I believe Ski is thinking pretty right here, but allow me to add some useful information. I'm secretary of a 125 member group of marathon runners in Belgium (europe) and we are so lucky to have a trainer who is focusing on marathon, half M. and 10 Milers.
About running a half marathon two weeks ahead of yr marathon, it's OKAY, but run it NOT FASTER THAN YOUR INTENDED MARATHON SPEED. (if you want you can run at this speed all the way long (21 km).)
But in case you'll run this 1/2 M, please try to run the week before this run, a long distance run during at least the TIME you think you will need in the marathon, and run this at a pace 1 minute slower than your marathon pace will be. For example: if you want to run the marathon in 3h30 (= 5' per km), than you have to run once (and preferably twice, two weeks earlier) the time needed, but at a speed of 6' per Km. Hope I'm clear to you.
And remember always: you don't have to run fast in training, to run fast in the marathon, it mostly is the other way around. In the marathon, try to run the first half at 1-2 minutes slower than the second half (this is called a negative split), this means don't start to fast. Every minute to fast in the first half, you will pay back 10 times at the end !!!
I finished my 33rd marathon last June, (my best ever in 2h50 in 1993), so please use this free but useful advice.
If you have more questions please feel free to send them.
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