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2013-06-14 11:22 AM

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Subject: Marathon long run question

How many 20+ mile runs do you do in marathon training? I've usually kept it to one 20 mile run and one 22 mile run (and then the next longest runs were one 17 and one 18 mile run). I was exploring some more advanced marathon plans, which suggest doing several long 20+ mile runs during training. 

I'm about to start training in July for the NYC marathon 2013, which will be my 5th stand alone marathon and I'm considering extending my go-to plan by a couple weeks to incorporate one 19 mile run, two 20 mile runs and one 22 mile run if there's a compelling reason to do so. 



2013-06-14 11:29 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

2013-06-14 11:36 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Of course, this is going to be something that varies from runner to runner. For my first and second I did one 20-miler and one 22-miler. For my third I did three 20-milers and a 22-miler and set a 16-minute PR. Coincidence? Maybe -- I also did a lot of speedwork that summer, and it was a chilly marathon day. But I do believe the extra mileage had something to do with it.

I don't follow a plan other than my own -- I just plot out long runs for the couple of months before (alternating 18/12/20/12 etc) and do my other runs when I can during the week.

What have you done in the past? How did your previous 20-milers go?

2013-06-14 11:48 AM
in reply to: Miles around Midtown

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question

Previous training has served me well -- I've basically stuck to the same plan now for two marathons and PR'd each one. The 20 & 22 milers felt solid, which is why I wondered if I could improve my time even more by adding another two or three weeks in the training to make room for some more long runs like that. 

I already do speed work, to which I credit both those PRs. 

I'm not thinking of doing anything radical (if it ain't broke, right?) -- for this marathon, I was just gonna add one more 20 mile run and up my 18 mile run to a 19 mile run. Then I saw a lot of other plans that showed something like four 20 milers and another two 18 or 19 mile runs...and wondered if that would be a better idea. 

Just curious what other people thought about it and what they've done in the past.

2013-06-14 11:50 AM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 




This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.
2013-06-14 11:53 AM
in reply to: thebigb

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

Hm. Interesting. Currently, my longer runs during the week are long tempo runs, usually @MP, though the longest they get are like, 10 miles I think. 

So you're saying don't up the long long runs, but instead focus on making runs during the week longer? 



2013-06-14 12:19 PM
in reply to: thebigb

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

YES. To keep those long, long runs remaining in the 25-30 percent range, you pretty much have to get in those mid week medium runs. Doing those significantly improved my long runs. I would venture to say they were the most important part of my marathon build and it sounds like I am not alone.

2013-06-14 12:29 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
I'm also training for my first marathon and wanted to know the general tips on upping the training. I'm already up to 20 miles on the long runs. I think I'll work harder on the mid week runs. Thanks!
2013-06-14 12:30 PM
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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by swishyskirt

Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

Hm. Interesting. Currently, my longer runs during the week are long tempo runs, usually @MP, though the longest they get are like, 10 miles I think. 

So you're saying don't up the long long runs, but instead focus on making runs during the week longer? 




Your plan is your plan and I'm not advising you to change it, simply stating what has worked well (not going to back door brag) for me. I've had good success with Pfitz and his staple runs are more the midweek medium long run at a more aerobic pace. The long runs are typically, iirc, 20%-30% slower than MP but every other week you work some MP miles gradually into the long run.

I believe Asalzwed is a Pfitz disciple as well.

Edited by thebigb 2013-06-14 12:33 PM
2013-06-14 12:43 PM
in reply to: thebigb

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by swishyskirt
Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

Hm. Interesting. Currently, my longer runs during the week are long tempo runs, usually @MP, though the longest they get are like, 10 miles I think. 

So you're saying don't up the long long runs, but instead focus on making runs during the week longer? 

Your plan is your plan and I'm not advising you to change it, simply stating what has worked well (not going to back door brag) for me. I've had good success with Pfitz and his staple runs are more the midweek medium long run at a more aerobic pace. The long runs are typically, iirc, 20%-30% slower than MP but every other week you work some MP miles gradually into the long run. I believe Asalzwed is a Pfitz disciple as well.

Heh, yeah, I am a bit of a disciple. But Pfitz and I are not monogamous as I dabble in some others Smile, but the principles are generally pretty similar. 

Now we are getting into the guts of the training stuff. What I strongly suggest is to do some reading to understand the specifics of workouts. What you are doing and why.

I feel Jack Daniel's Running Formula, Pfitz's Advanced Marathoning and even the Hansons Marathon Method.

2013-06-14 12:43 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
I too would echo the importance of the mid-week runs. I have seen the greatest improvements in my overall running with increasing my mid-week medium run. I try to start the week with a tempo run of five miles. A recovery run of four the next day. Off. An eight mile run at MP. Off. Long run. There are also three swims and three bikes to fit in too which impact my scheduling. I'd like to get in another run somehow and get closer to 40 miles per week but overall my week is pretty full. The tradeoff of triathlon training vs. pure running I guess.


2013-06-14 12:44 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Yes, look at the whole plan, not just any one aspect of it.
2013-06-14 2:49 PM
in reply to: thebigb

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question

Originally posted by thebigb simply stating what has worked well (not going to back door brag) for me. 

Is saying you're not going to back door brag still sort of implying that you have results worthy of bragging...thus still a back door brag? 

But I completely agree with what you and Asalzwed are saying.  Basically for marathon training (or increasing run fitness in general), your goal is to run as much as you can without getting hurt.  It's not that important if your mileage is coming from your long runs or your mid week runs...but in general, most people will have success in avoiding injury by spreading out their mileage more evenly.

 

2013-06-14 11:00 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 




I very much agree with Salty here. The long runs are important, but the overall volume is a bigger deal. I have trained seriously for two marathons: one was a BQ attempt in '95 when I was a careless lad of 27; the other was in fall '12 as a decrepit 44-year old. Both times around I did a number of 20 milers in training; last year I had two 20s and two 22s. But the big difference in my training was that the first time around I put almost all focus on the weekly long run, which would typically destroy me. Last year my overall volume was much higher, and I was doing one or two mid-week medium-long runs per week, e.g. 13 miles on Tuesday and two runs of 9 + 6 miles on Thursday. The effect of this is that the long runs were much easier than they had been in '95, and I recovered from them *so* much faster. The increased volume also meant that I handily beat my time from when I was 17 years younger.
2013-06-15 4:55 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question

You should really be asking yourself how many 3-3.5 hour runs you will be doing...

If a 20 miler takes 4-5 hours you are doing more damage than good running that far.

Peak out at 3-3.5 hours for your long run and it doesn't hurt to add one or two extra of those.

2013-06-15 5:47 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
I think the premise behind another long run and/or more running at other times during the week is that more volume, to a point, is going to be beneficial.


2013-06-15 7:23 AM
in reply to: jldicarlo

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by jldicarlo

You should really be asking yourself how many 3-3.5 hour runs you will be doing...

If a 20 miler takes 4-5 hours you are doing more damage than good running that far.

Peak out at 3-3.5 hours for your long run and it doesn't hurt to add one or two extra of those.




I always laugh when I read these you will do more damage posts. It is individual and depends on how your body holds up and recovers from the miles. People training for ultras run 5-8 hours frequently and are not doing this so called damage.

My best advice is do three 20 milers or 20+ if you wish but remember to keep the easy days easy so your hard days do not suffer and become easy days too.
2013-06-16 7:21 AM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by Asalzwed

Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

YES. To keep those long, long runs remaining in the 25-30 percent range, you pretty much have to get in those mid week medium runs. Doing those significantly improved my long runs. I would venture to say they were the most important part of my marathon build and it sounds like I am not alone.





and just to play devils advocate. Some of the greats insisted on multiple runs of longer than 26mi. Deek DeCastella would always do 30 milers and Toshiheko Seko would even go as long as 50 miles.
No wrong or right way. Do something and see if it works for you.
2013-06-16 10:38 AM
in reply to: qrkid

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by qrkid
Originally posted by Asalzwed
Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

YES. To keep those long, long runs remaining in the 25-30 percent range, you pretty much have to get in those mid week medium runs. Doing those significantly improved my long runs. I would venture to say they were the most important part of my marathon build and it sounds like I am not alone.

and just to play devils advocate. Some of the greats insisted on multiple runs of longer than 26mi. Deek DeCastella would always do 30 milers and Toshiheko Seko would even go as long as 50 miles. No wrong or right way. Do something and see if it works for you.

For everyone or after reaching some ability? Trying to pull info like that from elites who have likely been running 80+ miles every week for years, likely doing 100-120 or more for a marathon build, and applying that to an age grouper who may peak at 45-55 mpw is a risky proposition. A lot more info about their schedules would be much more helpful. 

2013-06-16 11:26 AM
in reply to: jldicarlo

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by jldicarlo

You should really be asking yourself how many 3-3.5 hour runs you will be doing...

If a 20 miler takes 4-5 hours you are doing more damage than good running that far.

Peak out at 3-3.5 hours for your long run and it doesn't hurt to add one or two extra of those.

I disagree.  As long as your week day miles support those long days your not at any more risk then stopping at 3 hours.  And your recovery isn't necessarily more.  But, again, that assumes you have the miles under you belt to support those efforts.

2013-06-16 3:34 PM
in reply to: qrkid

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by qrkid
Originally posted by Asalzwed
Originally posted by thebigb
Originally posted by Asalzwed

It's not so much about how many 20-20+ milers. It's more about the overall consistency of the plan and the overall weekly structure. Meaning, having a solid week of training leading up to the long run and letting that determine how far you go. (a good ballpark is 25-30 percent of your weekly volume is the long run)

I believe it to be important to continually evaluate yourself and let that interpret your plan. 

This. I'd also add that as important, if not even more important, are those mid week medium long runs as they really set the tone for the overall training. Heck, I think even on a Pfitz 18/85 you're only doing a couple 20 milers, or a 20 and a 22...it's been a while, but a lot of stuff in the range of 15-18 during the week.

YES. To keep those long, long runs remaining in the 25-30 percent range, you pretty much have to get in those mid week medium runs. Doing those significantly improved my long runs. I would venture to say they were the most important part of my marathon build and it sounds like I am not alone.

and just to play devils advocate. Some of the greats insisted on multiple runs of longer than 26mi. Deek DeCastella would always do 30 milers and Toshiheko Seko would even go as long as 50 miles.No wrong or right way. Do something and see if it works for you.
your not exactly playing devils advocate. I'm saying your longest run should be in the ballpark percentages I stated above, of your total weekly mileage. Guys like Seko were running up to 300 MPW, putting even a 50-miler within that range.


2013-06-16 3:37 PM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
I noticed all this discussion is about distance. May also want to figure out the proper pace for the runs (or portions of the run).
2013-06-16 3:51 PM
in reply to: m2tx

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question
Originally posted by m2txI noticed all this discussion is about distance. May also want to figure out the proper pace for the runs (or portions of the run).
Mostly easy, sometimes hard. One can get a very long way with this simple advice. Additionally I've recommended some books above that explain different workouts and pacing and why they are structured the way they are so that she can experiment, as there is a ton of variety in what works for whom.
2013-06-16 6:26 PM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question

As my sig line says, it depends.  For someone hitting the bare minimums (which I prefer to see in the range of 9 hours peak weekly running time for a marathon), I like to get them up to at least two or three runs in the three hour range.  I prefer to manage training by time, not distance.  A three hour run can be as short at 13 or 14 miles for a slower runner, or over 20 miles for a faster one.  Either way, I don't care how far they run.  Instead, IMO, the total weekly running time is more important than the single weekly long run.

2013-06-18 11:22 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Marathon long run question

Yeah, my long runs were in the 3-3:30 range (my last 22 mile run before the marathon was juuuust over 3 hours long, which is probably a smidge too fast to be sensible. I think 1. I was feeling pretty solid anyway so I just ran what felt comfortable and 2. I started slower and dropped to marathon pace at the end). 

I tend to follow the Furman plan, which is three runs a week plus cross training on non-run days and it's suited me well.  Their more advanced plan calls for a couple more long runs than I've had (I think it gets closer to five 20+ milers) but there's also a more detailed plan for the tempo and interval workouts that will most likely up my mileage a bit during the week.

The midweek tempo run was super helpful, I think mostly because I was doing longer runs at marathon pace, so that helped physically and mentally to do those. Like I said, those never got above 10 miles though. I'll check out some of the books/plans you guys mentioned.

Thanks for all the advice! 

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