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Frequently Asked Questions:
Including Races in Your Marathon Training

I'm interested in entering some shorter races during my marathon training program. How should this be infused into my training schedule? What race distances do you recommend I enter in the weeks prior to my marathon? What is the closest time before the marathon to schedule a half-marathon?

It's perfectly acceptable to do include some short distance races into your workout schedule while training for a marathon. It is important to modify your training week so that you don't schedule a long run the day prior to, or after a race, even an event as short as 10k. Since most road races are held on either Saturday or Sunday, reschedule your long run for the middle of the week so that you can be adequately rested. Please see Injury Prevention Strategies for more information.

Although I don't believe that is essential for one to compete in road races during marathon training, racing at shorter distances from 5K to the half-marathon can add some variety and variation to your routine. Racing can help improve one's speed; however, competing in races can increase your chances of incurring an injury.

The half-marathon is a great race to use as a marathon tune up. It provides the opportunity to experiment with a variety of concerns (e.g., pre-race routine, nutrition, pacing, etc.). See Areas of Experimentation for more information. Your marathon finish time can be extrapolated somewhat from your performance at a recent half-marathon race. Refer to MarathonGuide.com's "Race Results Predictor Chart" as a means to estimate your potential marathon finish time based on a recent half-marathon performance. Use tools such as these and similar prediction charts solely as a guide in determining what pace you can theoretically be able to maintain for your marathon. Predictor charts have less reliability for those who haven't completed at least two runs of 20 miles and longer. Do not enter/participate in a half-marathon closer than eight weeks prior to the marathon for which you are training. See Training for the Half-Marathon for additional information.

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