During the first half of this year I used two 10 km races and a half-marathon as a tune-up for the Ottawa Marathon in May. This was the first time I used shorter distance races as a tune-up specifically designed to help me reach my goal time in the marathon.
The first of the 10 km races was run at the pace needed to run a 1:30 half-marathon, 4:15/km. The half-marathon was run at 4:15/km and I ended up finishing the race in just under 1:30 which had race race equivalency calculators suggesting I was on pace to hit my goal in the marathon.
Since the final 10 km race fell on the day of a scheduled 32 km (20 mile) training run I ran 21 km on my own before the race and ran the 10 km race at my intended marathon pace. The goal of this was to give me a feel for running at my marathon pace on tired legs hoping that would benefit me in the later stages of the marathon.
Although I didn’t quite reach my marathon goal I did get closer to it and I felt that these shorter tune-up races left me as well prepared for the marathon as I could have been. As a result, I am looking to set up a similar schedule for myself as I get ready for this year’s fall marathon, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.
My plans are starting to fall into place now. My first intended race leading up to the marathon is a 10 mile race next month which should provide me with a good test of running at race pace.
My second intended race is a 12 km trail race in August that I have participated in the past two years. Since this one takes place at a local ski hill I figure it will give me a solid hill workout.
My final tune-up for the marathon will be the Army Run half-marathon where if all works out according to plan I will be pacing at or near my intended marathon pace less than a month before the marathon.
Do you make use of tune-up races at shorter distances when training for a marathon?