Long runs between marathons

Finally posted enough comments that I'm allowed to start a thread now. 

I've got a marathon at the end of October, then 23 weeks until the Paris marathon. Going to try and have a more structured training schedule this time, but I was wondering what people recommend about long runs between 2 marathons. My long runs tire me, especially the few fast finish ones I've done, but not excessively so - I can do a recovery run the next day ok, or a harder session 2 days later without significant problems.

Is it better to drop the long run down a fair bit, then build it up again later in the training schedule, or do people find it easier to do a few easy long runs the whole way through, and never really lose their long run ability?

If it helps, I'm hoping to do my marathon next week in about 3:30-3:40, then hopefully aim for 3:20-3:30 in Paris. I've been doing about 40 miles a week recently, and will probably increase this slightly during my next training period. I'm fairly injury free, though my itb gets a bit achey if I increase mileage too abruptly. 



  • I think yo probably find your long runs tiring because they are quite a high percentage of your weekly miles. Do you do a midweek MLR too? I like to stay long run fit as otherwise it always seems quite daunting to build up to them again but I am a quite high mileage runner. Whatever you do needs to fit in with the rest of your life and it's important to remember that it's supposed to be fun. Generally speaking I like to go and bimble round the countryside and enjoy an easy run so it suits me to keep the miles up.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • chamolkchamolk ✭✭✭
    Yeah, I suppose my long runs are quite a high percentage of my weekly miles, but that's actually an improvement from what it had been previously 😊

    I had started doing a longer mid week run, but I didn't always get it as many miles as I'd like. I went up to about 52 miles for a week during the summer and felt I'd overdone it, and needed to take a week or two fairly easy afterwards. I'm hoping I might get up to about 50 miles a week during the next training period if I work up a bit more gradually - it would mean my long run was a maximum of about 40% of the weekly mileage, which I know is still above the recommended amount, but my experience has been that I'm more likely to hurt myself by increasing weekly mileage too much, rather than my long run being longer than my weekly amount would allow. 
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    I like to generally keep myself well trained to 15m all year round. One of the benefits of regular marathon running is as each cycle comes the more equipped you are to get the long runs in without being wrecked. Progressing to 20 when 15 is normal isn't that big a leap. 
  • What pace are you doing your runs at chamolk?
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • chamolkchamolk ✭✭✭
    Initially my long runs had just been a nice relaxed pace, usually 9 something. More recently I started doing some bits of them a bit faster (as I'd read about doing some art marathon pace, and just to make it a bit more interesting). My last 20 miler was 10 miles easy, 7 at roughly target mp (8:00 - 8:20) then last 3 down to about 7:30.

    Last few weekends I tried 6-8 miles Saturday at about 8/mile, then had half marathons on the Sunday - easy mile or two to warm up, half at 8/mile, then 3-5 easy miles afterwards.

    For comparison, my half pb was Belfast in September, ran 1:36:47 (7:22/mile).

    I know it's all a bit higgledy piggledy. My training for London on April was basically "run regularly" and I averaged 20 miles a wee. My training for this marathon has been "run more" and I've averaged almost 40 miles a week. For Paris, I'm hoping to train better /smarter. 

    DT19 - that's pretty much what I was thinking, don't want to lose the the long run ability. 
  • More is generally better from where you are chamolk - you should see improvements from that - but you need to keep the pace easy when building the miles.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • I think the key thing is consistent consistency, and probably progressive consistent consistency! 

    I have been involved with the training of a number of marathoners over the years; three stick out in particular (2 @2:16, [email protected] 2:20). Their training was very different, coming from different backgrounds, work patterns etc: the only common feature was the weekly long run plus the weekly medium long run. Between marathons they would cut down to 15 and 10/12; the progressive consistent consistency in marathon training progressed them over the months to 20+ and 14/15, with the rule being that the MLR is two-thirds to three quarters of the LSR. Cut back every four to five weeks. 

    The other key thing is that one needs to keep in mind that one needs to be fit enough to start a marathon training block, so as others have said, it makes sense to keep a slightly shorter long run (and MLR) going. Easier said than done in the winter months because of the light and weather; helpful if you can get out during the day.
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • chamolkchamolk ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the useful tips. I've been reading McMillan's online stuff recently , and got his ebook You, Only Faster, and was thinking of trying to design my training based on that (basically base phase to build general fitness, the optional periods of hills and speed, then race specific training). Planning on 2-3 weeks decent rest after Dublin, which will give me about 20 weeks training. Got the new Advanced Marathoning book the other day by Pfitzinger and Douglas - only had a quick look through, but it doesn't seem to have a lot of speedwork in it, which I quite enjoy. 

    I'll aim to keep the long run at no shorter than 13-15 miles and have a mid week run of about 9 or 10 maybe, then can start to increase. Means I'll probably start the training at 30-35 miles per week, and I'll get back to 40 fairly quickly, then try to gradually get up to 50.
  • That definitely sounds like a plan chamolk.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
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