012 at 15:53

It's one thing saying you can get by and do a decent half marathon off 10-12mile long runs, but it's a different thing entirely to say DON'T run the full distance before race day.

The kind of thing a newbie, or inexperienced runner would say. And the reason would be that you don't do enough mileage to support that long a run, and it would thus take too much out of you.

I doubt there's many performance orientated half marathon runners who don't run above the distance in training though .And regularly too.

Edited: 12/10/2012 at 15:55
cougie    pirate
12/10/2012 at 15:56

It probably works for inexperienced or newbie runners though Stevie.  They normally arent doing the miles - so 13.1 is the max they will build up to. 

Obviously if you have the miles in your legs and running 13 miles isnt an issue  - it would be fine to do. 

12/10/2012 at 15:58

Thanks. I already have.

I plotted a route last week to run round Ladybower Resevoir which is just about 13 miles (I think I had selective hearing at that time about not running the distance before the HM). For some reason I took a wrong turning (dont ask me how I talk a wrong turning when all I had to do was follow the reservoir) and I ended up running 19 miles. The most I had done previously was 10 miles and it was really hard going those last 4/5 miles. That was Saturday and come Sunday I was aching a bit so went out for a long walk and on Tuesday I felt fine so I went out on a tempo run. I have to say I felt spot on and didnt feel the effects of the 19 miles. If anything it's made me feel more confident knowing that I can run the 13.1, and more, and it's also given me the idea that I should enter the Manchester full marathon next April. 

12/10/2012 at 16:08

I love your enthusiasm.  I ran over 13.1 prior to my first 1/2, it gave me a great boost to know I could achieve the distance and took some of the stress out of the race day.  I appreciate when marathon training to do the distance isn't sensible but I think if you feel comfortable doing over the distance for a half then why not!  Well done you!  I think maybe your wrong turn was fate, good luck in your half and enjoy your training for Manchester. 

cougie    pirate
12/10/2012 at 16:24

Thats one hell of a wrong turn !

12/10/2012 at 16:33

if your weekly mileage is high enough I'd say it'd be difficult NOT to run over 13 miles in training runs. At the sharp end of the sport the elites frequently run "overdistance" runs in training, but they're running 100+ miles per week. The intensity will be lower, but there's nothing wrong with getting the distance in if your body can take it.

12/10/2012 at 16:48
I followed a training scheme for the half that took me up to 14 miles about a month before the half. Yes, it took it out of me but as a newbie runner it really gave me confidence to know that I could go the distance.
12/10/2012 at 17:09

I would say no problem running longer in training runs once your body is used to higher mileages, it will be at a much lower intensity than when you run in the race.

12/10/2012 at 17:16

I ran 15 miles regularly in the build up to my first half. In fact before I knew anything about training I ran 15 miles twice a week with a third run of 9 miles. I was also cycle commuting 150 - 180 miles a week. When I wasn't at work I was sleeping.

12/10/2012 at 17:18

I'm not an expert, in fact most of my posts on here are asking for help!, but I've read in a number of places that the purpose of the LSR is to build up mitochndria in your muscles that help you run for longer (and the LSR also trains your body to burn fuel in a different way). However I've also read that the benefits of the LSR on the mitochondria tail off dramatically in training runs over 2 hours in duration (seems a very arbitrary/convenient time point for a cut off  but that's what the research says.

Therefore to come back to the relevance of this to the original question - if you are running your LSR at a speed that enable you to run over distance in the 2 hours then would be worthwhile as you are gaining from it. However if you would only run 10 miles in 2 hours then not much point slogging on for another 36 minutes as its probably not really adding much to your endurance capability.

Would be interested to know if anyone more knowledgeable agrees. 

12/10/2012 at 17:34

Skinny - Couldnt disagree more, the main benefits are almost certainly beyond two hours. What research was this?

12/10/2012 at 17:39


Here's one that talks about 2.5 hours so maybe I have misremembered it but I'm quite good with numbers - i'll look for a few more that I've read.

Edited: 12/10/2012 at 17:40
12/10/2012 at 17:49

Ah, hold on. He states there is a big tail off after three hours not two. That is a reasonable statement but if you trained for a marathon and completely missed the section between 2 and 3 hours you would not really be equipped for the task ahead.

12/10/2012 at 17:52

Yeah - I've looked a bit more and I can't find the articles I remember reading so I think I'm wrong - apologies - told you I wasn't an expert! Apologies also to OP! I'll crawl back in my hole but I'm pleased I have reresearched this as it was obviously something I have misremembered - thanks!

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