How many long runs before a Marathon? - Topic Runners World Discussions
I really thought mothaudio had a great reply in this topic. Is making me consider uping my mileage even more. And trying to get a mid-week kind of long run in.
"Diane, two 20 miler for your debut is fine. I feel that overall miles are more important than LRs but that's another subject.Asking beginners to complete a 20 miler two weeks before their debut is questionable. And if that is your longest LR than even more so. I've completed 18 marathon since '81 and found that in your 1st year of marathon trainng the LRs are very hard on your body. They take longer to complete and to recover from. Most beginners enter the marathon with damaged legs. No, I don't mean an injury but legs that are so beat up from the training and LRs that they are in no position to effectively perform in the race. Here's what I've learned over the years. It's best to duplicate the highest miles you hope to run in your marathon schedule in your pre-schedule base phase. I realize this is not realistic for the vast majority of people but that's what I would suggest to reduce the negative effects of the LR. I do not like to see runners reach their highest miles in the last 4 weeks before the marathon. I try to complete my longest LR at least 5 weeks before the marathon, but I'm talking pretty long; 24-25 miles. But that would apply even if you're doing shorter LRs. Regardless of how long I stretch my LRs I also do my last 20 miler no later than 3 weeks before the marathon. For a beginner I might suggest 4 weeks. The 2nd week I'll do 17 and 12-14 the weekend before the race. Taper: I've had success with a three week taper and a two week taper. What I use now is a two week taper and run my highest mileage during the 1st 6 week phase of my marathon schedule then progressively reduce my mileage in the next two phases before the actual taper phase begins. My schedule is 18-19 weeks [including taper]. This allows me to keep my legs fresh for the longer marathon workouts [LRs, tempo runs, MP runs] in addition to the race itself. I think 20 miles is fine for your debut. More miles is better but there's always the risk of injury and like I said, I value overall mileage more than just cranking out a few decent LRs. One lesson I learned from the Pfitz schedule is that a mid-week medium long run is a great suppliment to your weekend LR. A medium long run is typically 10-15 miles done Wednesday or Friday [or for more experienced runners both days]. But if your typical run hovers around 5 miles during the week than even 8 miles might be useful. Like I was saying about overall miles, it's not just the LRs that build endurance. If you have a steady diet of 10 milers in your week that'll serve you well too. Good luck. "