Long Run Questions

First things first, I must address you crazies who love Bit-O-Honeys. There is a support group for people like you. It’s located in the comments section of last night’s post.



Today as I got dressed for the gym and bent over to put on my socks, my hamstrings still felt sore from Monday’s leg workout. (Those 100 squats are legit!)

I decided to flip flop my scheduled leg workout with the five mile run I had planned for tomorrow and trucked along on the treadmill for just under 46 minutes.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of nervous for Saturday’s long run. It will be the first time I’ve run a double-digit distance in more than a year.

Runners, I’d love your take on the upcoming long distance runs I have on my half marathon training plan…

For the previous two half marathons I’ve completed, the longest I ran before race day was 10 miles and I felt fine. Well, I have 10 miles on the schedule for Saturday but after that I still have four more long runs on the agenda before the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on November 5.

Ryan and I are thinking of running 11 and 12 miles for the following two weeks and then dropping it back down to 10 for the final two. Thoughts? I don’t want to do the full 13.1 miles before race day because I love saving the full distance for the big day and I don’t really care about my time at all.


Breakfast = Banana bread protein pancakes 

banana bread protein pancakes 021

Whenever I make these pancakes I always think of the song “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson. Such a fun song to listen to in the morning. His voice is so pretty.

banana bread protein pancakes 019

Time to get to work.

Today is a very special day in our house and I want to have a completely FREE evening to enjoy it!


  1. Katie says

    I had an extra week when I did my training. I went up to 12 miles and then dropped back down to 10 miles! I crossed the finish line, so that’s proof it worked! 🙂


  2. says

    1) Happy birthday to Ryan
    2) I’m glad you’re on board with the new ‘holiday’ I initiated as of this morning: PANCAKE WEDNESDAY
    3) I’m no expert but I actually think after the 11 and 12 milers, I would drop down to 8 miles for the final 2 runs as a means of tapering…interested to read what others suggest!


  3. says

    For my first half last year my plan was to run 12 as my longest 2 weeks before the race and 6 the week before but I ended up sick on the 12 weekend so I flip flopped them and did fine. This time around for my race on Nov. 20th I’m planning it the same way, hopefully no colds kick in and screw things up. So, I think you will be fine doing 11,12,10. In fact, you could probably even drop your 10 down more. That’s what a taper is all about 🙂


  4. Lauren says

    I’m running a half in November and my training plan has me going up to 12, but then dropping the long run down to only 6 the week before the race. I’m hoping the shorter distance and subsequent rest will make me speedy on race day!


  5. says

    I like doing a test run of the full 13, but that’s also because I’m training for my 3rd and 4th half and now I really am going for PRs since I know the distance isn’t a problem. If you’re not concerned with time I don’t think its necessary, especially if you’re planning on doing 12. I’d drop back down to 10 or even 8 depending how comfortable you feel.


  6. says

    I think it’s smart to do 11 and 12 miles so that you are prepared for the distance. The reason that marathon runners don’t usually go very close to the race distance in training is that, for most people, any distance longer than that breaks you down so much that you’re unlikely to recover in time for the race. 11-12 miles, however, won’t be as taxing, assuming you’ve built up to it.


  7. says

    For my first half I went up to 12 miles about 3 weeks before the race. Then I dropped down to 10 and then 8 or 7. I wouldn’t do 11,12,10,10..I would probably do 11,12,10,8 or something like that..cut back more before the race to keep your legs fresh.


    • says

      I was going to say the same thing. Doing 10 as your long run the weekend before your race doesn’t seem like much of a taper…

      Its really important to taper properly for endurance events – I am not an expert, so I can’t tell you exactly what to do for your race, but you may want to look into a better taper schedule for your last 2 weeks of training…

      Either way, you are going to do GREAT!


  8. Deanna says

    When I train for races, half’s included, I always build up each week starting at 8 miles, adding 1 or 2 miles each week until I am at 11/12 miles and then drop back down and build up again, but always with the twice or three times a week doing a 5 miler. It’s always worked for me and helps me know how to fuel myself during long runs.


  9. says

    I love, love love love, Jack Johnson. Fave of all time. His voice makes me melt. I saw him in concert last year and when he came out for his encore he dedicated all three of his encore songs to his wife, as they were originally written for her. I was dying. DYING. So romantic. Ahh, I love JJ.


  10. says

    YAH! Happy Birthday to RYAN!!

    I’d say for the running thing that if you don’t care about your race time really, then I would drop down to the 10 and 10 for the last 2 weeks…..but that is what I would say/do if I were in your shoes.

    your b-fast looks YUMM!


  11. says

    I can only tell you what my plan does. It does one week high, then drops down, then one week high, then drops down. Now, I missed a long run due to the 5k so I am doing 2 weeks high (meaning long) and then dropping down for a recovery week. So I will do 10 this week, 12 next and then back off. Then it goes up to 14 and drops back down. My half is 11/13.

    Happy Birthday Ryan!

    The Kidless Kronicles


  12. Nancy @ Beyoutiful Fitstyle says

    I recently ran the Philly Rock N Roll half and honestly I only ran 10 miles once and besides that nothing over 6 miles. I didn’t exactly have a training plan, I just ran when I could. For as much as you workout, you’ll definitely be fine either way, especially if you don’t care about time. I’m sure you’ll get well under my 2h14m.


  13. says

    You probably know this, but if you can run 10, you can definitely run all 13.1! Don’t worry at all about tomorrow, you will be just fine..and worse case scenario, you walk a bit. Not bad at all!

    The longest I ran before my first half was 11 miles. After that I scaled way back and only ran 6 or 7 miles the week leading up, and I’m so glad I did. I think if I personally would’ve pushed 11, I may have been worn out for the race. But everyone’s different. I’m sure if you ran 12 you’d be very well prepared the race!

    Enjoy your run tomorrow!


  14. Briana says

    Looks like a delicious b-fast!!

    As for training, my suggestion is to do 7-8 miles the week before, 11-12 mile 2 weeks before. The resting certainly pays off and having fresh legs on race day is better than trudging through it!

    Have fun with your 10 miler this weekend, you’ll do great!


      • beth says

        that’s plenty….and really the weekend before i wouldn’t do a “long” run more than 6 or 7…as everyone said…taper. i’m hitting 12 this weekend and i’m a month out from my half…but i just felt like getting my mileage up early…but i only run long every other weekend or only 2 out of 3. i’ve found that what really tells if you will be fine is your total weekly mileage. if it’s consistent and more than your race distance by a little, then no problems. i’ve done 2 marathons that way. my weekly distance was 25-30 miles but no runs over 12 miles. and the actual marathons didn’t kill me and i felt great doing them.


  15. says

    I always ran a max of 10 miles for half-marathons but having gone up to 11 or 12 would have been beneficial 🙂 Since you have 4 weeks, I say go ahead but always listen to your body to make sure you are ready for it that day 🙂

    Happy Birthday to Ryan!!


  16. says

    I always run at least one 12 miler before my half marathon, usually about 3 weeks out OR I run a slower long run and run for my goal time, so it isn’t the full distance but my legs and mind learn the time they will be moving/running for. I use the second trick for full marathon training since there is no way I would run that distance before the race!


  17. says

    Before my first half, I ran 12 miles two weeks before the race, and then I tapered down the last two weeks. It worked well for me!

    Oh, and happy birthday to Ryan!


  18. jennyv says

    Before my 1st half, I had never run over 11 miles — and still went on to run an excellent race. As you’ve run a 1/2 before, I’d say you’re probably fine to scale it back the two weeks prior to race day – 9 or so?


  19. says

    i like reading these ideas about your long runs because i’m about to start training for my half – the disney princess! – it will be my longest race since i’ve only ever done a 5k! do you have your training plan somewhere?


  20. says

    Happy Birthday to Ryan! 🙂

    I love Jack Johnson. I saw him in concert a few years ago and he was amazing. His voice sounds even better in person than it does on his cd. I love that banana pancakes song.


  21. says

    I think that sounds like a good running plan – I don’t really see much point in running the full distance if you know that your body is capable of doing 11 or 12 – save it for race day! And in the weeks approaching the race, you’ll want to start your taper anyway, so I think knocking it down to 10 miles sounds fine.

    Happy birthday to Ryan!


  22. says

    I just ran my first half on Sunday. I ran 9, 10, 11, and 12 miles the four weekends before the half…with 12 the week before. I found that no run was more difficult the the one before. I would mentally prepare for the said distance and would be fine…but could not imagine running a tenth of a mile longer then I had mentally prepared for. I loved the half so much that inspir of the moment signed up for another…that is in 10 days


  23. says

    Happy birthday to Ryan – enjoy the night!

    Long runs are so much fun to plan (is that weird?) I’m no expert, but I think your plan sounds good as far as tapering before the race. As long as you’re confident in your ability to hammer it out on race day, it seems fine!


  24. megs says

    I just did RnR Philly and my two friends who are Endurance gurus wrote my plan.

    Id suggest giving yourself a bigger taper. Theres no need to hit 10+ that many times. Maybe do 10, 11 (or 12), then 8 then 5-6.


  25. says

    Happy Birthday to Ryan! And I have zero advice on the running front for you, I’m currently training for a 10 miler and I ran 7 yesterday, my longest ever! I think it’s worth giving 11 or 12 a try, my running schedule has me getting up to 9 before the race, but not 10.


  26. Kara says

    Julie you definitely don’t need to do a full 13. Somewhere between 11 and 12 for your longest run should be just fine. I agree with Megs (above) in that you should give yourself a good taper-it’s well deserved and you’ll need the extra rest!


  27. says

    I just recently ran my first half marathon, and planned on only running 11 miles before the race but then actually got a little carried away in my last long run and actually ran 13 miles! Running the 11 and then the 12 miles the next two weekends sounds like a great way to be prepared 🙂 They say that if you can run 8 miles you can run a half marathon (sounds crazy to me!) How did you get Ryan to run it with you? I was able to get my fiance to run a 6 mile race this summer with me, but he said that is where he draws the line but I would LOVE for him to complete a half with me sometime!! How did you bribe him?? 😉


  28. Sarah B says

    I like to do a full 13 (or 14) before the race because I have done several races now and like to get my body used to doing the longer runs so I can focus on going a little faster. Towards the end of my training I tend to alternate the really long runs (10+ miles) with a medium run (6-7) so I am only doing those really long runs every other week and my body can have more time to recover. If it was me and had 4 weeks left, I would do 11, 6, 12 or 12.5, 6. That last week is whatever you feel comfortable with doing 1 week before the race, 6 is what I usually do to keep the legs moving.

    Good luck whatever you do!!


  29. says

    I’m doing two eleven milers and two twelve milers because I know the mental challenge jumping from 10 to 13.1 would be too tough. If you feel too sore and really don’t feel up to 10 yet this week, you could still do one eleven or one twelve and be good though too I think. 🙂


  30. Carly says

    Omg, “Banana Pancakes” came on Pandora while I was making those pancakes this weekend — I’d never heard it before and thought it was a perfect pancake-making song. : ) I also play “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root because that’s the song that plays in the movie Matilda when she is making pancakes.

    Guess you gotta have a soundtrack in order to make those babies right.


  31. dana says

    I think your plan with the long runs sounds good! I’ve done several half marathons and most I’ve done up to 12 (even 13) miles. If you don’t want to do the full 13, I think tapering back dow to 10 is a good idea.


  32. says

    Haaapppy birthday toooo Ryan, God of the “seatbelt shoulder exercise” I love so much.

    I’d definitely recommend not going to 13 miles before the race. For my very first half, I went up to 12 once, and that’s it.

    AND you’re a baller for still working your legs so hard while training! I’ve had to completely cut out the lower body training for the marathon… my legs just can’t do both.

    Your plan is a good one – go up to 11 and 12, then drop down. Maybe even taper down to 8 for your last long run. It takes 2 full weeks to lose cardiovascular ability, so you’ll be good to go!


  33. Lauran says

    I would definitely recommend doing your 10 this weekend, plus your 11 and 12 the following weekends. After that, I would then scale back down with a 10 mile run, and taper off with a 7.5-8 mile run the week before. I did that before one of my halfs back in August and I felt great race day!


  34. says

    When I trained for my half marathon the longest run I did the whole time was 10 miles. And I think I only did it one time. If you can run 10 miles, then you can definitely run 13 miles!


  35. says

    the bit o honey post made me laugh, i actually really like those candies!

    I’ve done three half marathons and i’ve never done a 13 mile training run while in training for any of them (i have done 13 miles just for fun, while not in training, lol, im a little crazysauce)

    if you have four more long runs left, i think it sounds perfect because thats my usual training plan. i usually do 11.5, 12.5, then drop back down to 10 the week before the race. my legs still felt good and strong, since I stuck to an actual taper. good luck, i’m sure you will do awesome!


  36. Kathleen says

    It sounds like your plan will work out just fine. If you can run 10-11 comfortably, you should have no problem completing the half mary distance. If you care about your time I do recommend starting as far up in front as you can. It’s just so hard to get into a good running groove I’m such big races. That way your legs will not get tired from bobbing and weaving dur to a congested starting position.


  37. says

    The most I did was 12 miles then dropped to 8 then the week before the most I could run was 2 because I broke my toe.. but I finished it! This time I have done 10 miles, and hopefully this week I will do another 8-10 before Sunday!


  38. Sasha says

    Good luck!! And most importantly, have fun!
    I believe you are going to do great and have nothing to fear about! Once you start running those miles and your adrenaline gets going and the miles will fly by like nothing!


  39. Leslie says

    Ooo I’ve only run 7 at most, double digits are super scary, why is that? I’m sure you’ll rock it.

    And Happy Birthday to Ryan!!


  40. says

    Agreed with some of the comments from above. You will feel much stronger in that last 5k if you build up to 11 and 12 for your long runs. Then I would definitely cut the taper back to 10 two weeks before the race and 6-8 the week before. Even though you aren’t worried about pace, you can try to run those 6 – 8 at whatever pace you want to run for your race. This will give you a good idea of what that pace feels like so its easy to find on race day. Good luck! I will be in Savannah too!!


  41. says

    I find that it works best for me to run as close to the distance as possible during training. For all three of my half-marathons, I ran at least one 12-mile long run. It wasn’t just a fitness thing but a confidence thing as well. Cutback weeks are also great because it gives you a much needed mental and physical break.


  42. says

    First I totally got up this morning only because of your post the other day about how it never gets easy to workout in the morning but its so worth it to have it done by a certain time in the am. So thank you for planting that in my head!

    And secondly I love that song,1.) because its about pancakes 2.) my ex-boyfriend and I saw him in concert and he played this before the song was released. Good memories.


  43. says

    I think the fans of Bit-O-Honey are actually dentists masquerading in disguise trying to drum up business, trying to get people to eat those awful candies and damage their teeth in the process!

    Jack Johnson is awesome. Whenever I listen to him, I think about my trip to Hawaii and how I can’t wait to go back!


  44. says

    Hey! I just stumbled upon your blog and im in love already. Banana pancakes look sooo delicious. im going to copy your recipe, that is for suuure!

    Good luck on your half marathon training!! im sure you will do great. have a good day!


  45. Jennifer says

    I always do a 12 before my half-marathons. It makes me feel more prepared 🙂 If you are doing an 11 and 12, I would suggest doing a 10 and then an 8 the week before. Give your legs a little break before the big day. Good luck!


  46. Amy says

    That sounds like a good training plan. I think getting a 11 and 12miler in there will help you both physically and mentally come race day, because really if you can run 12 you can run 13…..what’s one more mile. I know lots of training plans have runs up to 16 miles before going into a half so I do not think that doing 12 will be too much/over training! Good luck…run hard!


  47. says

    Can’t really comment on the plan, but it sounds sound enough to me.

    I tend to treat my long runs as a sightseeing run, so I will chose an interesting route maybe with several sights or just a way to explore a new place in the city.

    (Expect me to be somwhere along the Regents Canal and the Thames on Saturday, clocking up a 20 miler before NYC marathon. I think I might include isle of Dogs too or maybe Canary Wharf, never been either places…)


  48. says

    I say make your way up to 12 and then drop back to 10…it will make the 13.1 seem much easier. I am doing my first full on Sunday….and did a half just over a month ago. The 13 seemed so short after the 20 miles the weekend before! Enjoy!!


  49. Claire says

    I would suggest slashing your number of long runs and putting in some ‘cut back weeks’. Say, run 10 this weekend, do 7 next weekend, and then 11 or 12 the weekend after that.


  50. Sarah says

    For your first double digit run I would take it slower than normal for the first half and if you’re feeling good then do the second half at your normal pace.

    I’m so excited you’re doing a half. I love them, I think they are the perfect distance to race. For my first race I built up to 13 two weeks before the race and then droped to 9 the week before. I liked knowing that I had done 13 miles once. in my mind, if I can do it once, I can do it again!

    That said, you’ll be fine if you stop at 12, adding one more mile to 12 is not bad. And for your first race I would definitely taper the week before. This includes strength training your legs, you want those babies to be fresh and bursting with energy on race day. I’ve noticed HUGE differences in races that have included a taper and those that didn’t.

    Good luck and have fun tonight!


  51. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled says

    I’d totally go with Ryan’s suggestion. It seems like a totally reasonable taper and comparable to what you would do in a marathon training schedule.

    If you are able to do long runs of 10, 11, and 12 each week, you’ll totally dominate the 13.1 on race day.


  52. Lara says

    There are two “rules” about the long run that you don’t want to violate, but otherwise there is no problem going up to 11 or 12 in training. First, do not increase your overall weekly mileage by more than 10%. If you’re only going up a mile or two, this shouldn’t be a problem. The second is do not make your long run more than 50% of your weekly mileage. So if you are only running 20 miles/week, I wouldn’t go over 10 miles for the long run. That said, we are only talking a difference of a mile so it’s not going to be a big deal. If I were you, I would do 10 this weekend and next, then 11, then back down. You don’t need to do more than 11 for a half marathon if you don’t have a serious time goal. Good luck!


  53. says

    i’ve run a couple marathons and plenty of half marathons. if it were me, i would run 11 this week, then 10 then 12 then 8. you definitely want to taper down the week before but want to make sure you have a decent long run within 2 weeks of the race.


  54. Nathan Miller says

    Happy Birthday Ryan.
    But as for the long run, As I run 6 miles EVERY day, and run half marathons a few times a month, you best bet is to run atleast 11 or 12 miles the weekend before, and thoughout the week before I would run Monday-Thursday everyday atleast 6 or 7 miles, and then back off on Friday and lay low, but the night before, I have found eating a fairly light meal, but then if/when you wake up in the middle of the night eat TWO huge spoonfuls of peanut butter for some protein and energy and then in the morning, get up and eat an apple or banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter for dipping! Good luck!


      • Nathan Miller says

        Ha..figured you get a kick out of that. Not just because it peanut butter, but I really do, do that. I havent found any other food that really gives you all you need for a race the night before. But yes, Ill wake up in the middle of the night to rollover or whatever and remind myself to go get a few tablespoons! Perfect amount of protein, and I feel it helps repair that muscle tissue that may feel sore!


  55. says

    We measure in km, so I will convert for you:)

    My half marathon is this weekend and two weeks ago I ran 20km (12.4miles) and I didn’t want to do the extra kilometer just so the race didn’t seem anti-climatic.

    For the past two weeks I have kept my runs and workouts pretty easy! I did 10km (6.2 miles) on Sunday and am going to do a 5 km(3.10 miles) tomorrow and then the race!


  56. says

    If you don’t care about your time, 10 miles is plenty. You do have a lot of time until the race though so you could try switching the runs up by increasing the speed- 7 miles easy and then pick it up for the last three. I also would recommend only running 8 miles for your last long run.


  57. says

    you’ve already gotten a ton of advice, but i’d do something like: 11, 12, 10 or 9, 9 or 8. no need to do 10-10 the last two weeks. give your body a break before a big race! (i so need that advice myself…i’m running my 3rd marathon on 10/16) good luck! 🙂


  58. says

    Over the summer, I was training for a half marathon. I ran 10 miles 4 weeks out, 12 miles 3 weeks out, 10 miles 2 weeks out and 9 miles the week before. It was perfect. I even set a new PR in that half marathon!

    I definitely think you should do 11 or 12. It doesn’t matter which distance, but try to get over that 10 mile marker. During the half, it may seem like running an extra 3.1 isn’t a big deal, but you never know how you’ll feel. I also find it helpful to know I ran almost the entire distance during training.


  59. says

    I’m so grateful you said that your last half marathon your longest run prior was 10 miles. My first half is in 11 days and my longest run has only been 10 miles – and I’ve been freaking out! I’m happy to know that those plans that only call for 10 to be your longest run are legit 😉


  60. Caitlin says

    I am running the Savannah Rock and Roll Half as well.. I just finished my first half this past Sunday. I did 11 and 12 miles but then dropped down to 6 in place of my normal long runs to taper .. it worked I finished under my expected time! Can’t wait for Savannah!!


  61. says

    It sounds like you guys are right on track for your long runs. You don’t need to do the full 13 before race day. 10 or 11 is plenty. Also, the last long run probably should be 8 miles max just so you have a little taper and your legs aren’t sore for race day.


  62. Alex says

    I love Jack Johnson’s song Banana Pancakes! Everytime I make them I can’t help but hum that song. Doesn’t that song sound like the perfect day?

    Speaking of banana pancakes, I haven’t made them in so long! Yours look delicious, I’ll have to try them out. 🙂


  63. says

    I agree with you Julie! I am only running 10 miles tops before the Savannah half and I’m ok with it. I know mile 8-10 is usually a trouble spot for me and once I hit 10, I’m just cranking on the last 3.1.

    Speaking of Savannah- there are a ton of other bloggers running- we should totally do a meet up! Maybe for fro-yo? There’s a great froyo place right in downtown Savannah 🙂


  64. Brittany says

    Hi Julie! I didn’t take the time to scroll through the other suggestions in the comments, but here’s what I’d do in your shoes:

    10 this weekend
    7-9 next weekend
    then 11
    then 12
    then 8-10, depending on how you feel. A little leeway is good the week before a big race!

    That’s the step-back approach I use during marathon training, and I think it works really well.


  65. says

    i’ve never tried bit-o-honey, but now i wonder what team i’d side with…here’s hoping my nephew gets a piece of bit-o-honey on halloween that i can sample =)


  66. Karen says


    I was curious how many calories do you eat on days you do your long runs as opposed to how many you eat on a normal day? Just curious…I’m also getting ready for a long one (never done more than a 5K now I am doing a 10-miler eek!) and I like to hear from other people what they do…


  67. Gabby says

    If you can do 10 comfortably and you don’t want to run the full 13 before race day, definitely go for 12! If you don’t increase your pace, 12 should be easy for you and I think you’ll be glad you did it on race day.


  68. Emma Kate says

    Hey Julie,
    Looks like you’ve had heaps of advice so this probably won’t be anything new…I ran my first halfy last weekend 🙂 The longest run I did was 16km (from New Zealand), two weeks before. I think that’s 10 miles. Anywho, I found that the perfect distance. I easily managed the half. The week before the race I tapered, so 5km was my longest run.

    Keep up the awesome training! Big fan by the way.


  69. Shannon says

    I am in training for the Savannah Half!! My very first half. I am super excited!! I set out a calender & training up to 12 miles. In the past 4 Saturdays i have done 10 mi, 10 mi, 11 mi and then 0 miles. This weekend I am running 12 miles and nervous because I did not do a long run this past Saturday. Ah! I think your plan is good, just make sure to eat. I eat a wheat muffin with pb an hour before my long run and drink a cup of coffee for the caffeine. I haven’t had much problem mid run but always carry Gu or beans just in case. Then I will taper a week before the race and run 3/6 miles a day. Keep up the awesome training!


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