Posted: 28/01/2016 at 09:17
Wendy - I think if you are an experienced distance runner you can look at how far and how often, but if you are new to it then it's all about building up and staying fresh and injury free.
I now do one 22 mile run as part of my training along with three 20 mile runs and one 21 mile run, but I've been marathon running for the best part of a decade now and know what my body can handle and how quickly I recover from long efforts. There are many who do far less than that and find it works better for them. I know our Dannii has had great success with fewer long efforts and now questions their value. As with most marathon aspects it's about finding what works for you.
For my first, and in truth several marathons at the start of my running career, I never went over 20 miles. I made it and I started from an awful fitness base. My first marathon plan was totally insane, from zero exercise to marathon in four months.
It doesn't matter if you do 18, 20 or 22 miles in training. On that start line you'll have doubts if you can complete it. Everyone who has ever taken on a marathon has been there. They all end up with a finishers medal and a sense of achievement that they did it after all. Doubts and anxiety are normal.