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Marathon Training - Long Run - Only every second week

2 watchers
Jun 2017
6:29pm, 15 Jun 2017
2138 posts
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Tim of MK
The marathon training schedule that I've downloaded suggests incorporates only one 'proper' long run a fortnight in the latter weeks, viz:

12 miles, 7 miles, 14 miles, 8 miles, 16 miles, 8 miles, 18 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles

Is this usual?
Jun 2017
9:17pm, 15 Jun 2017
2184 posts
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K5 Gus
To me, with that very limited insight, it looks like it may be the plan for a first time marathoner, someone not used to long runs and needs longer to recover between them ?

For someone like yourself who is an experienced marathon runner I'd have thought you'd be wanting to do a long run most, if not all, weeks - unless of course you've not done much running in the last year or two, and are just wanting to ease yourself back in and just get round ( haven't checked your recent mileage ).

Who is the plan aimed at - does it fit your aspirations ?
Jun 2017
9:26pm, 15 Jun 2017
23080 posts
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Derby Tup
That looks like one of those "get round without completely burying yourself on the day" schedules. I did similar mileage "long" runs for a recent (trail) marathon and struggled tbh
Jun 2017
10:37pm, 15 Jun 2017
2139 posts
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Tim of MK
I have done full-marathons before, but not for over two years.

I'm at Week 6 of the originally-mentioned 20-Week training session.

In Weeks 1, 2 & 3, I actually did longer efforts of 8.1 miles. In Weeks 4, 5 and 6, I've done longer efforts of 9.6 miles. So, I am somewhat ahead of schedule.

Tempted to press on, but schedule emphasises how important step-back weeks are.
Jun 2017
7:38am, 16 Jun 2017
2140 posts
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Tim of MK
I read that marathon training is an "experiment for one", inasmuch as we're all unique.

So, maybe there's little point in any 'one size fits all' training programme.

My problem with many of these programmes is that they infer you'll have a great race if you follow them and a crap one if you don't. Yet they're all different.

I've seen longest runs of anywhere from 16 to 26 miles, with some saying no runner should go more than 3 hours.

Bewildering.
OJ
Jun 2017
12:33pm, 26 Jun 2017
114 posts
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OJ
Hi

It's difficult to say without seeing the entire programme. I'd be wary of a programme that only hit 18 miles, then 20 miles once, unless it was, as had been said a "first timer, get around" programme.

But that said, there's not necessarily anything wrong with one (very) long run per fortnight. A friend and very good marathon runner I know swears by it as it gives her time to recover and that works for her.

My own experience (only 2 marathons so far) has been that a programme in which very long runs are alternated with medium long runs with tempo sections works quite nicely. I felt very strong doing that and it was manageable - sadly had a bad marathon as got injured and then picked up a nasty cold, but I'd stand by the training pattern. The injury was about a gait issue I was working on rather than purely volume I'd say...

ie my last few weeks looked something like something like..

19 miles slow
15 miles with tempo section
20 miles slow
15 miles with tempo section
20 miles slow
15 miles with tempo section
21 miles slow...

Taper...

This article by Greg McMillan on different types of long run is good...

mcmillanrunning.com
Jun 2017
1:27pm, 26 Jun 2017
7783 posts
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lammo
I've never done a marathon and have no intention of doing one, but i do spend a lot of time on here reading about other peoples training and races, so i would say that "most people" would opt for a cut back once in every four

With a minimum of 3 x 20 milers

So a typical build up might look like

10
12
14
8
14
16
18
10
18
20
22
12
26

Or something like that

i think your schedule looks fine

I'm sure somebody who knows what they are talking about will be a long shortly, or go on the sub 2:45 thread :-)
Jun 2017
2:11pm, 26 Jun 2017
10752 posts
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Autumnleaves
Very interesting article, thanks OJ

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