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How Far Ought to You Run Earlier than a Marathon or Half Marathon?


As race day will get nearer, you’re beginning to fear in case your longest long term is lengthy sufficient. Questioning if 10 miles is a long term? Do it is advisable to run greater than 20 miles? How far must you run earlier than a marathon or a half marathon is a vital query. Proper alongside, must you restrict your long term to three hours!
As a longtime operating coach, I spend a number of time speaking you out of doing MORE than you must. Which could not be what you’d anticipate to listen to, nevertheless it’s true. Doing extra typically mentally makes us really feel higher, however on the expense of our efficiency.

At the moment we’re going to dive in to the distances it is advisable to full and why they’re sufficient. How far you run earlier than a half marathon or how far you run earlier than a marathon are depending on all kinds of things.

Plus we’re going to bust some myths like you possibly can’t run over 3 hours!

We’re going to deal with this query for each distances since you’ll see a number of overlap!

How Lengthy Ought to Your Longest Lengthy Run Be?

The vast majority of half marathon coaching plans for rookies will high out at 10 miles and for marathon runners 18-20 miles. Does that imply it’s the longest long term you must do? Typically, sure.

The explanations that operating coaches so typically suggest you comply with a plan from begin to end is that all of them construct in the direction of peak runs barely in another way.

I’ve in contrast the high marathon coaching plans right here.

  • You may see that whereas the Hanson Methodology would possibly suggest solely a 16 mile lengthy, it’s primarily based on excessive mileage and excessive depth the remainder of the week. You run that long term at aim tempo on drained legs.
  • In the meantime a Strolling Marathon Coaching Plan could concentrate on an extended stroll day of 4-5 hours somewhat than a particular distance.
  • Superior marathon coaching plans will typically include 22 and probably even 24 mile lengthy runs.

Can Your Lengthy Run Be Over 3 Hours?

Sure. As famous above there are conditions the place you’ll completely have to observe being in your ft for longer than three hours. That is an unlucky generally relayed message that isn’t backed in research.

It was initially from Jack Daniels, who is a superb coach, however labored largely with elite stage runners. And what they cowl in 3 hours is vastly totally different from the runner averaging 12-15 min miles.

A giant variety of runners shall be doing 3:30-4 hour lengthy runs, run/walkers and walkers could completely be on the market for over 4 hours.

That is NOT to say you must pressure your long term to be longer than 3 hours simply because you possibly can. Observe the plan that guides you thru what’s finest to your targets and your physique.

In truth, that is such an enormous matter that I wished to give you extra science and extra information to make your personal knowledgeable selection!! Run Coach Laura Norris and I chatted about this on our podcast Tread Flippantly.

Ought to You Run 26 Miles Earlier than a Marathon?

No. Onerous cease except you’re a very long time runner who can also be coaching for an ultramarathon or doubtlessly an Olympic Qualifier. Although truthfully whereas elite runners hit large 100 mile weeks, they’re hardly ever operating 26.2 within the coaching for a aim race.

The rationale we don’t run 26.2 miles previous to the race is the period of time it takes to recuperate from this long term.

That restoration time can impression the standard of your subsequent run and set you up for harm when you don’t do sufficient simple days or take day off.

Ought to You Run 13 Miles Earlier than a Half Marathon?

Now we begin to see just a little little bit of a change within the reply as a result of for knowledgeable runners it’s a particular chance, whereas for first time half marathon runners it’s a NO WAY.

Very long time runners aiming for a half marathon PR could run as much as 16 miles. That is what I’ve completed myself prior to now and what works for a lot of athletes working for 1:40 and sooner races.

NOT REQUIRED, nevertheless it does work for some athletes. That is largely since you’ve pushed your endurance a bit farther after which there’s a psychological element to figuring out that on race day you don’t have to go as far so you are feeling extra assured choosing up the tempo.

For a primary time half marathon save that HUGE milestone for race day! Don’t freakout about not having lined the total distance in coaching.

Once more that is why you comply with a good newbie half marathon coaching plan.

  • Throughout coaching you might be constructing your complete endurance
  • Every week you might be operating on barely fatigued legs from the gap and any pace work
  • After your longest run (roughly 10 miles for first timers), you go in to taper
  • Throughout taper for a race, your physique has time to completely recuperate
  • Race day sees your muscle mass stuffed with glycogen and in peak form to carry out.
  • Plus you get the added bonus of race day adrenaline which is able to carry you a lot farther than you already know!

This graph is a superb visible of how restoration lets you slingshot previous your present stage of health when used appropriately.

suercompensation graph

How Far Do You Have to Run Earlier than a Marathon?

Let’s break this down just a little bit extra that can assist you perceive what the longest run of your coaching ought to seem like.

Listed below are the components we wish to absorb to consideration:

Expertise Degree

How lengthy have you ever be operating? Is that this your first marathon? In that case we wish to err on the facet of a extra conservative long term to keep away from any accidents that can stop you from making it to the beginning line.

Extra skilled runners are sometimes going to be doing extra or longer runs. And by skilled we don’t imply you’ve run 1 marathon, we really imply that you just’ve been operating for years with out harm and you understand how your physique responds to lengthy runs.

Your Tempo

As an alternative of specializing in the mileage for a long term, most runners needs to be contemplating complete time on ft. In truth, it’s why most of the lengthy runs I prescribe have a run interval adopted by a couple of miles of strolling.

Whole time on ft issues.

Coach Greg McMillian makes use of the next system for runners beneath a 5:00 marathon:

Most long term = [Marathon time – 30 minutes] as much as [marathon time + 15 minutes]

In different phrases in case your marathon aim time is 4:00 you then would possibly do a long term of three:30 to 4:30 hours. Whereas this high finish is unlikely to be on most coaching plans for a 4 hour runner, it’s one technique that truly takes tempo in to account.

Merely saying 20 miles needs to be your long term won’t be correct if it takes you 5 hours. We’d nonetheless cap your time on ft at 4:30 typically and fewer in others primarily based on further components.

Damage or Sickness Historical past

Some runners merely are inclined to get injured extra simply. Could possibly be on account of genetics, operating gait, lack of power coaching or the basic coaching errors: an excessive amount of, too quickly, too quick.

Both means when you have discovered your self plagued prior to now with getting injured or sick throughout marathon coaching it pays to be extra conservative with the long term.

On this case, you could discover a larger profit from doing a long term that maxes out at 16 miles after which doing 8-10 miles the day after. That is much like what number of extremely runners prepare. It reduces the stress of the total long term and forces you to observe doing a good run on drained legs the next day.

longest long run
Keep in mind that each coaching cycle and run shall be totally different. Which implies you could want to regulate the length of your long term on account of life, operating within the warmth and humidity or a shift in targets.

Don’t anticipate them to all really feel good.

I like this assertion that about 1/3 of your coaching needs to be enjoyable, 1/3 ought to really feel exhausting and 1/3 needs to be simple. It’s a reminder that it adjustments and studying to embrace the exhausting helps on race day.

When Ought to You Do Your Longest Marathon Run?

After months of slowly increase your mileage, the most important long term for the marathon or half marathon needs to be TWO weeks from race day.

Old skool coaching plans used 3 weeks, however almost each operating coach I do know now agrees with the expertise I’ve seen in our athletes of a two week taper.

Which means two weekends earlier than your race you’ll do your large run on Saturday or Sunday after which start to taper. The week earlier than your race your long term will in all probability be 8-10 miles for the marathon and 6-8 for the half marathon.

How Many 20 Milers Ought to I Run?

Now that we’ve satisfied you 20 miles is a lot for the long term, the query turns to how typically must you run them.

First time marathon runners will doubtless solely do 1 run of 20 miles throughout peak week. You’ll in all probability additionally solely do 1 run of 18-19 miles. The aim is just to construct your capability for operating lengthy, nothing extra.

Skilled runners who’re aiming for a Boston Qualifying time, will doubtless have a few 20 mile lengthy runs, plus 18 mile runs that embrace aim marathon tempo miles.

What’s the Shortest Lengthy Run To Run A Marathon?

As a coach I all the time hate this query as a result of it’s normally a sign that you just haven’t completed sufficient coaching, however are decided to do the race and both hate it or get injured.

I might say at least 16 miles, assuming you haven’t been following the Hanson Methodology.

Working a half marathon would possibly make you are feeling just like the marathon is completely doable and so that you decide one out in only a few months. I like the keenness, however belief me when you hit 18 miles it looks like a complete totally different factor than the half marathon.

Your bones, ligaments and tendons want time to adapt to longer distances.

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how long should your longest run be



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