1

20-miler in prep for marathon (Read 1074 times)

vicentefrijole


    Hello all I ran my first marathon (3:13, Chicago) last October after preparing with a local running club. With that club, we followed the Hal Higdon schedule (which, as many of you probably know, includes an increasingly long run once a week peaking at 20 miles a few weeks before raceday). I'm currently training alone for my next marathon (end of May) and am sticking with the Higdon plan again in hopes of breaking 3:00 (or at least 3:10). I've been reading his Marathon training guidebook which gives a little more description. In there it describes how it is a good idea to run your long runs quite a bit slower (30 sec to 1 min per mile) than race pace... I've heard this before and have aimed for this all along (7:30 to 7:45 pace). However, at one point this book suggests doing those 20 mile training runs in the same TOTAL time as my goal marathon time (that would be 20 miles in approx 3 hours, or 9 min/mile). The rationale given for this is that it is good to get your body used to running for the total duration of time it will take you for the marathon... an interesting idea... However, it seems to me that when running 3 hours at 9 min/mile you will use very different posture/muscles than running for 3 hours (or a shorter duration) at 7:30 min/mile. So does this approach makes sense? (The counter-argument to this may be that you use speedwork to build muscle and use long runs to build bone-strength?) So has anyone ever used this training method for their long runs before a marathon? Does it sound like a good idea? Thanks for any input! These RunningAhead bulletin boards have been a great place for me to learn. Big grin


    You'll ruin your knees!

      I totally subscribe to the long runs being slower...to get your body acclimated to the time on your feet. Absolutely use speedwork and hillwork (specific to target race) for leg turnover and strength. Keep in mind that I am by no means a sub-3 hour marathoner, CAUTION, CAUTION! You can use middle distance runs to help with "tempo", or race pace. For example, if you're scheduled for a 12 miler, do a 1.5-3 mile warm-up, throw in 6-8 miles of race pace and then cool down in the remaining distance. Good luck and keep us posted...really looking to see you break the 3 hour barrier! Lynn B

      ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

      vicentefrijole


        Thanks for the advice, Lynn. Sounds good and I'll take whatever help I can find! BTW, I really enjoyed your narrative describing your 100 miler... well done. How did you prepare for THAT length of time on your feet?
          I was wondering pretty much the same thing last night. If I am doing my long runs slower than my goal pace run how it is that for the marathon I will run this long run at my goal pace? It's doesn't really seem logical to me. But of course I only realise this one month before my actual marathon...so now what? My plan: Running 20 tomorrow, friend is cycling it with me, keeping track of split times, how I feel, etc. I will see how I do and change my marathon goal accordingly. Big grin I'll try Lynn B's suggestion next weekend...that makes sense! thx.
          Mile Collector


          Abs of Flabs

            I probably shouldn't be giving advices, especially since I'll never run a 3:10 marathon... I think the logic behind running the long runs 30-60 seconds slower per mile is so that you don't tear up your body as much as when you run it at marathon pace. This way, your body will take less time to recover during the weeks of training. As for the second point, I agree with Lynn, that it's so you can get use to running for that period of time. Of course, I don't know how he trains for his 100 milers. Running 23 hours as a training run doesn't sound like much fun to me Tongue Anyway, these numbers are guidelines and not rules. Each person is different, and you should do what works for you.


            The Floor Walker

              Hello all However, at one point this book suggests doing those 20 mile training runs in the same TOTAL time as my goal marathon time (that would be 20 miles in approx 3 hours, or 9 min/mile). The rationale given for this is that it is good to get your body used to running for the total duration of time it will take you for the marathon... an interesting idea... However, it seems to me that when running 3 hours at 9 min/mile you will use very different posture/muscles than running for 3 hours (or a shorter duration) at 7:30 min/mile. So does this approach makes sense? (The counter-argument to this may be that you use speedwork to build muscle and use long runs to build bone-strength?)
              I'm a big fan of the long run and do believe that it is beneficial to go really long and really slow. The main reasons are to teach your body to convert fat stores into energy, which is essential for the marathon especially in that last 10k when all your glycogen stores are depleted. I'm not an expert on this but I've read a lot on the benefits of the long run. Here is a link that I think explains it pretty well: http://magstraining.tripod.com/training.html#The_Long_Run:
                Good counsel from a number of posters here. And, while it may seem counter-intuitive, you actually lose weight faster running long runs slower. I generally do 3-20/21 milers before a marathon, but each one is a bit different. Yes, it is to get your body used to being on the road for a length of time (as has been discussed), but on the 2nd and 3rd 20-milers in particular I have different paces interspersed in the run--eg, alternating PMP+30 to 60 for, say, miles 1-7, then picking it up to PMP-30 for the next 4, then back down to PMP+30 to 60, perhaps for the balance of the run. On my third, I make sure my last 3-4 miles are done at PMP or PMP-20 to 30 seconds. This gets your body trained to running at pace when you are tired and have been on the road a while. And, a comment on the distance. Personally, and I know no one here has advocated it, I don't run over 20 on my long runs (yeah, I mentioned 21 above, but that just kind of "happened"). When younger, my fastest was a 2:40:35 when running for the Marines, and we never ran further than 20. I think it gets counterproductive to go much further in training, as the return in conditioning is marginal. But, that's just my $.02.
                My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48
                vicentefrijole


                  I'm a big fan of the long run and do believe that it is beneficial to go really long and really slow. The main reasons are to teach your body to convert fat stores into energy, which is essential for the marathon especially in that last 10k when all your glycogen stores are depleted. I'm not an expert on this but I've read a lot on the benefits of the long run. Here is a link that I think explains it pretty well: http://magstraining.tripod.com/training.html#The_Long_Run:
                  Thanks mbotti.. that's a great link. There's a lot of good information in there.
                  vicentefrijole


                    Good counsel from a number of posters here. And, while it may seem counter-intuitive, you actually lose weight faster running long runs slower. I generally do 3-20/21 milers before a marathon, but each one is a bit different. Yes, it is to get your body used to being on the road for a length of time (as has been discussed), but on the 2nd and 3rd 20-milers in particular I have different paces interspersed in the run--eg, alternating PMP+30 to 60 for, say, miles 1-7, then picking it up to PMP-30 for the next 4, then back down to PMP+30 to 60, perhaps for the balance of the run. On my third, I make sure my last 3-4 miles are done at PMP or PMP-20 to 30 seconds. This gets your body trained to running at pace when you are tired and have been on the road a while. And, a comment on the distance. Personally, and I know no one here has advocated it, I don't run over 20 on my long runs (yeah, I mentioned 21 above, but that just kind of "happened"). When younger, my fastest was a 2:40:35 when running for the Marines, and we never ran further than 20. I think it gets counterproductive to go much further in training, as the return in conditioning is marginal. But, that's just my $.02.
                    Thanks Pron8r, I really like your concept of chaning pace in the long run... like a really long Fartlek! I too will be doing three 20-milers and my first one is today. I think I'll just go at straight PMP+60 today, just to see how it feels (and if I can do it... that's mighty slow!). But I like the idea of mixing it up during my 2nd and 3rd 20-milers. I'll let you all know how it goes. I have also heard from many reliable sources that going over 20 miles is counterproductive in marathon training. I have no intention of second-guessing that age-old wisdom! Thanks for everyone's input! I'm still accepting advice (always) so if anyone else has $0.02, ante up!


                    You'll ruin your knees!

                      I know there is a lot written about not going much over 20-21 miles in prep for a marathon, BUT, I suggest a long training run (at least one) of 26 miles if you are preparing for your FIRST marathon. Reasoning here is to mentally check off that you know you CAN run the distance and you know more about what to expect at mile 22,23, etc. Now, for the longer distances, there are lots of different schools of thought. The longer the run, the less likely you are to run the actual distance of the target race for a long training run. For my first 50 miler, I probably didn't run over 50k (31 miles) in any one run, but rather broke the distance up into long back-to-back runs of say 20/15, both slow long runs on back-to-back days. I would push this distance up to 30/15 in prep for the 50 miler. I took a totally different approach for the 100 miler. The longest single run I did was 62 miles and that was in a race. The summer of 2005, I decided to move up to the 100k distance (62 miles), and targeted a "destination" race in Virginia called the Great Eastern Endurance Run (GEER 100k). I was able to successfully finish that in September, 2005, then thought running an ultra a month sounded like a good idea, so I did a 50K race in October, a 50 miler in November and was going to do another 50 miler in December, but had to skip it due to conflicts at the last minute. In January, 2006, I did another 100K race and decided almost immediately to enter a 100 miler in February. So basically, I raced my way up the ladder to the 100. Keep in mind when I say race, I AIN'T RUNNIN' NO 3:10 MARATHON PACE! I love to run, so I train to be able to jump into a 50K or 50 miler without much notice...a hunnerd is another story! Yes Take care and train to stay injury free so you can make the race! Lynn B

                      ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

                        Another approach to ponder is doing a portion of your long runs at your PMP (planned marathon pace.) This is something you can work up too. For example doing 18-20 mile runs with a 4 mile segment at your PMP pace. Add a mile each time until you get to a 12-13 mile segment at PMP. This takes more out of you than "just cover the distance" type of long runs, so I would only do this twice a month. Your body needs to know what race pace feels like. Not only that, but this workout also gives you confidence, emotionally and psychologically. Anything you can do to simulate your race conditions is a good thing. Smile Run smart, Franc Karpo www.DistanceRunningTips.com


                        You'll ruin your knees!

                          "if anyone else has $0.02, ante up!" That has me wondering... If everybody throws in their $.02...but it's a "penny for your thoughts" ...somebody's got to be making some money on this deal... Eric??? Clowning around 8 Ball Can you tell I'm tapering for my 50 mile race this weekend??? Lynn B

                          ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

                            "If everybody throws in their $.02...but it's a "penny for your thoughts" ...somebody's got to be making some money on this deal...
                            Not me. I only collect fractional pennies because no one notices. If anyone's on the $0.02 deal here, I want 10% of it. Lynn: which 50 miler is this?


                            You'll ruin your knees!

                              Lynn: which 50 miler is this?
                              It is the Ouachita (pronounced wa-she-taw) Trail 50 miler held just outside of Little Rock, AR. It is actually run on the Ouachita Trail near the point of origin in Maumelle. The trail runs southwesterly from just west of Little Rock over into Oklahoma. Some pretty good single track! Only issue is the turkey hunters also in the woods Undecided Lynn B

                              ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

                              vicentefrijole


                                Hello and thanks to everyone for their advice! Just thought I'd give an update on how it's working out for me. I ran the first (of 3) 20-mile training run two weeks ago in the total time of my goal marathon pace (3 hrs), as suggested by the Higdon book. This came out to about PMP+90to120sec, which ended up being a lot harder than I expected once I'd been on my feet for 2.5 hrs! I ran my second 20-mile training run last Sunday and followed some of the advice suggested here... I ran the first 10 miles at PMP+60 and then stepped it up for 5 miles at PMP before finishing off the last 5 miles at PMP+60 again. It was tough but a good run. On my third (and final) 20-mile training run, before I taper, I think I'll try some more of these 'fartlek' style pace oscillations. Anyways, thanks again to everyone for the input! I don't know many other distance runners so this forum has been a really great way for me to get advice from experienced runners! Big grin
                                1