how much is too much ?

I am currently training for the manchester marathon in April. I am out most mornings doing 6 miles a day mix of hill and flat running plus a long run at the weekend (13-16 m) I want to increase my long run but keep putting it off as i get to 16 miles and it hurts ! My mum says i am doing too much but stubborn as I am I am unsure as whether I am or not ! any opinions?

also protein  shakes ? are they beneficial and any recommendations?





  • The question of how much running is too much would be different for every runner. It depends on your history of training, racing and injury.

    How long have you been running for? Any races? PBs?  Injury problems?

    Those kind of questions would help any answer given to you, but before then you need a day off each week, and maybe need to mix those distances up, why not make one a 10miler, and one a 4miler etc.

    If you're an experienced runner, 50-60miles a week isn't too much at all, especially not for a marathon! However, if you've shot up to that mileage over a few months then it certainly is definitely too much!

  • thanks for  your reply,

    so far touch wood no injuries however i do have the usual aches in my knees, ankles after my long run.

    I did the mac half marathon in 1:59 this being my first proper race since the manchester 10k s. Ive been running for 5 years approx but it only became more of a passion in the last year. I have 1 day off a week - ive been running these distances for about 6 months now. I suppose i read about burn outs and people telling me too much and i would hate to over train and not finish my marathon. or maybe its the nerves showing through ? !

  • do you run your long runs on your own ?

  • yes- i cannot find anyone bonkers enough to join me !
  • Em, i think an important question is what pace do you do your long runs at?

    1hr 59 for a half marathon is 9.05 a mile average pace

    This site below gives a guide to training paces, but can sometimes be a little sharp at the fast end of zones.

    From your half time, a pace per mile of 10.30 looks about right, may be up to 11min miling for  the very long runs.

    If you find you're doing your runs a fair bit faster than that, that may well cause you the strain by mile 16!

  • Em Scott wrote (see)
    yes- i cannot find anyone bonkers enough to join me !
    Plenty of running clubs up your way...if you're not a member you can probably find loads of potential training partners...
  • yes i think i got sucked in with a fast group for the macc fuelled by my son cheering me in at the end making me sprint, i sit at about 10 min miles on my long runs as ive read on here that to fast is not good.

    ive looked into running clubs but with my single parenthood and working and topping up my degree i tend to head out at silly oclocks and there isnt many who run at that time sadly

  • That's a shame, but you just need to work with what yor situation allows, and you sound like you're getting plenty of running in good work!
  • it would be a lot easy to run with someone on your long run but if not do 4x 4.5m do your 1st 4.5m at 10.30pace 2nd at 10.15 pace 3rd at 10.10pace then do 10pace for the last 4.5m .
  • yes i am looking now again for a runners group near me, it does make sense to train with someone- would stop me getting bored and singing to myself ! people stare !
  • Are you having a rest day at all - your body needs to rest to recover and will let you know if it's not getting enough.

    You should be increasing your long runs - yes some people never do more than 16 or 18 miles in training but if you want to run a marathon it's best to run at least 20 miles and maybe even more for the long runs - and do them slowly, you should be able to have a conversation at that pace - if you can only stutter a few words you're going too fast (or if you're on your own sing to yourself - it helps regulate your breathing).

    Stick at 16 miles for a couple of weeks until it feels easier then up it to 17 or 18 - whatever you feel like, then stick there for a couple of weeks till that feels easy and increase it again. You've plenty of time yet to take your time and take it slowly.
  • hi thanks for your reply,

    yes i am having a rest day a week and i always much my shame sing to myself, it really does help to slow my breathing down.

    I will take your advice about increasing slowly thanks

  • You don't say which bit of you hurts on the longer runs so it could either be going too fast, or, if the pain is in the legs, it might be that you're over-doing it on the hill runs.

    Don't get me wrong, hills are good, but if you're doing them a lot, you might have put too much strain on the achilles / calves.  Long story, but I developed a calf problem after doing hills and the advice from my physio was heel drops (and I include one as stretch) both straight legged and with bent knee.  She also suggested building up strength by doing the heel drops wearing a backpack with light weights in it, increasing the weights gradually.

  • Does sound like a lot Em, or at least not a good balance?

    Steve G far better qualified than me to comment I suspect. image

    I did 4 days running + 3-4 days cross training (some doubling up) to stay fit for first marathon in October ... Worked for me... a mixture of runs so most but not all weeks, One long, one medium harder, then some weeks shorter faster interval + speed work. But always a recovery run, at much slower pace.

    So what hurts on your long run? In terms of marathon program, sounds early to be doing 16 miles with Manchester at end of April..

    Protein carb recovery drinks worked great for me after long runs... But far cheaper to just buy children's Yazoo drink...virtually the same, and easier to find. Sports scientist gave me the tip.
  • morning jeepers and festive,

    its my ankles and knees that hurt on my long run, i wear supports on both whilst doing the long runs,

    i live just below the pennines so every day i am out up hills, maybe i need to find a flat route- i cant do laps round a track ive tried and it drives me nuts !

    I did wonder whether my long was too long as according to the rw training but when i was training for the half marathon i wanted to see that i could run the 13 miles and it just sort of stuck with me increasing it every so often.

    thanks for the tip re yazoo i will def get that which will please my son as he loves the stuff !

  • Yeah its skimmed milk , so yazoo is 40 g carb 10 g protein, similar to for goodness shakes.
    I'm sure your son will now approve of 2 for 1 offers. Stick it in a bag, or buy from corner shop within 1-5 mins of long or really hard run.
    You can get 3x 200 ml packs for 60p too...

    Yeah the long run is fine if not painful. I do similar but that's after doing the marathon.

    Do you do anything else apart from running ? Wondered if you had ever had shin splints.

    Some weights or gym work perhaps. Squats with a bar bell, maybe jumping ones... A class I find easier

  • Em, just a check, have you ever had your running gait analysed? Are the trainers you run in ones that have been recommended by a running shop?

    When you say your knees and ankles "hurt" on long runs, where on the scale are we talking? Hurt a lot, as in pain, a bit of discomfort, or you can just feel that they are working hard?

    I had a spell before a half marathon this year of doing up to 16miles, and even at easy pace, I could feel a bit of tightness, but this was fine, as a few hours later I was fine again.

    You say you've run for 5 years before taking it more seriously this year. How quickly did you build up to 6 runs a week, and more importantly how quickly did you up the long run to 13-16miles?

    The supports on the knee and ankle don't sound too great to be honest. It'll be better to get to the root cause of the injuries rather than just mask them with supports.

    I smashed some ankle ligaments once, so am nicely up on the strengthening for ankles!

    Simple exercises like standing on one foot only for a minute or so, makes your ankle work hard to support you. Closing your eyes makes the balance harder, and thus works it harder.

    Other things like using your big toe to "write letters" helps too. Also strengthening the muscles around theM, things like calf dips and raises seem to help.

    I wouldn't want to judge on the knee...that's something i'd get an expert onto asap if it is really pain, and not just your body adjusting to training more.

  • hey festive,

    I did do one night in the gym a week  doing rowing machine, bike and some leg weights but not been in for a few weeks, slap hand !I also swim ( Im a teaching assistant with special needs so go in with my kids ) thanks for the heads up for the yazoo Ill def look next time Im in doing my shop,

    stevie g, I dont think I have had shin splint  but down the front of my shins hurt when I rub them ( not massively and I have mentioned it to my sports massage bloke when he does ) he keeps telling me to go get my gait analysis done I think I definatly  have to get down there now while Im off work at mo

    I went to 3 mornings a week in april this year after a breakup left me unable to sleep, I thought it better to utilise my insomnia rather than sat watching tv and I found I enjoyed running at that time of the morning so I upped it. 

    Ill certainly try the ankle suggestions anything to get the buggars to strengthen !


  • Maybe try compression socks too for the long runs instead of supports? I use them on all long runs.

    get the analysis done too.

    Swimming great for recovery, and general exercises for your legs is important IMO.

    Fir examole, My quads were a little sore to touch after a couple of races & running in November, .. But felt okay to run, didnt really notice it as being bad. Did some weighted squats & lunges in a pump fx class and could feel it within 2 mins. A bit of rest, backed off, tested again all fine.

    Same would probably have showed at 14+ miles, or under pressure, full speed and potentially injury.
  • Hi folks - apologies for hijacking this thread slightly but it seemed the most appropriately titled.

    My query is this.  I am planning to race (or just run?) 40 events in 2012.   I have been running for 6 years or so and run most distances including a couple of ultras.  What sort of training would be most suitable between races and is it best to race a selection and just run the others?  My biggest fear is the dreaded manflu or injury in 2012.

    VLM will be a run as I plan to soak up the atmosphere and Belfast Mara will be a gentle run as I have been invited to pace the 4hr 30group again this year.  All thoughts/observations welcome.  Maybe some wise folk on here have done similiar challenges?


  • hi festive

    i shall sure try compression socks, any tips are always gratefully received, will take your advice over analysis too.

    thanks my mind has been settled a little and i have learnt !


  • Em, You might want to increase to two rest days a week - I'm getting at least two for 50 K training. Also try massaging your own lower legs every evening and morning?
  • hi Debra,

    thanks for responding ! I shall certainly have a go, the problem is my run starts off my day so well ! but if it helps me and my aches then i will certainly try

  • hi

    to all who recommeded compression socks i have to say thanks ! went out and bought some and did 16m and could feel the difference ! i will not be completing any long runs without them !


  • Cool Em. That was my suggestion!

    They worked great for me, all part of the long slow run (LSR) routine.

    Just take it slowly though.... If you can do 16m now, with Manchester on April 29th, you will be fine. Think about some kick back weeks, and also how many runs 20 miles & over you can do.

    Also don't forget the chocolate milk shake. That really does help to recover. Porridge after worked even better.
  • Em, my physio suggested standing on one leg, alternating, while cleaning my teeth, washing up, ironing etc etc.  Any time, really, when you're standing still but doing something.  The 'something' knocks you slightly off balance, so you're ankles are strengthened by keeping you upright.  Hope this helps  image
  • sad fit thanks again- am just starting my training diary now so will def fit a few  kick back weeks inbetween the long ones, also looking at increasing my long runs in the next month or so, keeping the increase on the flat though ! apart from sports gels, do you have any fuel recommendations for while im out there ? also have you tried this new high5 zero sports drink ?

    polly -polly thanks for that tip, ill try and remember it as i am on my feet quite a bit at work !

    happy new year to you all too !image

  • Fuel recommendations for long runs? Hm, fig rolls, mince pies, slices of malt loaf, mini chocolate bars (e.g. Celebrations, although the wrappers are a pain), jelly beans, flapjacks, Kendal mint cake...
  • you take these out with you ? thats amazing ! i would never think to - naive of me yes ! thanks very much for those although after the last few weeks i think mince pies i would struggle with !


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