Mile 22 help!


Need your expert advice!

Each Marathon i run i always seem to stop at mile 22 and i have to run and walk the last 4 miles.

What can i do to overcome this problem?

Thanks in advance.


  • If you can run 22 miles without stopping you clearly don't have a physical problem, slow down from 20 (add 30 secs to one minute to each mile pace) and you could well sail past, you have made yourself a mental block by the sound of it.

  • PS no expert, just had similar issues around 18

  • Thanks EKGO, 

    Looks like you might be right with the 22 mile mental block!

  • Why do you have to stop? Tiredness/pain/cramp/etc.?

  • Hi Sarah, 

    I would put this down to a mix of tiredness and mental block! 

  • Set off slower.

  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    If it's a mental block try and visualise those last few miles as something you know you can do or have done a hundred times or more when training. Either break it down mile by mile. Just one mile, what's one mile? It's nothing you've banked hundreds in preparation for the race. Maybe think of it as a short route you run at times. The sort of short run you knock away regularly. I was suffering with injury in my last marathon and mentally put myself in the mindset that those last three miles where just two loops of the village I stay in. It put me in the frame of mind that I wouldn't be beaten by something I know I can do with ease if I want to.

    If your problem is training related then maybe look at how many 20+ mile LSRs you do. Everyone will have different thoughts on those, but my personal experience is that I feel far better in those closing miles with at least 4 or 5 20 mile or more LSR's done in training.

  • Do a couple of 23 mile training runs. By 22 miles you'll know you've only got 1 mile to go, not another 4. Should have you skipping for joy all the way to the end! Also might help to finish shorter training runs with a quick burst of speed, maybe for the last couple hundred yards at first, building up to the last third or half a mile. I like to do this, often finishing 20 mile training runs with a mad galloping sprint. Helps you to pick up the pace towards the end of a race when you really feel like whining and walking.

  • I've been using a thing called the marco method for the last few marathons and have finally managed to eliminate fade and run a slight negative split. It's googlable but involves running at gradually increasing heart rate, making you start slower and saving yourself for the last third.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Great ideas here.

    Sounds like the classic "wall" that afflicts those new to marathon running (and out-of-condition experienced marathon runners!):

    • hypoglycaemia - are you taking on any energy drink/gels, etc?
    • dehydration - are you drinking enough?
    • exhaustion - are you under- or over-trained?

    A good training strategy in your long runs is to run them all except the last 3 miles at target marathon pace +45s per mile.  Run the last 3 at target marathon pace.  This might be hard at first but you will eventually train yourself to keep a little back in readiness for those last troublesome miles and be able to run an even-paced marathon.  Or that holy grail, the negative split marathon.

  • Why not ( and i'm sure a better runner will explain why not) run 30 mile training runs?

    Half mara training plans have 15 or 16 milers structured into them so why not have a couple of longer then distance mara training runs??


  • There is no need to train at that distance to run a marathon and it significantly increases the risk of injury and demotivation, in short. In fact, I'd go even farther and say most marathon plans were conceived when there wasn't such a broad spectrum of abilities attempting them. If one is towards the slower tail one's long run needn't be more than 3 and a bit hours or so, even if that means one can't do the target 20 or 22 miles in that time.

  • Some strong finishers after 25 miles:


  • 2Old2Old ✭✭✭
    CS-I had the same problem about 5k out from the end for the first six marathons I did. I had to stop ,my head kept saying 'stop you don't need to do this' etc and that's exactly what I did. ...only for half a minute but that meant missing GFA on one occasion by seconds. The last two marathons were sorted by me deliberately taking a gel with caffeine just before that stage and as a result both led to strong finishes for me and getting GFA on both occasions and a pb. I just think the gel gave me the mental lift to tough out the last few miles and finish stronger than previously. It may have been a placebo effect but it worked.
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