Divide & Conquer?


Life has been crazy busy, so I apologize for the lack of posts lately…

Training for my first half marathon is starting to get more serious–I worry more about my long runs than I have the past couple of weeks because I know it’ll take me longer to complete these runs. My 10 miler last weekend opened my eyes to the fact that I need to think about my routes more in advanced than as I’m driving there, and I need to be serious about keeping a steady pace.

This weekend I’ve scheduled an 11 mile run, which will be my last long training run for almost two weeks, since I will be flying to Reno next Thursday for the AKC National Agility Championships and won’t be back until Monday. I’m comfortable with that because I know I probably need to rest my legs, and I was due to have a “short long training run” with how much mileage I’ve been pumping out. So with 11 miles nagging at the back of my head for this weekend, plus tons of things I have to do this weekend, it makes me wonder how can I fit in almost two hours of running?

The friends I ran with last week are only running 8 this weekend, so I’m still three miles ahead, and would need to get those miles done early. However, their pace is a lot slower than mine (I want to keep a 9:30-10 pace, they were running between 11-12 minutes per mile). Is it helpful or hurtful to slow my pace by two minutes? Sure it might be able to save my legs and allow me to run the whole 11 (or, rather, the 8 with them), but am I doing myself a disservice?

The other thought is, would it be better to divide and conquer the miles? Say run six earlier in the day, then run five later that same day? Or run three a little before meeting with my friends at my own pace (maybe a little faster), and then run with them, at their pace, for the remaining 8? I’ve heard of marathon runners dividing up their long runs when they’re pressed for time, but to me that sounds counterproductive. I feel like I need to run the whole amount because this is all new to me–my mental training needs to increase with the mileage to help me through the whole 13.1 miles, as well as my body’s stamina. Would running half and half, even if in the same day, derail all of that?

So many thoughts and questions going on. Either way, I’m going to get my 11 miles in this weekend, but I’d rather not run the whole thing by myself–that’s the hardest part of training! To have someone next to you makes you push yourself because you don’t want to stop.

What’s your opinion? Any advice would be great!

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7 thoughts on “Divide & Conquer?

  1. I do believe in planning a route ahead of time. I use MapMyRun for that, at home. I just finished laying out a 10 miler. Having said that, being flexible with respect to when to run and whether alone or in a group is so important. The emphasis needs to be on you, and on you getting your miles in. I don’t recommend breaking the long run into parts. Part of what you’re training is the mind. Mental fatigue for me hits around mile 8-9… It can stay right thru 12… Sometimes. It’s also smart to leave some Nuun or gel around the midway point. Lastly, the longer distance is also where you find the physical issues. The time I was injured was during mile 13. I attributed the cramping to electrolyte depletion and fatigue, but it truly was a hamstring pull. That said, Go Get Em

    • Thank you! Yes, I am worried about mental fatigue, which was one of my worries. I run with a belt, so I carry some Gu with me that I had last week during my 10 miler, and plan to have for my 11. I also run with a water bottle, which has been helpful as I’ve increased my mileage as well. I appreciate the comment.

  2. I never split my long run – I feel like the long stretch of running helps my body get used to continued movement. I always use Clif shot blocks in the middle to keep myself going, and I love to carry Nuun in my water bottle too. I also tend to get the 9 mile wall, although now that I’m training for longer than half marathons it’s not so much there. So there is hope!

  3. Spliting up your long runs is not a good way to go. Your body has to get used to the longer miles run at once. I always carry Gu and/or shot blocks as you do need more energy then. Maybe try bringing your iPod along. I know solo runs for me are always with a good playlist. 🙂

  4. I dont believe in dividing the run. I use mapmyrun. I break up the run around 8 or 9 with a short stop for GU and water. I also dont think its a good idea to slow your pace as this will affect your time in your half.:) I think bringing music is a good idea.

  5. I definitely wouldn’t split up the long run mileage. It is okay with mid-week runs, but the purpose of the long run is to train and prepare your body to perform over the longer period of time and distance (all at once).

    As for your pace, I think it depends on your goals come race day. Are you just looking to finish? Are you hoping to beat a certain time (PR)? If it’s the later, I’d say run the 3 miles on your own either before or after your group run. Running after could be a good way to test your body and learn to run harder towards the end of a race, as you’d be running at a faster pace. If you’re just wanted to finish a half and accomplish the goal, run with your group and enjoy the company!

    As for getting through the distance, I agree with the others and suggest Cliff Shot Bloks. I have a tough time eating on the run, but those work for me.

    Hope my opinion helped you, even a little!

    • Thank you, everyone for the comments and suggestions!
      I started using Gu during last week’s run, and will do so during this run. I have to find Cliff Blok and try them for the next time.
      Thanks for supporting my thoughts about not dividing my runs!

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