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Question
Posted by: Jess | 2008/01/04

My First Half Marathon

Hi,

Me again. I'm thinking about doing a half marathon for the first time but I'm not quite sure which one I should do. Colleagues have told me the Two Oceans is not a great race to do as your first half because it's too congested. There is the Puma coming up in Feb, but I'm not sure I'll be ready by then. I run thrice a week: 6km, 10km and 15km. How should I go about increasing my distances to prepare for the Puma in Feb, if it's at all feasible.

Thanks,
Jess

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Our expert says:
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Hello again Jess

Good for you! That's great. I think Puma will be possible, but don't discount Two Oceans anyway. It may be busy, but the vibe, festivities and level of organization probably make it a really good first half marathon. What you wouldn't want to do is try to run a fast time in your first half at 2 Oceans, because you'd have to start near the back and work through the crowds, which is very tough. But for a fun-run, it might be the thing you need, especially if you run with some friends.

However, PUma is definitely possible. You have 5 weeks, but work off 4 because that final week would be good as a recovery week. So with 4 weeks, I'd say there are two things you need to do, given your current training.

First, increase the length of that long run by about 5 to 10 minutes per week. So if it's taking you 90 minutes at the moment, then next week, run 100min, then 105, then 110m and then 120min. That will give you more or less 19km, and if you can do that, 21 km will be easy. One thing you must avoid is running this easy run as the race - in otherwords, this run will be slower, easier and if you require, walk. The most important thing is time on your feet - 2 hours will get you ready.

Then the second thing to do is to add a fourth run a week - make it a medium length one of about 8km, that's all. I think if you do this, you'll be fine. Then all you have to do is set a realistic goal from your first race, and make sure you enjoy it! And maybe plan the next one!

Ross

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