Running over 20 miles in 1st marathon training

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10/12/2012 at 21:33

Just to put the cat among the pigeons! I ran the full 26.2 in training before my first marathon and have done it every year since.

Cougie - why would you want to plan your stops on a 20 miler or any training run? If you have to stop you are clearly running beyond your capability and shouldn't be doing that distance at that point in your training - surely?

When I do it, it is just part of a normal weeks training but I do do it a long time before the race. For London this is usually early Feb.

My "golden rule" is if you let it affect the rest of the weeks training then you shouldn't be doing it, but if you can just soak it up as part of the  normal training why not? On your first marathon how do you know what time to aim for. Doing this gives you a good idea and is a massive boost to the confidence.

Disclaimer : Of course I am not recommending this to anyone and I don't know any schedule/expert who does recommend it.

cougie    pirate
10/12/2012 at 22:15
OG - it's not a stop - more a fast walking break. Let's me get some food on board - in races I will use gels - but in training I use cheaper sweets. Which are fine but jar to eat and run at the same time.

I believe the thinking is that it lets your heart rate drop slightly and the recovery from the long run is quicker. It seems to be anyway.

It's working for me anyway - I've pb'd this year with that as part of my strategy.

As to what time to go for in the marathon - use a half marathon as a guide. Double that plus 20 mins won't be massively out ?
cougie    pirate
10/12/2012 at 22:18
OG - I see you peak in the 60s for mileage - I suspect thats why you can take a full marathon in your stride in training.
10/12/2012 at 22:34

cougie - weirdly there has only ever been about 4 to 6 mins difference between my half and marathon times - not sure what that says but hence my forum name!!!

10/12/2012 at 23:04

One Gear - Jeff Galloways beginner plan includes one 26 - so your thinking is in line with at least one published schedule! and the target based plans includes a 30 miler for those so inclined.  Galloway is keen on walk breaks on long runs, so with one gear (and I remember your gearing being high) you might want to miss those bits!

Galloways reasoning for walk breaks is that it speeds recovery as Coughie was finding. I've not tried that before. More food for thought.

I have 2 types of long run. The one where I go out and run slow for a long time hopefully training for more efficient fat burning, and a long run that gets progressively faster, incorporating some marthon pace work. I never do the later type of run over 20 miles (too knackering and longer recovery). But the slow run, I will happily go out for longer than my estimated race time. For the slow run, I eat nothing, for the faster run its more a simulation of racing for short periods, and may have a gel or two


Edited: 10/12/2012 at 23:06
10/12/2012 at 23:35

Also-ran -  you mention marathon pace in training and a lot of people seem to do this. But is this your marathon race pace? There is no way I could say include 10 miles at marathon pace (6:45 m/m) in a twenty miler if that is the case. I usually do one track session a week - which is much faster than marathon pace - but other than that the only time I run at marathon pace is on the day. However, I am looking for something different in my training this year so am intersted to know.

As an example this year my 26.2 training run came in at 03:13:xx and that delivered a 02:57:xx on the day but not a mile of that training run was at "marathon pace". To me that 26.2 in training is my "rite of passage" - if I run it all the way I have earnt "the rite" to do the race.

Intersting how we all end up in pretty much the same place but from many different directions!

11/12/2012 at 08:28
OG, I picked this up from Pfitzinger & Douglas. E.g week 2 of their 55m-70m plan has an 18 mile run with 10 @ mp. I will run this close to my last marathon - around 6:50 min / m. If it proves too hard because of loss of endurance, I will at least attempt to keep my heart rate at the right intensity. I won't decide on my planned marathon pace until early in the year.

Mcmillan also as some ideas on running the 'fast finish' long run a handful of times.
11/12/2012 at 12:30
cougie wrote (see)

lardarse - had you run more 20 milers - you may have done a faster time ?

Impossible to say for sure anyway - and it just shows that there are so many different methods - and not one definitive plan. 


Thats an excellent debut Pops - do you think your cycling helped ?

Yes i totally agree I may have, but it was my first one and was following Hals beginner schedule that only had one long run of 20 miles, so that's what I did just saying it's fine, to get around you don't need to to train as much as people think, I did 4:17 for my first marathon at 30 BMI, had I been 3.5 st lighter I think that would've made me far quicker than 4 more 20 milers!

Surrey Runner wrote (see)
I think the P&D program goes up to 24 for its longest run? Though am at work and cannot confirm at moment.
Some of the ultra programs I have read include runs of near marathon length.

For my last ultra the longest training run I did was 38 miles.

12/12/2012 at 10:22
Interesting reading back furthest I have ran in training is 23 miles this also had 6 miles at -10 seconds sub marathon pace. Up until two years ago I never included any MP into my long runs but found that it really helped. If you are up to 15 miles now, why not also include a midweek medium to long run to a max of 13/15 miles. The more 20+ mile runs you can fit in the better but don't do MP in them all or you can wipe the rest of your weeks traing out but every other week would be ok. But to be honest I don't see any need to go past 23 miles.
29/03/2013 at 22:55

Running my fourth marathon (VLM) on 21 April .... however due to injuries, weather etc. training hasn't been going too well, probably about 3 weeks behind my schedule. I've done one 20 miler (Ashby 20) two weeks ago, still got niggly injuries but able to run, however don't think I'll be able to fit in another 20 miler.


Do you think one 20 miler is enough? and also being two weeks ago is it too far away from marathon (five weeks). I usually aim for at least 2x 20 miles. thanks


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29/03/2013 at 23:17
I've only managed 19 miles as my max 2 weeks ago. Slight knee niggle made me cut my planned 21 last week to 14. Not been running since sat, but lots of cycling. What do people recommend for last 3 weeks of training, should I attempt a 21 mile LSR this weekend or focus on shorter distances?
29/03/2013 at 23:37

3 weeks out is plenty of time to recover from a 20+ mile run if you are fit, healthy and have trained up towards that distance.

I couldn't tell you if it is enough time if you aggravate a niggle / injury that you are carrying. That is a risk that you will need to weigh up for yourself. I spent 3 - 4 weeks before my last marathon with an injury, wondering if I was going to be healed in time - it made for a long 3 weeks. 

cougie    pirate
29/03/2013 at 23:42
Woody- lets say it is enough. You've done marathons before - so you have miles in your legs. There's nothing you can do about it now anyway - but I'm sure youll get round. I did when I'd just one 20 in my legs on my first one.
29/03/2013 at 23:45
Thanks also ran
I've decided to take it easy and see how I go doing a half next week. I could defer Lonfon but don't really want to. I've hold a charity ill fun for them and font wznt to let them down. Cheers
29/03/2013 at 23:51
Cheers cougie

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