Answered By Ryan Hall
Hey Ryan, I've been training at altitude in Alamosa, Colorado for a several months now for the San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon which is the same day as your B-day(where I'm looking forward to meeting Meb!. Everything in training is going well, and I'm looking forward to a big PR! But I was thinking to maximize my performance, how long before the half should I go down to sea-level. And roughly when should my taper start, and how long before the race should my last long run be? Thanks a lot, any advise is useful. I'll be rooting for you in NY to make the team! Good luck.
How long to come down from altitude before a half marathon can vary a lot. Before I ran Houston this January I was down for less than 24 hours before I ran, however I was feeling really good and I have lived at altitude for nearly all my life. On our team we usually come down from altitude about 3 weeks before a marathon or the race we are really trying to hit. Pay attention to how you are feeling. If you are really well recovered and are just feeling amazing then coming down earlier might not be as profitable as the advantages you gain by coming down closer to the race but if you are feeling tired then you will recover much better at sea-level and coming down the full three weeks prior to your half would help a lot. In terms of your last long run, again it varies a lot. I ran 2:15 long run a week before Houston, but again I was also feeling unusually good. Before marathons we usually try and do our last real long run about 2 1/2 weeks before. I would say just cut down your long run significantly. I still ran 1:30 long run a week before London. Hope this helps and good luck! Ryan