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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning on doing a HM this year. My goal is to finish and not croak. I've been running for about 2 and a half years and normally run 3x a week. In researching training plans, is there any advantage to running 4x a week versus 3? If you're getting in the prescribed number of miles and doing the long run on the weekend, does it really make any difference? I'm not planning on speedwork of any kind, if that matters.<br><br>
What say you, oh wise and wonderful Kickrunners?
 

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No claim to be wise or wonderful here. I'm just a dork in running shoes. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
The number of runs per week is one of several training variables which (I think) is difficult to evaluate in isolation. At the same time, you will also want to consider your weekly mileage, the number and length of your long runs, and probably other things.<br><br>
There are lots of ways to distribute mileage over a week. 4x gives you a few more options, and makes your daily runs a little shorter for a given weekly mileage. If you are going to increase your mileage significantly, I think it is worth considering an additional run per week.<br><br>
The number of consecutive days of running is a risk factor for injury, but your risk does not increase significantly until you run 3 or more days in a row. (Sorry, this is from memory and I don't have a reference.) You can run up to 4x per week without doing 3 days in a row.<br><br>
I don't mean to say that nobody should run more than 4x per week. I used to think 3x per week was all my body could handle, but I have worked up to 6x per week. I know some runners do more, including doubles, and handle it fine.<br><br>
How's that for a non-answer? <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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FWIW, I have a similar objective as you do. I'm planning on doing a half-marathon training program that calls for running three times a week and then cross-training two days a week.
 

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The more you run, the better your race will be. 4 times a week is a good target.<br>
3 is still good.<br>
I did my first with an average below 3/week... finished it but not a good race.
 

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<i>>is there any advantage to running 4x a week versus 3?</i><br>
Of course there is. If you consider building more endurance and being more capable of handling the half marathon distance better than you could on 3 days...YES! If there was no advantage you wouldn't see virtually all the best runners out there practicing almost every day.<br><br><i>>If you're getting in the prescribed number of miles and doing the long run on the weekend, does it really make any difference?</i><br>
I'm curious what the "prescribed number of miles" is...I can only imagine, but I know that it makes a difference for me--a <b>big</b> difference. I'm a firm believer in doing short, easy runs for recovery rather than taking days off. From my experience this practice reduces chance of injury rather than vice versa.<br><br><i>>My goal is to finish and not croak</i><br>
Wouldn't it be more fun to run the whole way and finish strong rather than just survive?<br><br>
Like anything that a person wants to be any good at, running takes practice. The more you are able to do it the better you will become at it...<b>and</b> the more you will enjoy it.<br><br>
Good luck in your race.<br><br>
edited to trim excessive ranting <img alt="roll_eyes.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/roll_eyes.gif">
 

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I've run many HMs on all sorts of different mileage. I feel the most important is your weekly mileage and then the long runs. IMO to run a half comfortably you need to be running 25 mpw for at least a few months prior to the race... but you can probably get by with 20mpw. Three or four 10 to 12 milers in that time period would help, too. If you're only running 3x a week, you'd need to average a little more than 8 miles per run to get to 25mpw, but if you could run every other day... 3.5x/wk your average would drop to 7 miles/run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jim 24315 - I think you may have gotten the wrong idea. Yes, I want to finish strong. However, I'm pretty slow and don't mean to "race" it, but to finish and enjoy it. I'm not looking to cut any corners and intend on doing the training to complete it. By "prescribed miles" I mean what a training plan has on it for a particular week. I get the feeling you're a running "purist" and don't much care for those of us that do races for the challenge, camraderie and enjoyment.<br><br><br>
I just wasn't sure if 3 or 4 days a week would be better and why.<br><br>
Thanks to all of you for your responses.
 

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>I <i>get the feeling you're a running "purist" and don't much care for those of us that do races for the challenge, camraderie and enjoyment.</i><br><br>
NO, what I don't care for is the movment in recent years where these commercial people such as Galloway and John "The Penguin" encourage others to enter these long endurance events without really preparing for them. My guess is that more than half the people who follow this path aren't going to enjoy this great sport as much, nor are they likely to stay with it as long as those who are more conscientious about their training.<br><br>
I "do races for the challenge, camraderie and enjoyment" just like you do and have met dozens of friends over the years since taking up running. Because I like to race and compete doesn't mean that comraderie isn't important or that I don't enjoy going to a race. One of the greatest ways for me to spend a Saturday morning is to meet with my running club to do a workout or race and go out to breakfast with each other afterwards. We also field teams that compete agains other clubs. Individual triumphs are great but there is something extra special about pulling together as a team and supporting each other through a long season<br><br><i>>I'm pretty slow and don't mean to "race" it,</i><br>
So many poeple who are introduced to running in the manner that you have see themselves this way. You might never become a speed demon but I can almost guarantee you that you could train yourself to run faster than you ever thought possible. I know people who were the slowest runners on the playgrounds when they were kids and trained themselves to be pretty darned good distance runners. I can't think of another sport where so much improvement is possible by training. It ain't going to happen on 3 days a week, though.<br><br>
Four days, Shadow--it's better than 3. Come on now...you can do it! After this one you can move up to 5 days. <img alt="banana.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/banana.gif">
 

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I kinda use this schedule:<br><br>
M-off<br>
T-Med[ium distance]<br>
W-Med<br>
T-Med<br>
F-off<br>
S-Short<br>
S-Long<br><br><br><i>YMMV</i>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Jim. I had planned on 4 days but I didn't really understand what the advantages were over 3 days. Now I do. Thanks for your response(s).
 

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Until 2006 I only ran 5 and 10k's. When I decided to run my first half marathon in 2006 I only ran 3 days a week. I finished well (better than many people thought I would). After 6 months of running regularly I lost interest. The next Jan I decided to start again, but this time I ran 4 days a week. I followed the same plan but I opted for the 4th day of running instead of cross training. I ran the half marathon 15 minutes faster. Part of it was I saw improvement faster and so I stayed motivated.<br><br>
Of course 3 days are better than none and life will sometimes mess up our training goals. For me, though, I find 4 days better, easier and more motivating, than 3 days.<br><br>
Enjoy your running!
 

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I run 5 days a week and if I ever considered changing it would be to 6, not 4. I just have too much other stuff going on to go to 6.<br><br>
Going to 4 days should be no problem for you. If you are looking to improve your time more mileage will help, as long as you limit the speed work while you build your base, which said you are doing.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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Jim's message is right on the mark, so I won't add to that.<br><br>
While not as focussed as marathon training, HM training done right will occupy a significant portion of your week for a large number of weeks. What you have to do is assess your current fitness and goals, and set up a training plan that works for your ability, goals and lifestyle, including family commitments, job & other interests.<br><br>
When evaluating your training plan, think about the distance you intend to run and what counts most when training for that distance. For HM's I place top priority on long runs, and second from the top is a run with a good chunk (20 to 45 min) at threshold pace. Other than those two, my remaining runs will be just simple easy paced runs with a bit of fartlek or some striders thrown in for muscle memory.<br><br>
You should be looking at a couple of runs on say Tuesday and Thursday that are in the range of an hour to 90 min, depending on where you are in your training. One of these could include 20 to 45 min at your threshold pace, again, depending on where you are in your schedule....longer periods at threshold as you get closer to race day. Saturday can be easy and short, and Sunday can be long....up to two hours or even a bit longer if you feel good. A key point here....after every run you should assess how you feel. Could you go another mile without hurting? That's good. You should not feel like you were at the end of your energy on any run. You don't want to run yourself into a state where you won't be ready for your next quality run.<br><br>
It may take a couple of races before you get your schedule right, but that's part of the fun in running and racing. Once you get that part down you can consider whether you want to step up to more than 4 days.<br><br>
Do not step into the cognitive bear trap, where you believe you are too old or too slow to run more days. I'm 57, and I believe everyone can run 7 days per week if they really want to. It's just a matter of determining how long to run on your quality days and how short to run on your recovery days. Even a 20 min run has value, and anyone could add that to the in between days of a 4 dpw schedule without affecting their fatigue level.<br><br>
One last piece of advice....you should look for a couple of shorter races in the final 8 weeks of your training. Don't do anything special. Just run them as well as you can to see how you do, and use them to help decide what pace to run your HM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone. A lot of good info here. I've seen some good plans at 4x a week and will pick one of those. I really do appreciate your opinions. Like I said, I've been running for about 2.5 years and have done numerous 5k, 5 mile and 10k races. But I'm interested in going further and want to do it intelligently.
 

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The most important thing is to make sure you do the necessary training to<br>
finish the race ie the longer run will help on of the other 3 days you could do a workout that will challenge you little like a fartlek or tempo type run.<br>
The other 2 days could be just runs of maybe half the length of your long run. One of those runs could be a run over a hilly course that would be<br>
a good workout. On your off days you could do some cross training ie bike'<br>
gym etc. Cheers and good luck with your HM.
 

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I think running more than 3x/week would also allow you to vary your runs a little more, which I think would be a good thing. The long run is a staple, but there's also recovery runs, hills, tempos and intervals (though I have not done much interval training). If you are running only 3 days/week it would seem less likely that you would be getting all of these kinds of runs in your schedule. It's A LOT about the weekly miles, but I know hills and tempo work have helped me over the past year or so.
 

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Shadow,<br><br>
So many great comments and suggestions from people more qualified than myself but I just wanted to chime in a little on the value of a solid base. Because not only do you want to do well and enjoy the event, you also want to walk away injury free.<br><br>
Hindsight is always 20/20, right?<br><br>
My husband (a new runner 48 yrs old) signed up rather last mintue for his first HM in June 2007. His starting base mileage was low (about 10 to 15 mpw) and he was under the gun time-wise to build his long runs in a safe manner. Because of work it was difficult for him to commit to running more than 3x per week. By the end of his training, he had managed only one 10 mile run and his weekly mileage probably peaked at about 25 miles. However, he stubbornly insisted on participating even though I didn't think he was ready. He made it through the HM but said it took everything he had to do it. Unfortunately, he ended up with an ITB problem immediately afterwards which he is still battling.<br><br>
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to build your long runs and to maintain a solid amount of weekly mileage. Try to get your LRs to 12 if possible as I don't think 10 is enough.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Just to stir the pot a bit...<br><br>
I'm not nearly as experienced as I am sure some of the other runners are that have posted (running for about 2.5yr as well), so take this for what it is worth-<br><br>
I think that 3x / week is fine if you are getting in the appropriate mileage and you are doing some sort of cross training or are otherwise physically active.<br><br>
I enjoy running, but I don't live to run, and I would rather be doing other activities on the weekend- hiking, XC & telemark skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, kayaking, etc. I also do Yoga.<br><br>
I ran my first 1/2 after training for three months running MWF, about 10-20mi/week, XC skiing (classic, not skate) 10-30mi each weekend. Just the running alone would not have been enough, but the XC skiing helped fill in the gap. I ran the 1/2 in two hours, with negative splits the last 4 miles.<br><br>
Not saying that 3x/week works for everyone, but you should take into account cross training as well.<br><br>
I run to live; I don't live to run. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 
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