Archived: Cutting Back On Miles


Got a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I have been running one year and have completed a 5-K, a 10-K and one half marathon. I am currently running about 40-K (25 miles) a week, with my long runs having just reached 19-K (12 miles). I have built up to this over the last three months. I am planning on running my next half at the end of May.

My question is: Should I now drop back my kilometers and begin your half training program 12 weeks out, or should I continue with long runs of 19-K over the next few months? I have begun some speedwork on Wednesdays and am considering a full marathon in September here in Sydney, Australia. I initially assumed I should continue building up my weekly kilometers, but because I am relatively new to running I don’t want to risk overdoing it.


You don’t need to–and probably should not–continuously build mileage, always running further than the week before. Eventually, you get strung out too far, and that’s when injuries occur. So, yes, back up when you begin one of my programs. Cut back on the miles. One advantage of cutting back on distance is that it allows you to do the fewer runs at a faster pace. That allows you to add speedwork, which is one way to improve as a runner. As for that speedwork, you probably need to look at myIntermediate program for the half, which does include a day of speedwork.

About the Author

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.

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