Do long runs get easier

Silly question, but im training for my first marathon, after completing a few halfs quite comfortably.

2 weeks ago my mileage went up to 15 and then 18 last week for my LSR(8.25), on both runs i seem to get to the last couple of miles then my body starts to give up, my finishing stretch is slightly uphill and usually into headwind, so i am needing to dig in a bit more, no fuel probs and i completely realise that these distance are new to me and my legs so i am going to feel drained. i never experienced these feelings training for my half's,

What i would like to know is,

 Does your body aclimatise to these distances, and do the LSR start to feel easier.

What strectches would people recommend for hamstrings and glutes (bottled out the ice bath)image




  • Do you have a target in mind for your marathon cos your LSR should be at least 45sec per mile slow than your marathon pace.

    Yes, you do become more used to running the distance and if you have the pace right LSR's should always be easy.

    I would suggest that it may be worth slowing down your longer runs (to 9's) at least the first one at a new distance.
    Quite a lot of the benefits of a long run come from just being running continuously for the time so don't worry too much about the pace.

  • Thanks for the reply Joe.

    Hoping for a 3h20 at Edinburgh, which im sure is 7:40 pace so im within the pace window albeit the quicker end.

    The LSR  i find comfortable and only the last 2-3 miles i find it tough. forgot to add thatmost of my LSR is on trail/cycle path and all other runs are on road to customize my legs into being pounded shorter by the day.

    i am certainly getting the beneifts of my LSR when it comes to my  brisk and steady runs as ive noticed my stride is longer and my stamina is improving,   

  • It definately sounds like you're running too fast.  You should be able to finish your long runs feeling tired but maintaining the pace your started at.  You should also recover quickly, enough to be able to run the next day.  If you run too fast you'll wear yourself out and leave yourself open to injury and illness.
  • Mark - Good luck on the 3:20 , that is a very good time for a first mara. If you are ok until the last few miles it may just be a matter of getting used to the extra distance.

    Also if you are taking gels on your LSR and indeed in your mara you need to start taking them before you feel you need them as it takes time before your body can absorb them. In a race I would take them about every 5M or 30mins but you would need to see what works for you.

  • yes, they do.  each time you add a new chunk of distance, your body finds it hard.  mine does, anyway.  and it doesn't matter if you're going fast or slow, the extra distance is uncomfortable (well, moreso if you're thrashing yourself, obviously!).  the good news is, after a couple of goes at the longer distance, it becomes natural.
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    I agree with JH and M.ister W - slow down.

    I've been increasing my distances over the past few weeks (using a SmartCoach schedule) and have had no problems with it, because I'm making the effort (and it is an effort sometimes) to run at what seems like an unnecessarily slow pace.

    It seems to work though, because when I had to step up from 10 miles to 13.1 I was able to do the last three with no problem, and at the same pace as the rest of the race.

  • Thanks for all the replies,

    Joe- not using  gels but drinking lucozade body fuel, and starting at mile 6 then 12 then 15.

    m.ister w-  I could run the following day as i do recover quickly its just the remainder of that day that's an effort, slowing down is an option but , i dont mind having to dig in a bit as i tell my friend "its character building" image

    Candy thanks for the support, its the 20 mile'r this week another momentus occasion in my training diary.

    Wilkie  thanks for the advice, as i said it only seems to be tha last few miles that are an effort due to tiredness

  • They most certainly do get easier, would definately suggest using gels they help. As a new marathon runner you probably need to slow down until your body adapts. Over the years I have noticed that I run my long runs closer and closer to marathon pace but I wasn't able to do that 7 or 8 years ago.

    Its like everything practice makes perfect, but practice doesn't stop at running experiment with what you eat  / drink before and during your long runs, some things work some don't.

    Good luck in your quest

  •  Cheers DD i know one thing for sure i wont be having a curry the night before a long run againimage. Are you saying gels are of better use than energy drinks whilst running.

    Before training for this i had done 3 halfs and never followed any structured plan and acheived 1h37 for all of them, the last with a very lazy attitude, i know that a marathon is further and more mentally and physically challenging, which im up for as i know i can do it if i put my mind to it.

    And i need to get close to my old man's time of 3h15 to gain some credibilty.

  • I think you could be adding the mileage a bit too quick.  You're already at 20 miles from 15 two weeks ago?  I would actually recommend doing another 18 miler, drop back to 15, and then up again, but that's just me.

    And yes, they do get easier.  Maybe take a gel or something around 20 mins before you hit your difficult spot.  Good luck, you're going for an ambitious time for your 1st...

  • Thanks Juanah the  garmin program goes 15-18-20 then drops back to 13 so will see how this weekend goes. 

    Ambitious but acheivable i think, Edinburgh is supposedly pan flat and i will have lots of work colleagues on route to cheer me on.

    think im off out to buy some gel's.  image

  • Mark: Yep I believe that gels work better than sports drinks, but were all different and its horses for courses. If your running 1-37 halfs then a 3-30 marathon is easily achievable. 3-20 maybe if you work hard. I ran 1-37 for a 1/2 in December and 3-27 one month latter.

    Easy weeks / hard weeks definately a good idea

  • cheers. will look into that
  • Now then Mark - could be for a variety of reasons that you tire a bit at the end, which have all been given above, but it might also be that its just a new distance and you're adapting - and they do get a wee bit easier.  Personally, as long as there wasn't any prolonged muscle stiffness or pain (beyond a bit of fatigue for 24hours) I wouldn't worry too much.

    The cold baths really do help though.  Doesn't have to be ice in there just cold water.  Sit in that (still in your kit if you like) for 8-10 minutes and then have a very quick not too hot shower and it'll really help. I've done that after this year's LSRs and my legs have felt pretty fresh the same day and strong enough to go to the gym the following day.

  • Cheers rob, Hoping it is just fatigue and my body adapting.

    Had my entry confirmed this morning for Edinburgh, (panick sets in)image

  • It's all very personal of course, but High 5 gels work great for me. I used to suffer stomach cramps a lot during long runs (on various brands of energy drinks) and since switching to gels and water, no problems at all.

    I think your body just needs to adapt to the long runs. When I got to 16 miles I didn't know how on earth I'd do 18 next time, but did. Thought the same for the jump from 18-20 and now 16 is going to seem like a breeze next week, relatively speaking. I have another three 20's down the line.

    I'm doing Edinburgh too. I think I'll just be able to scrape a sub 4 (did 20 in training in 3.06).

  • Kaysdee thanks for that, its funny how im now looking forward to Only running 13 miles will seem like a holiday.image

  • I know! I'm doing Coniston on Saturday (14m) and it is going to be so weird, feels so short now. I'm going to try to do it at marathon pace which will an achievement for me as I always want to push myself, but will save my efforts as I want to pb in the Redcar half in 3 weeks.

    I'm still not quite sure where the extra 6.2 are going to come from. I hope I feel like I have something left in the tank on my last 20 training run as I will be honest it felt like I was crawling home last week. Still time to work on nutrition strategy as I feel that is key. For my first marathon I'm going to play safe and take gels whether I think I need them or not from early on as I've heard the last 6 miles are (obviously) the hardest and it will be completely unknown territory. I'm really looking forward to it though. It is approaching a bit fast!

  • Edinburgh here too - though I've Paris a week on Sunday 1st.
  • Kelly - Unless you ran your 20 to quickly you should breeze under 4hrs.

    I'm doing Edinburgh as well , it is strange how your perspective changes as the mileage increases soon you'll be saying oh it's only a marathon image

  • It was probably a bit quick for a LSR for me (9.19mm) and I don't think I could have done more than a few more steps, but I was fine by the afternoon, so I'm excited to see how the training is pulling everything together. My best half time is 1.50.16 (which I'll be seriously challenging in Redcar) so I think I'll either be just under 4 or just over. It's really the unknown after 20 miles so I have no idea how I'll cope in the last miles.

    I'm doing the coast to coast bike ride the weekend after so have been doing some cycling too and thoughts of a duathlon in the future come creeping in and then I smack myself and tell myself not to be too crazy. image

    Mark - here is where I got my gels. It does let you buy multiple packs so it saved me a fortune. The drinks are not to my taste, too powdery, but it is worth it for the gels alone.

  • Kaysdee- crikey thats cheap might give them a bash

    Joe- strange isnt it about mileages increasing then you thoughts of an easy 10 miles or half becoming almost not worthy of talkin about.

    Not having a good running week weather is mince, im on nights and work is dull. done some hills on wednesday but paid the price for it come 3am

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