What does the long run in marathon training give you?

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Feb 2012
6:22pm, 9 Feb 2012
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Shin-Twigs
Apart from a cold nose?

I have always followed a traditional program of running progressively longer runs in marathon training (with step back weeks) and a taper.
My life has changed quite a lot recently and it means that I can't follow a conventional plan and I am struggling to get long runs in. Am doing Brighton mara, but at moment I have not managed many long runs, 1 15 miler. Weather doesn't help.

I have been running regularly and am now up to 5 runs per week which I am trying to do as

1 x steady, 1 x interval, 1 x easy, 1 x tempo and 1 x long. However I am going to struggle to make my long runs longer than 13 miles.
Should I pitch up for a 20 miler 3 weeks before, slog it out and then taper, whilst maintaining up until then this regime? Or is there no point in the 20?

Some advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
Feb 2012
7:01pm, 9 Feb 2012
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Slowboy
Maybe give up the idea of the marathon and concentrate on improving yout 5k/10k/10 mile/HM times?

Or - do what you can do, rock up at the marathon and see what happens. Then if things continue such that you can't do long runs, you'll know that either (a) you can run a marathon off no long runs (and this may well be possible, RooA did so with Coniston trail marathon) or (b) you can't, and can replan your goals around that fact.
Feb 2012
7:08pm, 9 Feb 2012
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ChrisHB
Just gets your mind used to the notion that you can still run when you're tired, and very tired, and extremely tired and a bit stiff and sore. IMO.
Feb 2012
7:10pm, 9 Feb 2012
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wildebeast
how about a 10 one day with an 8 (or insert appropriate distance) the next day it gives you 2 hard days together which wont be the same as 1 18 miler but will be better than no long runs at all good luck
Feb 2012
7:10pm, 9 Feb 2012
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Fenland Runner
According to P&D the long run helps build more in quantity mitochondria and also more efficient mitochondria.
Feb 2012
9:56pm, 9 Feb 2012
3071 posts
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Shin-Twigs
thanks guys. like the idea of 2 long (ish) runs together.
i've run this week 8.5, 3, 7, 4, 5 and tomorrow will do 10-12 so will have a pretty high mileage week (for me).

will see how this goes for the next few weeks.
Feb 2012
11:07pm, 9 Feb 2012
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Gobi
Sorry but a 10 and 8 does not = the value of an 18

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