Incorporating park run into marathon training

I am training for the Riga marathon in May 2014. Would like to increase milage and attend park runs some Saturdays. Was wondering about using park run as part of my long run but whether to run it slower as part of long run trainings. I usually do park run from fresh in around 24 to 25 minutes but wondering whether I should do it around 10 minutes slower as part of a general 2 hour plus run.


  • I'd not bother doing it slower as part of a long run - surely there would be a delay to begin with ? I sometimes just race it and then have a middling distance run home.

    The long run would work best uninterrupted.

    (and if you're doing a 20 miler anyway - I fail to see the benefit of getting to run 3 miles with people - if you're doing that distance - you might as well get out and do it alone)

    (and 10 mins slower would be even slower than your training pace anyway I think ?)
  • last time i trained for a marathon I used the park run as my speed sesion of the was on a different day to my long run .this worked well........

    I also know people who do a couple of miles warm up and then race the park run and then run home afterwards making it into the long run.......

    it depends on your time restraints an dthe rest of your training week......and also how much you enjoy park run.....image

  • Yes it has to be one or the other really...I would have thought there's benefit from a straightforward 5k effort as a stand alone session then do your long run next day.  If you only have Saturday morning to run in, then bin the parkrun and do the long run "properly" as it were.


  • Agree with what the others have said - leave it as a decent speedwork session. You can easily add volume  -  just add something like 3x 5mins @ threshold with 90 sec recoveries at the end post parkrun.

    By the time you added warm up / cool down you'd have down a good 8+ miles with some decent speed & LT work thrown in

  • Running it 10 mins slower than normal doesn't sound fun. 20mins+ makes a good threshold / tempo run so that would be the obvious use for it. I never used parkruns during marathon training as there were too many conflicts with the long run.

    Not sure how experienced you are with marathons but some of my more 'advanced' long runs could potentially have incorporated a parkrun e.g. 4 miles @ 10k pace, followed by 16 miles @ MP+20%.  Leaves you running on tired legs to give you a physical and mental workoit. Could use a parkrun in a similar way? Certainly not every week though.


  • On Saturday morning I fully intended to run the 6 miles from my home to parkrun and then do parkrun but somehow Friday night got in the way and getting up eary didn't happen!  I think I'd rather save my energy to get parkrun with a good pb and then do the long run back home or do the course route over again a few times after a coffee

  • A good session would be to do your long run minus 5k before the park run (would be an early start) and then run the park run at or slightly faster than mararthon pace.

  • Parkrun makes a good threshold run in itself - why not run your long run the day after (on slightly tired legs) after going for it on the Saturday?

  • proper class athlete Sonia O'Sullivan regularly used to incorporate bushy or wimbledon parkrun s into her long runs back in the day. it was good enough for her, so good enough for you.  

  • I always jog the 3 miles to park run, do the park run then jog home. May be I could make more gains in this time if I just dedicated the morning to a pure long run, or to speedwork. However I run because I enjoy it! I LOVE the atmosphere of park run and think it's fantastic to support the community. May be I'm sacrificing a few seconds off my PB, but I don't care I'm having fun!

  • When training for a marathon earlier this year, I was away for a weekend so decided to incorporate a Parkrun with a long run. I ran the Parkrun at 5k pace then had a breather for half hour or so before starting on a long run. This was 17 miles and I progressively worked up to marathon pace between 13 and 16 miles (not my predicted MP though as I just wanted to get round in one piece after previous marathon disasters). The 17th mile (21st for the day) was a warm down and the legs literally had nothing left. It was a very good physical and mental workout and about 6 weeks out from the marathon. I think it definitely helped me get to the next level in my training and even think this session may have contributed to a slight negative split on the day. What was also good is that my MP effort translated right into my final MP in the race. Maybe a little unorthodox but running this sort of session with the Parkrun to start certainly helped me. We are all different though and different things work for different people but I see no reason why a Parkrun shouldn't form part of a longer run. I only did this sort of session just the once though as it was more than enough and otherwise would have left me permanently knackered! 

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