What I Think About When I Think About Running Marathon and Half Marathon Differences

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Marathon and Half Marathon Differences

Marathons and half marathons are the most popular race distances for runners. Of course, a half marathon (13.1 miles) is half the distance of a full marathon (26.2 miles), but what are some other differences between the two races? Here are some factors to consider when deciding which race distance to run.

Training: Because of the long distance, a full marathon demands a much greater commitment to a high volume training program. To run a good marathon, runners need to complete high mileage weeks and run at least 3-4 20 mile long runs in the months and weeks leading up to the race. A half marathon also requires a commitment to training, but not as important as completing ultra long runs and high volume mileage. If you have little time during the week to train, it makes sense to commit to a less stressful half marathon training program.

Reputation: It sounds a little silly, but running a full marathon is a status symbol for many runners. That’s not to say that completing a 13.1-mile race is a futile endeavor, but some runners get excited when they tell a non-runner about running a full marathon. So, if you really care about what other people think of your run, you might want to “go all the way” and aim for 26.2 miles.

Cost: Many races charge higher entry fees for the full marathon. For example, the Seattle Marathon charges $110 for the full marathon and $85 for the half marathon. If cost is a big factor for you, half may be the way to go.

Competition: Depending on your talent level, you may enter races with the goal of placing high in your age group or overall placing. Generally, good runners will enter the marathon, which dwarfs the competition of the half marathon. If running against less competition is important to you, a half marathon may be the way to go.

There are both positives and negatives to running 13.1 or 26.2 miles. However, no matter what distance you choose, training for any race will provide tremendous health benefits and get you in great shape.

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