20 mile races

I am in training for the Brighton Marathon and have the Bramley 20 mile race in February and the Finchley 20 in March (4 weeks before the race).  I would be grateful for any advice on how to use these.  I ran the Windsor half marathon at 6:46 pace or 1hour:29mins which would suggest I could do something like 7:02 marathon pace or 3hours 4 minutes.  I was thinking of using the first to see if I can sustain this pace for 20 miles and the second to see if I can go one further and run 3 hour pace.  Is there a risk of burning out though if I run both these at Marathon pace?

Should I be treating them as just long slow runs or do I push myself?




  • I am just doing the 1st of those then a 10km and a 10m on 24th and 29th March.

    In the 20m I was planning on steady to halfway and then build up the pace to finish the last few miles at MP (don't know yet how many at MP).

    The 10k and 10m I'll do pretty much flat out which is what I did before VLM 2012.

    Your risk in doing the 2nd 20m hard is that it becomes your "A" race and you will suffer for it during Brighton, so IMHO I would use the 2nd as a progressive race, but not full gas.....(actually I wouldn't do the 2nd one!). Good luck

  • I agree.i knowe a few people who habe raced a few 20 milers and have suffered on their marathon.........if you want to race an early one then fine.any orthers you need to be strong and run them as a training run....if you can't then maybe withdraw 


  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Two 20 mile races is a lot! You could use PART of both to practise marathon pace under race conditions but I'd be very cautious. A lot will depend on what sort of mileage you're doing and how easy you're finding the 20 milers. I'm doing Finchley, 5 weeks out from London, and my plan is 5 miles progressive warm-up followed by 15 @ MP, which will be my hardest long run. In previous campaigns I've run a maximum of 12 miles @ target pace and this has been a real confidence boost without leaving me shattered.

    Run both at anything like MP and your training will be massively compromised. I'd consider just doing the first one as a progressive run, maybe use it as practise for fuelling, race kit, etc., and do the second one harder, but keep target pace down to 10 - 12 miles.
  • I know people who will race them as its a race and so run faster than marathon pace......a recipie for disater if its more than one or too close to the marathon.....they leave their racing legs at that race and miss out on the marathon PB


  • hywel

    i would to an extent treat them with caution - how did you feel during Windsor race and after on 1.29 -

    the 20 is half that again, and FM still 10k on top, - no one knows what will happen on marathon day - i expect we've all come apart on them - i know i have

    good luck with everything -

  • I think a lot depends on how important your Brighton time is. To peak at Brighton, your ideas are a little "non textbook"; you are likely to impact your training in the weeks following the races - don't underestimate the recovery time.

    I am running Bramley before London. I am not training to peak at London, but even so, I am looking to get something like MP+15s overall for Bramley, and that is going to be my quickest long run from my 20+ milers.

    Its a great opportunity to practice pacing etc, but decide where your priorities lie before you get to the start line.
  • I'm running Bramley on Sunday, hoping to do 30 -40 seconds slower than my marathon pace, possible might run last 2-3 miles around marathon pace, i'm going for sub 4hr at London. I've listened to a lot of experienced runners and looked at past RW magazines, they all say any 20miler plus should all be used as LSR's otherwise your body takes too much of a battering and the following training week quality is compromised,

  • The Finchley 20 is a popular warm up race for the London Marathon. Its on March 17th and has 700 entrants

    Finchley 20

  • I have a race number available for Finchley 20 if needed. I've missed the cut for requesting a 50% refund.

  • I don't suppose anyone has a Bramley 20 entry they can't use that I could buy off them?
  • Hi Hywel, I did the Ashby 20 4 weeks before Manchester marathon last year.  I ended up doing the 20 miles at target MP and, while it sounds like this may not have been very advisable based on comments from the more experienced folk on here, I did find it was a massive confidence booster that I could do the full 26.2 at target MP. I did have to re-jig things the following week so the harder runs were later in the week, but I was back on form for a 20M LSR the following weekend - and I did hit my goal MP in Manchester!


  • I did the Gloucester 20 this weekend past and 'raced' it. I have only done one marathon previously (3:44) but in the year since my running has improved a lot (1:42 hm PB to 1:33 for e.g.) so my marathon target is 3:25 but, having little experience running more that a half at a speedier pace I used Gloucester to gauge how that might feel. I ran a 2:28, which has given me a confidence boost for sure! I am having extra rest days this week and then doing another 20 miler (Berkeley) next weekend, which I plan to run a lot slower so as to be able to recover for a slow 22 two weeks later before a 3 week taper.

    I had some people warn against my racing the First one but I feel that 7 weeks out is not too dangerous. But 4 weeks out sounds risky - for injury potential and not allowing enough recovery time.... If you decide to do it anyway let us know what happens!
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