Running out of steam after 15-18 miles

I am currently training around 50 miles a week as follows.
5-6 Days with:
1 Long run 18-20mile
1(or 2) Speed sessions
1x 10-13 Miles run
2x 6-8 Miles

All was going very well until at Bramley 20 yesterday. The weekend before I ran for 2:50 (no idea of distance, must have been around 20-22) and felt tired at the end but ok.
BUT at Bramley I was slugish, got to around 15Miles in 1:52 and then WHAM, went from comfortable 7:30 minute miles to total slow down. The next mile was over 8, then nearly 9, then over 9 m/miles for the rest. Since I have been training for London I have ran 20 miles 3 or 4 times before Bramley and this has been off road at around 8-8:15 minute miles. I realise 7:30 is faster than this but I recently ran 1:31 for the 1/2 Marathon (7:00 minute mileing). Also my 4 previous marathon attempts have all been going well until around 16-20 miles when I go from nice comfortable running to suddenly (like over a couple of minutes) totally drained and feeling like I want to stop. HELP! What can I do better in training?

thanks in advance.....


  • That's a tough training schedule Trail runner, maybe you're just a bit tired to do well in a 20 mile race at the moment.
    Sounds like you're hitting the wall in classic style, ie feeling drained very quickly. I'm sure loads of people will have ideas for you but mine are:
    Dehydration/fuel: do you drink enough and take on any additional fuel like gels, energy drinks etc? lack of water and/or carbs will have an effect no matter how well trained you are.
    Pacing - are you setting off too quickly? All marathon runners seem to swear by negative splits.
    My guess is that it's not your training, but race tactics that's the problem, I'm sure you'll be on for a cracking time at the flm with a half marathon time like that, good luck.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Trail Runner, are you taking any energy drinks or gels during your run?

    Normally if you hit the "wall" which is what you're doing, it's caused either by running too fast, dehydration, or running out of energy. Running out of energy can be caused by not taking any energy drinks, etc or by not being fully recovered from your previous training.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    TR - your schedule sounds a bit tough
    I do one long run (15-20miles)
    2 * Speed sessions (reps + tempo)
    Midweek long run (8-12 miles)
    1 * short hill/speed/fartlek session <5miles
    1 * recovery (4miles)

    I too did Bramley (see Todays Training + Bramley Results) and suffered the last 2-3 miles. I took my own isotonic drink with me and followed my normal drinking routine which counts that out, and I hadn't done a run longer than 15 miles for nearly three weeks so I should have been recovered.
    Overall I was pleased as I set out to run the time I was aiming for, but I shouldn't feel this bad today....

    Reading your post I'd put it down to too much training and no taper, after all it reads like you ran it as a 'race' rather than as training, and with a 1.31 halfM you should be able to run the 7m30 miles.

    Aaaah we live and (never) learn.....
  • I agree with the above - plus a couple of other things might not help:

    1) illness (may be a low grade thing hanging about)

    2) not taking the gels early enough - I try to take them regularly, even a few miles into the run.
  • Confession time.....

    I have got a bit of a sore throat. And I thought the energy drinks around the course + water would be enough. Dustin your training sounds pretty much like mine. I am maybe doing too much on non key days. All in all I feel totally drained at the moment. I was thinking of having a few days off and then going for a schedule like this....

    Sunday 1x 15-20
    Tuesday easy 4 miles
    Wed 6 morning 6 lunch 6 evening (unless I get time to do (15-18 in one go)
    Friday Speed session

    The idea being 2 long runs a week to try and adapt to the 15+ miles. Good idea? bad idea?

    Thanks to all who have responded and so quickly!
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