I came across an interesting tweet from Hal Higdon, a juggernaut in the sport of running. Famous for both his writing at Runners World, coaching, as well as racing in the sport himself. I thought i'd share it here, as well as my own experiences at the half-marathon distance.
To summarize - he is a believer in limiting the max training distance run to short of your actual race distance. I imagine this is for a couple of reasons, most importantly of which is to avoid injury. But, does this really work? In my experience at the half-marathon distance, yes.
When Ellie and I train for half-marathons, we typically cap out at around 10 or eleven miles, usually two weeks before the race. The thinking of which is to provide a week buffer to recover (aka a mini-taper). We feel that if you can run ten miles, you can run the last five kilometers of the race relatively easily. The high of racing, and the excitement of being a short 5k away from the finish line is enough to carry you over that hump. I imagine the same is true for the last 10 kilometers of a marathon a well.
That being said, I do think there is something to be gained from pushing close to full distance. The confidence of knowing you can do the distance is pretty helpful. I think for me though, having raced half-marathons previously, that confidence sticks with you from race cycle to race cycle, making it less important to hit the full distance in training.
What do you guys think? Anyone in the audience run marathons? Did you train at full distance and if not, how far was your max training run?