Longest training run pre-marathon

Hi there

 I am doing the Brighton marathon in April- first marathon, very nervous! I was wondering if I could ask for your expertise!..

Have been running since last summer and I am following a 16-week training programme and the longest run is 18 miles (which is run twice- I'm currently on 16). This seems a little low, and am considering up-ing to 20, but also aware this would be 2 weeks pre-marathon and not sure if this would be a good idea?

I've had an injury over dec/jan and my physio has advised if I start to get any issues to reduce the training runs, as it would be better to do this than to develop knee problem/shin splints etc. a couple of weeks before. Does seem like a bit of a no win situation- I'm worried I won't be able to finish if I don't do all the runs, but equally don't want to get injured! My aim is to finish rather than to get a great time, I'm anticipating it to be 4.30-5h.

 Does anyone have any experience or words of wisdom they could share with me please?

Thank you


  • Well 18 to 20 is only 2 miles - and I dont think I'd go up to your longest run with just 2 weeks to go. If it was 3 then maybe, but not so close. You're best to go in slightly undertrained than slightly overtrained.

    Hope the day goes well for you !
  • I think getting up to the 20 mile mark is certainly worth it although I'd agree with Cougie that doing it 2 weeks from the marathon isn't the best idea in the world. With an 18 mile run under your belt you'll be fine but i think that getting up to the 20 mark helps psychologically. 

    Standing on that start line you know that you're able to run 20 miles but what helped me the most when i ran my first marathon was that once I got to 20 miles I only had 10k to do. I could picture a 10k race route in my head and thought to myself - that's not very far.  Running 18 miles and still having 8 to do sound's far less appealing (to me anyhow).

    Good luck at Brighton, I'll be in the crowd somewhere supporting

  • Agree with Cougie about timing of a 20miler.Its not enough time to recover and it is far better to go slightly undercooked but in full fitness. On the day you will rise to the occasion and as long as you take it easy in first half you will complete it ok. Have a good one!
  • What I did for my first marathon is 2x16, 1x19 then 1x20 so if you really want to do a 20-miler, why not change one of your 18's into a 20? You could do that 3 weeks out and still have plenty of time to recover. But as others have said, don't do it 2 weeks out!

    Best of luck image
  • Thanks for your responses! image

    I have rejigged the training schedule so I will do the 20 miler for the psychological element but I'll do it 3 weeks before rather than 2. Thanks for your help!

  • Hi Katie!! I have just posted a similar thread, I am also running my first marathon in Brighton and am terrified!!  I have fallen behind a bit with training due to coughs, colds and injury.  You are doing better than me with your long run so far!!!  Like you I just want to finish, I have absolutely no PB to aim for, although I would like to do it in less than 51/2 hrs!!  We could always try and meet up on the day (sure we'll find each other out of the thousands there!!!!) From what I have been reading about undertrained 1st timers I am going to walk up every hill, walk for a bit at each drinks station, stop for the loo and a stretch often, and generally go slow, slow and hopefully have enough puff to cross the finish line!!!!  image  Hope this helps!
  • Tracey GTracey G ✭✭✭
    My longest training run last year for Brighton was 18 miles because I got bad cramp.on my training run and still got a pb.

    I've had lots of colds this winter and am behind with my long runs. As I gave blood on Monday I did a run walk today. Only 0.10 mile walk per mile but I finished the run 5 mins slower than my last 16 miles.

    Hoping to get an 18 mile run in next wjeek before tapering.

    Good luck Katie & Sally image
  • Thanks Tracey image It's really good to know that other people have managed it! I did 17 last weekend though I think I will skip the long run this week and do some shorter ones because haven't got out training properly this week- so will aim for 18 mile next week before tapering same as you image

    Sally- tried to send you a personal message but it won't go through? Such a relief to hear from someone else that is also panicking about it!! I had a nightmare week at work this week and haven't go out to run at all and feel awful... I've also had the same problem with illness and injury (knee!- feeling absolutely paranoid that something is going to go wrong in the next few weeks again!) Would be good to keep in touch over next few weeks for moral support if you fancy it?!

  • Katie, I've messaged you!
  • You're definitely not alone Katie and Sally - I'm panicking too!

    I honestly don't know how people fit 4-5 runs/week around normal life. I'm lucky to manage 3/week around work and family. I'm lucky to have avoided injury so far, but keen to keep in that way. Did 20 miles today which was torture after about 15 image
  • So I've just come across this blog 10 days before running my first marathon! In blind panic as I have been ruined since doing my 20 mile run 3 weeks before the race, last week I only managed two runs a 5 & 8 miler and both run I had heavy aches legs, calf strain and tired knees. IM now on a diet of ibuprofen and ice packs" still managing to get an hour of cross training in to keep my cardio work up but I'm worrying I'm not getting any running in and will lose my fitness. I'm not sure if anyone will pick up this message but any support advice is welcome! X
  • Sian , which marathon?

    Tapering now anyway.. Let your body catch up.
  • Sian

    Perhaps just rest now and treat it as a 'get round' marathon and don't beat yourself up if you know you're not fully fit and don't do as well as you had hoped. At least you must have learned alot (the hard way) about your long runs and your training up to 20 miles. You know you will do better next time. Good luck.


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