Monday, February 21, 2011

Training to PR

This is going to be a...wait for it...legendary! year for my running. My first races are just around the corner, with my 5k being under 3 weeks away now. I am excited to go out there and start racing again. I get excited just thinking about it. However, although I am excited for the 5k, those are not my favorite races. I like to run fast, but I'd much rather run 5 miles or more for a race. I feel like I am better at the middle distances, anyway. My favorite distance to race is the half, as I've done 6..soon to be 7 in a little over 4 weeks.

I can't believe that my half marathon is a little over a month away. I was thinking about that this weekend and about training. As I was doing in August, I'm currently training for 2 races - a 5k and then a half. It was hard this summer, and I didn't really know what to do. It was purely trial and error...but in the end it turned out okay. This time around I'm determined to take what I learned this summer and put it to use to make me a better, faster runner. I'm not just running these two races to run - I'm running to PR. And, to be perfectly honest, if I don't PR you should not talk to me for a good month.

Training for a PR in a 5k is relatively easy. I know this week and next I need to do my speedwork days and be on pace with them, but other than that I'm not too concerned. My issue lies with training for the half. Back when I started to run half marathons, in college, I asked my brother how to train. Keep in mind he was in college at this time as well, but had run a few marathons already. He said that my long run should be 10 miles, and do it the Tuesday before the race. Wednesday he said do 5, Thursday, 3, Friday 1 and then race on Saturday. Looking back, this does not allow for any rest days leading up to the race. There is no taper time. However, I do not need long tapers. The shorter, the better for me.

In September I was training for the QC half and did 11 for my long run the Saturday before the race. I only ran one time more that week, which was 4 miles on that Tuesday. The rest of the week I took off. The race was good and I had tons of energy the first few miles, but then I could feel the lack of miles hitting me. I felt like I should have run more.

So here lies the question: how long should my long run be during my half training? Ten miles, like what I did for my first 5 marathons successfully, is on the short side of training. However, I know people who run 15 more their long run before a half, which seems rather ridiculous to me. To each his/her own, though. Would you stick with what I have been doing for years - running 10 as my long run - or would you change and run a higher mileage long run? My goal is to do my last long run on Monday, as the race is on Saturday. I am hoping to break 1:40, and I feel like this is a critical part in order for me to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Doing a long run five days before your half marathon might be unwise. They say it takes 10-12 days to gain endurance from an endurance workout, so there's no sense in making yourself more tired five days before the race. Of course, if 10 miles isn't a stretch for you, and you're absolutely recovered within four days, you'll be fine. But then I don't understand your reluctance to consider going longer for your long runs.
    I just checked Hal Higdon's half marathon training plans, and he has a long run a full week before the race, so opinions may differ on this, but a long run Monday will hurt more than help a race on Saturday.