The Half Marathon Distance is Just Right!

The half marathon distance is considered by many current and future marathoners to be 'just right'. Just the right amount of challenge and preparation mixed in with fun. Like the marathon, the half marathon still requires a very solid aerobic base and so running regular half marathons translate well to the marathon distance.

For the more serious half marathon racers, well developed lactate buffering capabilities are also a key physiological requirement. A half can be a welcome substitute for a tempo run that provides a runner with race day conditions, fuel stations and cheering crowds. A great recipe for pushing yourself that little extra.

At 13.1 miles, or a hair over 21km, the half marathon is truly a respectable distance, where a runner can really work hard and test his or her limits without the prolonged preparation and recovery time like that required of the marathon.

One of the main reasons for this, is you are usually done and off the half marathon course well before you approach your 'glycogen depletion' zone aka 'the wall'. This means you can simply get away with a lot more such as a lack of carbo loading, uneven race pacing, and sub-standard race day fueling without risking a bonk. You can even stay up a little later and squeeze in an extra guilt free beer or two on the eve of your race. Bonus!

The half marathon is also a great opportunity for runners following a marathon training program to practice a good amount of race pacing in an endurance event setting that is both fun and motivating.

For example, a great strategy for a half marathon pacing run would be to use the first 5k for warm up before settling into marathon pace for the next 15k ending with a nice 1k kick to the finish. Follow this up with a day of rest, and you're back on your regular training program without missing a beat.

You really don't have to look far to find many fans of the half marathon distance. There is good reason why the participation rate of half marathons typically doubles the sister event marathon. It is not because they are half the distance, but because they are twice the fun!

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