Just running for the fun of it!
Blaine Moore (MM#2867)
The last "Long Run" before your marathon
I have one specific workout that I try to run between 3 and 5 weeks before my marathon. This workout will change from year to year, and there are different ways of accomplishing it. The general idea is that I want to make myself tired and exhausted, and then go for the long run.
My favorite workout of this type was in 2006, when I raced in a 5k cross country meet at a local park. Once I finished the race, I spent a few minutes to grab some water and food, chat with the winners, and then I ran home. The route that I chose was 16 miles with a not insignificant net elevation gain. I ran between 20 and 21 miles that day between my warm-up, my race, and my long run.
If there is not a convenient cross country race that you can use to begin your workout with, I find that a fairly simple way of simulating the end of a marathon is to run a 10 to 12 mile tempo run at marathon pace on one day, and then to run your long run the next morning. It is probably a more controlled and easily managed method for getting this type of workout in.
On two occasions, I have run longer than a marathon distance for this workout. While the strategy may work for some, especially if you are an experienced marathoner, I would not necessarily recommend it.
The first time was in 2004 when I got lost on what should have been a 17 mile run, whereupon it turned into a 28 mile run. I believe that that run directly contributed to a pulled hamstring a short time later that was still bothering me when I got to the marathon.
The second time was when I ran the Pisgah 50k Mountain Race about 7 weeks before running a marathon. This did help with the marathon, but it hurt my 5k race performances that fell between the two longer races.
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He who has the best time wins. Jerry