Half Marathon Training: Peaking too Soon?

Posted on Oct 12, 2009 under running, Training | 4 Comments
Half Marathon Training: Peaking too Soon?
Each week, as my first ever half marathon comes closer and closer to reality, it seems as if I’m having better and better workouts. On days I need to go hard, I’m able to hit the pace that I’m hoping for and on days where it’s easy or off, I may not have the best workout which I’m OK with. The only thing I’m afraid of now is if I am pushing myself too hard and will peak too early. Back in high school cross country, our coach planned our hard workouts for the entire season in hopes of us peaking at the very optimal moment (league finals for some, and CIF prelims/finals for Varsity). I do feel like the half marathon training program that I was recommended is geared toward peaking exactly when I actually run the half, but I may be pushing the pace too much that I begin to burn out toward the end of the program. I’m happy to say that nothing of that nature has happened yet, but who knows whether or not that will happen next week or the week after. So now I am in a position where I can either do really well and actually hit sub-1:30 for my first half (based off Sunday’s long run) or I will push it too hard to the point where I can’t even finish the race, which would be a huge disappointment. This is something that I have to keep in the front of my mind as I am completing this program.
So as far as runs for the past week, I’m going to try and keep it as short as possible. Tuesday’s intervals was successful, 6x1000m @ 6:40 pace (4:10). Results: 3:49, 3:50, 3:44, 3:41, 3:34, 3:22. It’s weird that this program never asks for mile repeats but I did them ALL the time in high school to train for 3 mile races..Oh well. Friday was a 6 mile tempo run at moderate pace (7:00), which I was a little worried about. But I was able to run it pretty well, splits were a little off though: 6:27, 6:50, 6:39, 6:39, 6:29, 6:09. Sunday was probably one of the best workouts I’ve had so far, it was supposed to be 12 miles, easy. I never ran that many miles before, so I just wanted to go at a pace where I would be able to finish the whole thing in one piece. So I started off pretty slow, but I felt pretty good and my breathing was under control so I started picking up the pace as each mile passed. I ended up running at a pretty quick pace for an easy run and was surprised at the finishing time: 1:26. I just thought to myself, “I know I could run 1.1 more miles, I’m ready to race!” So now that I know I should be able to complete the half, I need to focus on how fast I want to run it. I still don’t want to start off too fast and then die half way through, so I think I should consider the strategy I accidentally did today, which is go out thinking it’s an easy run and just gradually pick up the pace. I know it’s going to be easier said than done since come race day, I’m going to want to hang with all the others out front, but I need to use self control and know that I will catch up later on.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Intervals 6x1000m @ 6:40 min/mile  3.75 mi 00:22 05:51 pace
What better way to start off the running week than with intervals? Was looking forward to these, probably the hardest one to date since it was a lot of intervals at a longer distance. Ran them pretty well and was able to run progressively faster after each interval. Results: 3:49, 3:50, 3:44, 3:41, 3:34, 3:22.
175/187
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Loop – 5 mi
Post interval run, nothing special. Took it really easy and felt relaxed.
140/151
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Run not logged: 4 miles, easy
Friday, October 9, 2009
6 Mile Tempo Run  6 mi 39:16 06:32 pace
Tempo run for the week, 6 miles at moderate tempo pace (7:00) with mile warmup and cooldown. I was a little nervous about this run since it’s a good amount of miles at a decent pace. Like always, I started off too fast, but toned it down the very next mile to run the next couple of miles very comfortably. Had enough energy at the end to hit a pretty fast last mile. Felt pretty tired after the run, which is expected, might have to take tomorrow off instead of the usual easy/recovery run. Splits: 6:27, 6:50, 6:39, 6:39, 6:29, 6:09
176/193
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Run not logged: easy 25 min run around UCSD campus
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Fastest Long Run to Date  12 mi 01:26 07:10 pace
12 miles is the most I have ever ran so I wasn’t planning on going too hard, just easy enough to actually complete the workout. So I started off pretty slow (8:01) and would have been more than happy running the whole workout at that pace. But I ran the next mile faster and then the next and so on. My breathing was under control the whole time and it was actually cold out so heat was not an issue. It was quite a workout, and I still can’t believe I did it and did it well! I know that I would have been able to run 1.1 miles more, I’m so ready to run my half marathon already!! Too bad I’m only half way through my training! Patience..
Here are the splits, the loop I ran isn’t exactly 5 miles, so each mile within the loop is probably different. But if you compare the splits from loop 1 to loop 2, you can see that they are definitely progressives, nice!
Loop #1: 8:01, 7:43, 7:26, 7:21, 7:12,
Loop #2: 7:21, 7:18, 7:07, 6:46, 6:36,
1st mi of loop: 6:58,
Back: 6:42
161/185
Got some great feedback from that run: http://www.dailymile.com/people/SDrunner/entries/497603

Each week, as my first ever half marathon comes closer and closer to reality, it seems as if I’m having better and better workouts. On days I need to go hard, I’m able to hit the pace that I’m hoping for and on days where it’s easy or off, I may not have the best workout which I’m OK with. The only thing I’m afraid of now is if I am pushing myself too hard and will peak too early. Back in high school cross country, our coach planned our hard workouts for the entire season in hopes of us peaking at the very optimal moment (league finals for some, and CIF prelims/finals for Varsity). I do feel like the half marathon training program that I was recommended is geared toward peaking exactly when I actually run the half, but I may be pushing the pace too much that I begin to burn out toward the end of the program. I’m happy to say that nothing of that nature has happened yet, but who knows whether or not that will happen next week or the week after. So now I am in a position where I can either do really well and actually hit sub-1:30 for my first half (based off Sunday’s long run) or I will push it too hard to the point where I can’t even finish the race, which would be a huge disappointment. This is something that I have to keep in the front of my mind as I am completing this program.

So as far as runs for the past week, I’m going to try and keep it as short as possible. Tuesday’s intervals was successful, 6x1000m @ 6:40 pace (4:10). Results: 3:49, 3:50, 3:44, 3:41, 3:34, 3:22. It’s weird that this program never asks for mile repeats but I did them ALL the time in high school to train for 3 mile races..Oh well. Friday was a 6 mile tempo run at moderate pace (7:00), which I was a little worried about. But I was able to run it pretty well, splits were a little off though: 6:27, 6:50, 6:39, 6:39, 6:29, 6:09. Sunday was probably one of the best workouts I’ve had so far, it was supposed to be 12 miles, easy. I never ran that many miles before, so I just wanted to go at a pace where I would be able to finish the whole thing in one piece. So I started off pretty slow, but I felt pretty good and my breathing was under control so I started picking up the pace as each mile passed. I ended up running at a pretty quick pace for an easy run and was surprised at the finishing time: 1:26. I just thought to myself, “I know I could run 1.1 more miles, I’m ready to race!” So now that I know I should be able to complete the half, I need to focus on how fast I want to run it. I still don’t want to start off too fast and then die half way through, so I think I should consider the strategy I accidentally did today, which is go out thinking it’s an easy run and just gradually pick up the pace. I know it’s going to be easier said than done since come race day, I’m going to want to hang with all the others out front, but I need to use self control and know that I will catch up later on.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Intervals 6x1000m @ 6:40 min/mile  3.75 mi 00:22 05:51 pace

What better way to start off the running week than with intervals? Was looking forward to these, probably the hardest one to date since it was a lot of intervals at a longer distance. Ran them pretty well and was able to run progressively faster after each interval. Results: 3:49, 3:50, 3:44, 3:41, 3:34, 3:22.

175/187

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Loop – 5 mi

Post interval run, nothing special. Took it really easy and felt relaxed.

140/151

Thursday, October 8, 2009
4 miles, easy

Friday, October 9, 2009
6 Mile Tempo Run  6 mi 39:16 06:32 pace

Tempo run for the week, 6 miles at moderate tempo pace (7:00) with mile warmup and cooldown. I was a little nervous about this run since it’s a good amount of miles at a decent pace. Like always, I started off too fast, but toned it down the very next mile to run the next couple of miles very comfortably. Had enough energy at the end to hit a pretty fast last mile. Felt pretty tired after the run, which is expected, might have to take tomorrow off instead of the usual easy/recovery run. Splits: 6:27, 6:50, 6:39, 6:39, 6:29, 6:09

176/193

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Easy 25 min run around UCSD campus

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Fastest Long Run to Date  12 mi 01:26 07:10 pace

12 miles is the most I have ever ran so I wasn’t planning on going too hard, just easy enough to actually complete the workout. So I started off pretty slow (8:01) and would have been more than happy running the whole workout at that pace. But I ran the next mile faster and then the next and so on. My breathing was under control the whole time and it was actually cold out so heat was not an issue. It was quite a workout, and I still can’t believe I did it and did it well! I know that I would have been able to run 1.1 miles more, I’m so ready to run my half marathon already!! Too bad I’m only half way through my training! Patience..

Here are the splits, the loop I ran isn’t exactly 5 miles, so each mile within the loop is probably different. But if you compare the splits from loop 1 to loop 2, you can see that they are definitely progressives, nice!

Loop #1: 8:01, 7:43, 7:26, 7:21, 7:12,
Loop #2: 7:21, 7:18, 7:07, 6:46, 6:36,
1st mi of loop: 6:58,
Back: 6:42

161/185

Got some great feedback from that run: http://www.dailymile.com/people/SDrunner/entries/497603








4 Responses to “Half Marathon Training: Peaking too Soon?”

  1. Anne Says:

    Are you running Silver Strand? I hope you already signed up because it’s sold out.

  2. lindsay Says:

    when is your half? just curious. stick to the plan, don’t race your workouts (save it for race day!), and you’ll do just fine.

    as always your quality workouts look excellent! i hope you are truly keeping your easy days easy, just my weekly lecture :)

  3. SDrunner Says:

    @Anne Yup, hopefully Silver Strand isn’t too tough for my first half. I registered months ago to avoid the situation you just mentioned. I hate registering for races so far in advanced, but I guess it’s safer!

    @Lindsay The half is on Nov 15, about a month away! I’ll do my best to ‘hold back’ and just stick to my workouts. Thanks for the weekly lecture, it’s a nice reminder!

  4. diana Says:

    As long as you are listening to your body and your schedule you will be just fine. You are such a strong runner!

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