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I'm planning to register this week for my 1st half marathon. Being a mid distance runner for 4 years already and aiming to move up to long distance races, I have a few questions regarding training for longer distance races:
1) how much mileage on average should i put in for such races?
2) What should be the ideal distance for my long runs (I have to work on these the most)
3) what types of speedwork/repeat distances should I be working on?
4) Being already quite paranoid of injuries after having a whole string of them this year, what would be the safest way to minimize or prevent injuries while training?

Any helpful input would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Tim...you have plenty of time to train for a half. I'd vote on the conservative side and say due to your injury history, I'd not do much, if any speed work. (maybe some tempo runs) For my first half, I had 3 long runs of 15 before hand. Mind you, I'm no where near a competitive runner, but I finished (somewhat) comfortably.
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When I first started racing the best thing I did was to get a good book on racing and training.
The book by Bob and Shelly Glover is a great training book for all distances from your first race 5k-to marathons.
Some tips:
1. start getting your base mileage up right now (base about 20-25 miles per week)
2. your training for the half will be about 12 weeks
3. have 2 pairs of running shoes that you trade off during your training
4. stay off the cement
5. don't run every day
6. don't increase your long run by more than 2 miles each week
7. tempo runs are a great speed workout for the half since your racing at your LT level the treadmill is a good place to do these workouts.
8. I would start long runs at 6 miles and increase until you reach 15.
9. One last piece of advise (since you mentioned injuries) is to stretch before and after running. This is really important thing that runners(myself included) tend to forget about. It will keep your risk for injury much lower. Yoga for Athletes is the best by Rodney Yee.
good luck and happy training.
the half marathon is a great distance to race.
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Check out Hal Higdon's 1/2 program for an idea of what you'll need to do.
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I also think Glover is the bomb. His training programs work out really well for me.

Also, any speed stuff for a half marathon would likely be a couple of mile repeats - but you wouldn't even have to do them on the track, the road would be fine or just run 6:30 hard with a 3:00 recovery jog. Some might say 800s, but you are injury prone so I would stick with the 1 mile intervals, maybe some 2 mile intervals, and a lot of tempo runs.
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That's my favorite one of Hal's schedules. I love the way it fits 20-25 MPW and also 2 weight training days. Some of his other schedules have 2 weight training days, but always overlapping with running days. The half-marathon one just seems to fit together really well in a way that wouldn't get boring.
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I used the Higdon half marathon plan as well, I modified it a little bit to fit my needs, but overall it worked out well. If anything it gives you a good framework
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Coach Bob! He's great. If you ever make it out to a NY race, he's almost always out there running the opposite way, cheering people on.
I really like the Glovers' training programs too. I'm using their marathon training program (the one in the Competitive Runner's Handbook) to prepare for NYC.
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I'm in agreement with Kattzoo.....I would nix the speedwork right now for more miles, concentrate on getting your overall mileage up as well as your weekend long run. I ran pretty decent 1/2 marathons on 45 mpw and weekend long runs 14-16.....no speedwork.

sue
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That's sounds like a pretty good idea at the moment but what's the best way to increase the mileage/long runs without getting injured. My body seems to break down once I hit or go over 40 mpw..
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Since you know that, don't hit 40 til the end of your training before your taper. Focus more on the long runs, then replace one weekday run with cross training, or shorten some of your runs. (with your injuires, I'd lean towards cross training) From what I understand, 40 mpw is the breaking point for many people, but it's more for those who train in that range consistently, not for a few weeks.
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again good info, Kattzoo. I'd been running years and everytime I pushed the envelope beyond 60 mpw----the knees would start to talk. I started biking to build my quads (most runners hamstrings are strong and tight in relationship to quads).

Do you typically have the same weak point or are you injuries of a new variety each time?
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They are usually of a different variety each time-sometimes it's shin splints, others it's calf muscle soreness/sprains, last March it was a stress fracture. I think the reason why I break down at 40 is that I'm always doing too much too soon. I heard the best way to increase mileage is to do it in slow gradual steps and never increase mileage more often than every 3 weeks (or more if your body requires more time to adjust). This is supposed to give time for the body accustom to that amount of mileage before moving up. So for example I'll keep my mileage for 35 mpw for 3 weeks and assuming I'm alright with that amount, then move up to 40 mpw, hold it for 3 weeks, then move up again. Is that how you did it Sue?
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