How Long should the Long Run be?

10 messages
28/10/2002 at 13:08
I notice all training programmes for lesser distances (eg 10K 1/2M) always include an "over-distance" run. Not so for the marathon, where the longest run is typically 20 to 24 miles. Why?
28/10/2002 at 15:20
Meant to reply to this earlier but got distracted. I think that the reasoning is on a couple of fronts.

Firstly with a marathon, particularly with crowds watching, people are less likely to give up so keep on going when they wouldn't normally on a training run.

Secondly, the race itself is supposed to be the ending point so if your body feels knackered for the next couple of days then it doesn't matter because you've finished. If you get injured or whatever in the training then you won't be able to do the race to your best ability.

Only done 1 marathon and only ran up to 20 miles twice & I survived so there may well be a method in the madness.


28/10/2002 at 17:52
The reason the long runs aren't as long as the marathon (or longer) is simply because regularly running eg. 30 miles increases the likelihood of injury. It's different for ultramarathon runners - they don't have a choice (though they often run their long runs pretty slowly). Marathon runners DO have a choice and so keep the longest runs to only 20-23 miles in order to gain maximum training benefit while reducing the risk of overtraining.
28/10/2002 at 17:55
I've only done 1 marathon and i ony did 1 20 mile run.( about 3 weeks before the race) and i got through. I think it all depends of the individual. horses for courses.
28/10/2002 at 18:27
I have not done it so far but my book says, that during the training you are never fully rested, while just in front of the day X you have two "easy" weeks, so you can go the bit further.
What I am wondering is, that I want to go further AND faster.
28/10/2002 at 18:36
Those last two weeks you are meant to cut your distance NOT GO FURTHER. you need to rest for the big day
28/10/2002 at 18:50
Sorry, I meant go faster and further on day X. I have to choose my words better.
28/10/2002 at 19:00
i was getting worried for you then. lol
28/10/2002 at 20:15
I've also heard that it's because physiologically running that far knackers you - a lot more than running over distance for shorter events.

It'll depend how far you've gone before, but I think around 22 is generally considered a pretty good maximum figure, although plenty of people do marathons with nothing longer than (say) 18 miles behind them as a longest run.

Having said that you hear about people who do full marathons seemingly every other weekend!

Take note of the tapering point though!
29/10/2002 at 13:07

Wait till you get your January Runners World, the training programs start there

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