Long runs in the run up to marathon

I'm doing a marathon at the start of May, so have quite a few weeks remaining. Also quite ahead of my training so I'm now not sure how far to go for my long runs leading up to the race. I have 13 sundays until the race and atm my LSR is 15 miles (I have done 3 15's now.) What would be best for the remaining weeks?? I was planning to do another 15 miler, then build up to 18 for a few weeks then 20 (maybe 20 plus?)....but is it worth doing lots of 20's? I'm lucky to have so long left really, but finding it hard to get a good balance between building up the distance, and doing too much!

Any advice would be fantastic. Thank you!! 


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    You need to be build up a long run of 18+ once a fortnight, so I'd say something like:

    -12 weeks 16

    -10 wks 17

    -8 wks 18

    -6 wks 18

    -4 wks 20

    -2 wks 22 (final long run)

    Good preparation is for your last 5 long runs to total 100 miles which I don't think you quite have time to do.  Don't overdo it.


    You'll need to consider fuelling in these long runs.  Aim to do the hardest work at the end of the run.  Hope the matrathon goes well.


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    ?!  marathon

  • Brilliant thanks. What should I do on the inbetween Sundays? Or do you mean 16, 16, 17, 17, 18, 18, 20, 20, 22, 22 ?


  • A guide often quoted is that your 5 longest runs should add to 100 miles.

    I'd be wary of running 20 miles week on week. I usually run one and then back it down the next week before going back to 20. And I'd have a 3 week taper too.

    If you're used to high miles you might be able cope with consecutive 20 mile runs though.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    In between Sundays - anything useful apart from a long run!  They're best done fortnightly if you're fairly new to marathon running or only a low-mileage runner (like me).  Two- or three-week taper - three weeks more the norm for ultras.  But ultrarunners are rarely normal.

  • I don't think you want to be doing 22 miles two weeks before your race. A run of that length should be done 4 weeks from your target race as your longest run.

    You've done 15 miles regularly now, leave those behind, move on to doing a couple of 18 milers, then a couple of 20 milers then one 22 with some cut back weeks in between. In the month leading up to the race your long runs could look like this - 22, 18, 15, 10 - race.


  • Thanks for all this advice image

  • is this your first marathon? if you're at 15miles for a long run, and you have 13 weeks remaining (i'll assume your race is the first Sunday of May (5th), for arguments sake) then you have time to build up to a max, as mentioned above, you should avoid running 20milers in consecutive weeks, as it'll take a lot out of you.

    I'd also suggest maybe a 3 week taper, so drawing a straight line between this sunday (10th Feb) and three weeks before race day (i.e. 14th April, if race day is 5th May).

    You could then aim to run a 20, 21 or 22 mile run on that day (if this is your first marathon, perhaps be conservative with the long run mileage).

    Make a plan that has you running longer each week, peaking at 20 or 21, and dropping back every second or third week, so something like this:

    16, 17, 18, 20, 17, 20, 13, 20, 17, 21, 16, 12, RACE

    That SORT of thing, play around with it a bit, and it'll help if you stick in some miles at your target marathon pace at the end of SOME of the long runs.

    i stuck in a 13 for example, to perhaps run a half marathon instead of a long run on one of the weekends, to give you a bit of race prep, and break up the monotony a bit. Just don't race it so hard that you're screwed all week and not fit for your other runs. Or perhaps if you are going to race it flat out, shuffle about the 20 miler the week after, or make it an 18 miler or something.

    get the idea?



  • Sounds good, thank you. Yes it's my first marathon, but I have trained up to a marathon in the past (and was plagued with injury)..so have done some long distances before, but not a huge amount.

    Also right on the date. Thank you for this, just a bit unsure as don't want to kill myself with over training, but got enough time so want to be prepared image

  • A lot of it depends on you - rules of thumb are there for the average person. You may be able to do more or less, but the only person who can answer that is you. Build up to 20 this month, see how well you recover and are able to continue with midweek training, and then reassess. Putting together a string of lengthy LSR's and then not being able to do much quality running midweek isn't going to help the cause. This can be a problem where you haven't developed the physical endurance. Likewise, you don't want the long run to be too easy and not gain from the training.

    My long runs tend to rotate with 3 weekends of slow 20 to 22 milers, followed by the next weekend of an 18 to 20 miler with more intensity. Then back to the slow ones. Throw in a half marathon or 2 and I get a good mix of pace, intensity and interest.

  • I know I need to get the hard work out of the way but I'm running my first marathon at Manchester this April and my concern is the taper at the end. I'm generally happy with the intermediate/get you round 16 week training plan I'm following and seem to be sticking to it.

    Training is going well but my long runs are run on a Tuesday, as opposed to the weekend and then I run 3 other days per week doing around 7-8 miles per run, to fit round mine and my partner's work commitments, school runs, children's taxi service at weekend etc

    My taper currently looks like this having run a 20 mile run (the longest on the plan) on 2nd April

    w/c 8th April 16,7,7,7

    w/c 15th April 13,7,7,7

    w/c 22nd April 3 short runs of 3-4 miles max, with Fri/Sat and maybe Thu "off" prior to the race

    Does this look ok or should I be looking to change it?

Sign In or Register to comment.