Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Half Marathon vs. Full Marathon

I had a friend ask me which is better, the full marathon or the half marathon. The timing of the question was interesting for me because I'm deciding whether I want to concentrate on middle distance and whether I'm interested in running another marathon or getting into ultra running. I also had this discussion with my wife who is also a runner having completed multiple marathons.

I decided to concentrate on the half marathon (and 1ok's). Having completed the marathon distance, it was very fulfilling but the training was time consuming and the recovery time limited the number of marathons I could do per year especially since you lose 3-4 months living in a region with a real winter and snow.

Here's the reasons why I decided to concentrate on the half marathon instead of marathons and ultra distances:

1. Half marathon is still challenging and you can concentrate on more speed work.
2. You don't lose entire weekends with really long runs as there is no need for a 18-22 mile run.
3. You finish the half marathon and feel fine (you can still go dancing that night).
4. If you are unhappy with your finish time, you can enter another half marathon race within weeks/months.
5. 10-15 mile long runs are all you need (less than 2 hrs. of running).
6. You don't hit "the wall."
7. I've never had post half marathon depression but I did feel a let down after completing the marathon probably due to all the training required for such an abrupt ending.
8. I've already completed the marathon including a 32 mile run.

There may be a less risk of injury just based on less miles required during training but I'm not sure as other factors weight in to that conclusion including how you train, # of miles, pace, etc.

That's my perspective. To each his/her own.


1 comment:

  1. I think a lot largely has to do with your goals, if you want to run say a sub 2:45 marathon, then there is no point in running a full marathon until you drop your half marathon time down to say around 1:15 or 1:20 at the least. It's a progression largely, one step at a time.

    At the same time I agree with your assessment of the half marathon, it's a great distance to race.


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