I was on Facebook yesterday and a good friend has been running and getting in shape like a maniac. She’s lost an amazing amount of weight (think 100+ pounds) and threw out 9 miles yesterday. She’s considering running a half marathon at the end of November and as a new runner is questioning her decision…does she or doesn’t she?
As a well seasoned runner (that’s my delicate way of saying I’ve been running so long Ya’ll weren’t even thought about when I was running I’m so freakin’ old but I still look pretty good so you can’t pick on me too much) I’m going to say….she does. She could run that half marathon right now. Today. She could totally finish it. And I’m so proud of her for being so consistent with her running and just killing it with her time.
How do I know she’s capable? Because she had just finished 9 miles. And her 5 mile race on Saturday she killed it. KILLED it. It was awesome. She has a full 5 weeks before the race which means two more long runs at least…she could totally get to 11 miles and really she could go run it at 9 with no problem.
She’s built up the strength and she is running enough to have the mileage under her to handle the distance.
After she posted this, one of her friends said this:
You can race at 3 times your training distance with no problem….
She said WHAT?
I so wouldn’t say that.
As a matter of fact I would never say that.
I held myself back from messaging my friend …and I never ever comment publicly. But I could NOT get that really bad advice out of my head.
Maybe I’m being conservative? Maybe I’m being cautious?
Maybe I’m being a smart runner.
What??? Three X? Seriously?? On that basis Chick could head out right now and run a marathon.
Okay Friend. Go run a marathon. Let’s see how that goes.
Here’s a clue as to how it might go…
This guy ran a marathon on virtually no running and lots of resting and … well…beer.
He had bet his wife that he could run this marathon and break five hours even though he had not trained AT ALL. He had maybe ten runs to include one twenty miler under him. Nothing that would prepare him adequately for this experience.
Did he finish? yes.
Did he kill it? he beat my times, that’s pretty thrilling. ::sarcasm:: 4 hours, 38 minutes.
Was he in abject pain for days and days afterwards? Yes.
Was it worth it? Good question. I personally would say no. He might say different.
That’s because Keith can’t move very well. After his alarm went off, he hovered on the edge of the bed for a while, before committing to the act of standing. When he did get vertical, his arms did most of the work, shoving his body skyward. After his shower, he stood in the bedroom wrapped in two towels, hair sticking straight up from his head, staring at the floor. “I feel like my legs aren’t connected to my body,” he said. He looked at Polly the cat lying on the blankets beside him, then at me. “I just want to fall down.”
“I feel so bad,” he said. He said it the same way you might look around and say, “What a nice day.”
It wasn’t until this morning that I realized I’d won maybe a little bit. The guy was a wreck. Standing, stairs, and squatting are all things that should feel like hell after a marathon, but for Keith, they are activities that launch him into a special orbit of pain. ~source
I realize this is not the exact same situation but it has the basic info. Stick with me.
I messaged several running friends and these were the responses.
Ria is a personal trainer over at Motivational Mom, you can also find her on Facebook. Besides being a motivational personal trainer and being a pretty rockin’ mom she has many many miles of running, marathons, half marathons, age group awards and just overall common sense. She has common sense. My friends have common sense.
Erin, as we all know and love, is over at Make Believe just doin’ her “I’m a teacher and a doctor and I speak Russian and I’m awesome and I’ve run marathons and my dog rocks and I could sew you a table a chairs probably maybe not but I’d try and all that whatever”~ must say very casually…she’s very casual and fabulous.
These people have 20 years running experience with awards and marathons and personal training under them. In a court of law a judge would TOTALLY find them experts. Probably.
Ria: That is 100% insane. I think she would be fine for 13 based on a 9 mile run but three times the training distance isn’t even close to accurate.
Erin: She will likely be fine for a half with 9 miles but definitely not three times! I wish I had credible sources, but I’ve heard your race week total number of miles should be less than or equal to your peak training week miles, assuming relatively consistent training. Basically if her peak week is a 10 miler and two 5 milers (20 miles total), she could run a half marathon as long as she tapers to shorter mid week runs that week (like a half marathon and two 3-mailers, for a total of 19 miles).
So I spent the day yesterday researching…trying to find what IS the proper distance to run per training. I finally decided to go for a training plan.
I decided on Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 basic plan.
It goes for 12 weeks and takes you from a 4 mile long run to race day…13.1…a half marathon.
The long run before the race is 10 miles.
I’ve done enough running in my life to be able to gauge how far you can run based on your training. I would say if you’re running 9 miles you can get through a half marathon…the training you’re doing and the adrenaline would carry you through pretty thoroughly. Are you going to PR? No. (Ria pointed out with sarcasm that if it’s her first half marathon she’d totally PR…I definitely told Ria to keep her opinion to herself, smartass…LOL) Will you be sore the next day? Yup. Will you injure yourself? I don’t think so. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a professional. I have no credibility except an unbelievable amount of miles on these legs after 37 years of running that says you can do it though each person is different and you have to know your own body.
So the answer to the question would be~without actually finding a decent source (maybe I’ll continue this research with more time now) ~ you can run your training distance plus one third further. Is that a clear sentence? So if you run 10 miles, you could run 13.3.
Of course, you can fudge this a little but you can’t blow it completely out of the water. Sorry. You just can’t.
Does that mean she wouldn’t be fine at 9 miles? No. She’d totally be fine. I’ve run several half marathons at 9 miles. But she might need to slow her pace a little. She might hurt a little bit more the next day. If she ran at 8 miles…I think we’re entering rougher territory. I don’t recommend it. I have a friend that ran a half marathon at 7 miles with no training beyond that, she hurt a lot. A LOT.
I can say with my own certainty I would not in any way advise running three times your training. And there is no way it would be “No problem”. That is an injury waiting to happen.
If you can’t source your information, then don’t state the information. I’m going to continue to search for sourcing and if I find I’m wrong on this I will correct this post and write a new post with the correct sourced information.
Everyone’s a coach.
Everyone’s a photographer.
I need to go to college.
Searching today…that’s on my list.
Run on and love every minute…