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How long for long runs in Marathon training

posted almost 2 years ago | Report

Last time I did a full marathon was about 22 yrs ago, but i think i am on track this year to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. I started doing triathlons about a year ago and that has helped me to safely up my mileage. I am still about 3 months away from the race and I have already completed a 15 mile long run without problem. I am following Hal Higdon marathon 3 plan which includes three days running and two cross training days. I am like usually doing six days so i can be prepared for an olympic tri in two weeks. If i follow the plan, i will end up doing three 20 milers before race date. I just read an article in Runners World that quoted Ed Eyestone: in summary he said long runs shouldn't be more than three hours, regardless of whether you are a 2:42 marathoner or a 4:24 marathoner. I hope to get close to 4:24. I just completed a 15 miler in 2:40 or so. At that pace, a 20 miler will bring me close to 3:45 or so. Definitely more than three hours. For me, i would rather be prepared with some twenty milers under my belt. Do the long runs over three hours help or hurt?

  • I read the same thing and laughed my socks off. If you take longer than 4 hours to finish a marathon and you never run for that long, finishing the race is going to be a possible nightmare. You need as much mental training as you do physical. If the mind is weak so will be the runner. You could also apply the theory that you should run for time and not distance to this equation.

    I would keep on keeping on. You seem to have the correct tempo going and I would keep using Higdon's plan. Many have used it successfully. If your long runs take 4hours so be it. You'll have the mental strength during the race to know you can make it. That may be the deciding factor, you just never know. Good Luck!

    posted almost 2 years ago

  • I have read just the opposite, your longest run should take you as long as you expect the Marathon to take, obviously at a much slower pace, so they would be 20-22 miles in the same time as your marathon goal time. The key is SLOW pace. Other runs in your schedule are for faster runs

    posted almost 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Brian W. said:I have read just the opposite, your longest run should take you as long as you expect the Marathon to take, obviously at a much slower pace, so they would be 20-22 miles in the same time as your marathon goal time. The key is SLOW pace. Other runs... read more

    +1 Brian :) Knowledge right there.

    posted almost 2 years ago

  • +2 on Brian. Firstly- it's more about your total weekly mileage than the long run, however the long run is still a pretty important part of most people's training. You never need to go over 20 or so miles. And the key is to do them easy. The long run is to build your efficiency in Zone 2. Depending on your plan, if you can safely ramp up so that you can get 3 or 4 20milers in, that will give you plenty of 'margin' on race day. If you feel good on the last two 20 milers, you can add some miles at race pace (your marathon pace- MP). In fact, you can do up to 13 miles at MP for your last 20 miler if you've got it in you. MP should feel pretty comfortable. Regardless- those last 6-8 miles are gonna' hurt. But, they'll hurt a lot less if you train properly and don't go out too fast on the first 13. Have fun and good luck.

    posted almost 2 years ago

  • that statement is bassed on the physiological effect...

    essentially you dont really get much more Aerobic conditioning when you run longer than 3 hours, but the injury risk continues to climb, as does the required recovery time after the workout.

    If your going to complete a marathon in 5,6,7 or even more hours than you need to make sure that your body is able to handle the mechanical stress of being on your feet and moving for that long... you can do this by doing a real long run, but also through other means too, long hikes, marathon shopping trips in the local megacenter... choose your poison.

    If you have no concerns that youll be able to handle it mechanically because youe been running for years, or have several marathons allready successfully under your belt then there really is little to be gained phsiologically from running much longer than 3 hours.

    However you may still want to do it just to prove to yourself that you can.

    posted almost 2 years ago

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