Marathon Training and Discussions

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Long Runs (Read 390 times)

    Since there are so many different ideas about how far your longest run should be, I was just wondering what everyone is planning for their "longest, long run". I've seen some training plans that top out at 18 miles and some that suggest you should run something near the full 26 miles. I put together my plan based on a couple of different programs and my longest run will be 22 miles. What about everyone else? Jim
    Fortitudine Vincimus - "By endurance we conquer,"
      Right now I am planning on 22, maybe 24 miles 3 weeks before the marathon. I am tempted to shoot for 26 but I guess I will leave this for the race. This is going to be my first marathon so it seems proper to beat the distance record there. Ewa
      I would rather wear out than rust out. - Helen Klein You create your own universe as you go along. - Winston Churchill
        You might find this thread useful: http://runningahead.com/forums/topic/b8117662a370413f9f0f0b0cbc3e57ae If I screwed up the link, you can find it at the bottom of the second page of the "General Running" forum, titled "The Long Run Thread." Some really great info in there. FYI, there are experts who even suggest going beyond marathon distance, up to 30 miles (e.g. Galloway). I've never tried it, but might someday. If you read the above thread, there's a lot of suggestion that the optimum long run distance is more related to time on the road than actual distance .... meaning if you run your long runs at 12:00 pace, a 22-mile training run (something like 4.5 hours) might be counter-productive; on the other hand, if you run your long runs at 7:00 pace, you can easily finish a 24 miler in under 3 hours. My personal opinion is that you need to experiment and see what works best for you. This time around, I'm solving the problem by running 2-3 full marathons as training runs, prior to my target marathon in late April. Looking forward to it, too ... it'll be fun to do a couple at an easy pace, and enjoy what's going on around me. So I guess the answer to your question is - 26.2 in my case.
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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        Scout7


        CPT Curmudgeon

          This is always a hotly contested topic. For most plans, they top off at around 20-22 miles. For most people, this is ok. But, it's highly dependent on the person. Some people do a max of 18 miles, others do 30. I've only done one official marathon so far, so my personal experience on this specific topic is somewhat limited. My max was about 20 miles (I followed Higdon's Intermediate II plan). Most "experts" say that anything over about 20-22 mi or 3-3.5 hrs, you're at the point of diminishing returns. Your chance for injury has started to outstrip any physical benefit you're going to gain from continued distance / time. Is that point the same for everyone? Certainly not, but it seems to hold relatively true for a good portion of people. Of course, training for an ultra, you most certainly would try to do at least one or two runs longer than 24 miles (depending on the length of the race), to prepare yourself for it, so there ya go.


          Go Pre!

            Hal Higdon's Website (click) is great info for distances and training for different marathions ie. your first, 5th or 50th. He has run 111. He mentions in his book that I just finished (Marathon: The Ultimate Guide to Training) that he tried the 30 mile pre run a couple of times and did not have better results, onlt more fatigue. He eventually settled on 20 miles (for beginners you only run the 20 k once, increasing to 20 k for several weeks in a row before the race for intermediate and advanced) Having run a half M last Oct, and relatively maintaining mileage since then I plan to follow his first timers training routine but increasing mileage and speeds to somewhere between the 'beginners' and 'intermediate' suggestions. So I will get up to 20m and do that twice before tapering. I am shooting for a time of 3:59:59 or better Smile D
              I read (somewhere!) that going much over 3 hours was counterproductive and certainly no more than 3 1/2 in training as it causes too much tissue damage which can't be recovered during tapering. Hence my current plan is to max at 3 1/2 hours with bare minimum 2 weeks to go, if not 3.
                Setting aside the debate of what actually works better, one reason I generally top out at 22-23 miles is simply that I want the 26.2 to sort of be meaningful - to be a distance that represents a stretch. I kind of like knowing I'm running what, for me, is a long long ways ... Of course, those who suggest going longer than race distance would argue the opposite - that by going longer, you prepare psychologically better. I dunno. Like Scout said, ultrarunners go far beyond that in training ... so when I start doing that, maybe I'll see if it has an impact on marathon times.
                I read (somewhere!) that going much over 3 hours was counterproductive and certainly no more than 3 1/2 in training as it causes too much tissue damage which can't be recovered during tapering. Hence my current plan is to max at 3 1/2 hours with bare minimum 2 weeks to go, if not 3.
                You probably read it in that very same thread up there - so don't assume our local experts know everything. At least not as it applies to you. Maybe for you, longer runs would work better. Or not. But I think you're on the right track by focusing on time rather than distance.
                E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                  I read (somewhere!) that going much over 3 hours was counterproductive and certainly no more than 3 1/2 in training as it causes too much tissue damage which can't be recovered during tapering.
                  I haven't heard this before. I am a snail...a very slow snail....My marathon times have been 5:35 (all road) and 6:30 (all trail). I hope to run a 5:15: to 5:30 in 5 weeks. I had always thought that the most important thing was to get the long distance in. I did "hit the wall" in both of those marathons, most likely because of lack of proper food intake during the run. I'm hoping to keep my energy intake more consistent with this next marathon. With the above reasoning, should I really be limiting my time on my long runs to 3 1/2 hours max? At my pace, this would only get me about 16 miles.
                  Next up: A 50k in ? Done: California-Oregon-Arizona-Nevada (x2)-Wisconsin-Wyoming-Utah-Michigan-Colorado
                  vicentefrijole


                    Most "experts" say that anything over about 20-22 mi or 3-3.5 hrs, you're at the point of diminishing returns. Your chance for injury has started to outstrip any physical benefit you're going to gain from continued distance / time. Is that point the same for everyone? Certainly not, but it seems to hold relatively true for a good portion of people.
                    Well said. This idea of a point of 'diminishing returns' is one I've read about (in one form or another) from a few different "experts" and it makes sense to me. However, as Scout reminds us, this point is not the same for everyone. We've all got different reasons for running a marathon. A person who is trying to run a sub-3:00 is going to approach training very differently from a runner who just wants to complete their first marathon. (I think it's a fair statement that a first-time marathoner should generally not run over 22 miles in a training run... anyone disagree? It would be a shame to run 26 mi in training but then injure yourself and not get to run in an actual marathon). Also, we've all got different body types and, I suspect, different maximum glycogen holding capacities. Some people may be able to run 22 miles (or > 3 hrs) in training without really putting their bodies at any increased risk of injury. Others may have to hold it back to 18 miles (or a little less than 3 hrs) in order to avoid injury. It would be really interesting to see how different body types effect this... I'm not sure, but I suspect people with more muscle mass, larger livers, or slightly more body fat might be a little better at recovering from a long run? I'm a short/scrawny guy myself and after a marathon it takes me a LONG LONG time to feel "right" again. I also wonder how this "recovery ability" is different in men vs. women? Modified to add: This time around, I plan to run something like two 20-milers (with 12-miler step-back weeks in between) and then, if I'm feeling up to it, a 21 or 22-miler for my last long run. Just to see how it changes things... Big grin
                    Scout7


                    CPT Curmudgeon

                      ooo....ooo....I gots something to add. Another thing to consider in the mileage debate that I've seen is not just length of the long run, but also total weekly mileage, and total mileage in your training plan (for that race, at least). Some people are able to handle more weekly mileage than others, etc. etc. so on and so forth. I think that a good, quality plan will focus on those aspects as well. I'm also generally not a big fan or proponent of the "less is ok" mindset. You know what I mean, the Lance Armstrong mentality (I don't need anything more than 14 miles as a long run, it's all about aerobic conditioning). While this may get you to the finish, it may not be in the fashion you want (Lance got a stress fracture). Not that I'm poo-pooing anyone's training at all. I'm just of the opinion that, like all things in life, if you want it, you gotta do the time and the work for it. And this is race time immaterial (if that makes sense).
                        (Lance got a stress fracture).
                        Did he really? Hadn't heard that. I'd love to know what his TOTAL mileage was prepping for New York. A couple hundred miles maybe? If you read this month's RW and his interview with his ex, you'll notice that he'll probably respect the distance next time.
                        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                        Scout7


                        CPT Curmudgeon

                          Yeah, it wasn't made into a big deal, and he didn't announce it until a number of weeks after. I'd be very curious, too. I watched that TLC or whatever special on him, the woman, and the wheelchair racer. It was interesting, to an extent (horrible graphics, especially of an explosion....long story on that). Anyhoo, they said he was biking and swimming to help as well. My opinion on that is hey, right on, good aerobic workouts there. BUT.....Those are poor substitutes for actual running.