Marathon training: how long for your longest run?

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29/07/2013 at 13:11

I've done zero to marathon in 4 months before and had no issues with the distance on race day - in fact I picked up the pace about by about 1min per mile over the last 10k.  Not saying that would work for everyone (or would even necessarily work for me again, it was a few years ago now).  I don't mean zero as in 'never laced a pair of trainers', just not having a mileage base in the immediate period prior to starting training.

29/07/2013 at 13:20
McFlooze wrote (see)

What's the furthest you can run comfortably now?  When is your marathon?  

I'm currently 16 weeks out (aiming for Valencia) and am currently doing 3-4 runs of between 5k and 10k per week, variable pace (9mm to 11mm).  Just trying to avoid shin splints at the moment having gone up from doing very little at all about a month ago.

29/07/2013 at 13:46

If you've had shin splits I guess you need to be very careful. Thankfully an issue I've never suffered from myself.

I guess your own experience tells you what you can do, which is always going to vary from person to person. To me starting at a very low mileage base into marathon training is more of an injury risk than starting with a good base and doing more lengthy runs.

If your plan worked for you the last time then there's little reason why it won't work again.

cougie    pirate
29/07/2013 at 15:11
I don't think long runs are a major cause of injury. I think speed work is a higher risk.
29/07/2013 at 17:36

Depends on the nature of the injury doesn't it?

This article is from the same folk who advocate the 16-mile max long runs, seem to think long runs are an injury risk:

Anyway I'm just trying not to rush headlong into running too far or too fast, doing as much as I can on soft ground etc.  Only had problems with shin splints once in the past when I very first started running and didn't have decent trainers, but better safe than sorry.

29/07/2013 at 17:46

I suppose that makes more sense, as he is making a clear distinction between people planning to finish in over 3:45 and elite runners (though doesn't say much about anyone in between!). Also if you are building up from very little mileage it wouldn't make sense to start doing very long runs while they would still represent most of your weekly mileage. I imagine the people advocating 5 x 20+ are probably already running reasonably high mileage and/or are doing it faster.

seren nos    pirate
29/07/2013 at 17:47

Not sure why you use shin splints as an excuse if you only had then when you started running and didn't have the correct footwear,,..........

I agree that more likely to get injury from sped work than from a built up long slow run.....

but seems like you have decided what you are going to can do a marathon on no training at all.isn't fun or quick....

29/07/2013 at 20:20

I did my first marathon this year having previously only run distances of up to 10 miles (and only been running for 2 years). I think the long run is probably the most important session of the week and looking back at my training log, I did two runs of 21-22 miles, four 20 mile runs and a couple of 18 mile runs. I finished in 3:29 and now have a GFA place for VLM for next year. When I start mara training again I'll try and do the same number of 20+ long runs. I agree re long slow runs not being risky re injuries. I only picked up an injury post marathon training when I started doing more speedy stuff.

I know of some people who even do some runs of over 26 miles in training but I think this would wipe me out! I do think it's worth training over distance for HMs though.

30/07/2013 at 10:32

Beginner, 50 this year, took up running October last year, immediately hooked, joined club, did a Marathon (Portsmouth coastal) with only 3 months training, max run 14 miles, max weekly total 25 miles, came in just under 4 hours....hated it! last hour was hell and although pleased/elated to finish, didn't really want to ever consider repeating the experience. 

Not sure why but got caught up in all the hype about spring marathons and decided to enter another marathon in April this year (North Dorset village)...wanted to get some long training runs in, could completely see that there was good evidence that your cumulative 5 longest training runs should be at least 80 to 100 miles and that this distance strongly correlates (inversely!) with your marathon time, but like Bbug, lots of other commitments and once again only managed one long run of 16 miles...however the difference this time was that I did manage to get my weekly running distance up to 40 miles and managed to do this for several weeks without getting injuried...managed 3:21 and the race felt great....if anything I went off too slowly and found the last 10 K relatively easy. 

In summary anyone can run a marathon with little training but its going to hurt and be very tough mentally. If u can put the miles in and get 4 or 5 proper long runs, then I'm sure that's the right thing to do but if u can't, then aim to slowly crank up the weekly mileage and that will certainly help. If u want to see what the elites do, have a look at Steve Way's blog...his weekly and daily mileage is frightening!!!

seren nos    pirate
30/07/2013 at 14:36

did you do any other sports creech,,,,,,,,,,as to start running at nearly 50 and virtually straight away be able to run sub 20 5k's and 71 min 10 milers is not the normal beginer runner.

You have either being doing another sport at a high level or are very naturally talented......

to do 3:21 of only one run of 16 miles is amazing at your age and if you could commit to train then it would be interesting to see what you could achieve,,

But it is very unlikely that there would be many men out that could do what you have done.

go on admit it.which sport were you doing previously that made you so fit

seren nos    pirate
30/07/2013 at 16:20

I would also compare the fact that you 17 min 5k now should indicate a much faster marathon time if you put some miles hubby hasn't broken 20 mins in a 5k but has a faster marathon time than you and is a bit older...... isn't it tempting for you to actually train and run a marathon properely 


30/07/2013 at 16:34
seren nos wrote (see)

Not sure why you use shin splints as an excuse if you only had then when you started running and didn't have the correct footwear,,..........

I agree that more likely to get injury from sped work than from a built up long slow run.....

but seems like you have decided what you are going to can do a marathon on no training at all.isn't fun or quick....

Not sure what excuses I'm making - isn't avoiding running exclusively on hard surfaces and not ramping up speed/mileage too quickly just basic running common sense?

Anyway I've only got 16 weeks to go and I've not run more than 10km in over a year.  If anyone can find me a reputable beginners training schedule that advocates running more than 1 or 2 20 mile runs over from this base and over that timeframe I'm happy to consider it. 

30/07/2013 at 16:38

Seren, where does Creech say what all his other race times are? Or have you been doing advanced webstalking?

seren nos    pirate
30/07/2013 at 16:56

just thought it was unusual for a someone his age who had only started running last year to run no more than 16 miles to run 3:21.......

only 1 minute of the GFA catergory for over 50's......which isn't an easy catergory....

I just don't think he is representative of most new runners...and to suggest that most newbies can run those times with a lack of long runs is going to end up with a lot of people walking long distances ........but i am mighty impressed by his running times from such little training......

30/07/2013 at 20:04

No prizes for guessing what Seren was doing between 10.30 and 2.30

Stalky stalky....

30/07/2013 at 21:02

agree a bloomin brill time for v50 well done creech , did you win your category then ?

30/07/2013 at 22:17

Thanks Roeby, but nowhere near winning my category...

Probably slighly naive but didn't expect anyone to look me up. Impressed/intimidated with Seren's stalking skills. Agree that if I didn't have family/work/social stuff etc and could put in the longer runs, could go a lot faster but the reason I replied to Bbug was that I think it is possible to run an enjoyable and relatively pain free marathon without  long training runs. 

Good luck Beetlebug. 

seren nos    pirate
30/07/2013 at 22:23

Stevie. i  was actually at the dentist for the second of three visits today followed by an asda shop.

I did spend a quick 5 mins looking up our friend because i thought he might have been another one of those bullshitters that come on here and claim that they can run 13 mins for a 5k without any training.........but i was totally wrong and and in less than 2 mins found he was a pretty impressive runner for his short runing career.....hats off to the guy...

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