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The "Don't Be Sh*t!" Series - The Long Run

The "Don't Be Sh*t!" Series - The Long Run

Long running is what makes a marathon runner; it’s as simple as that.

If I were to prioritise my top 3 runs during an average week of marathon training they would be my long run, my second long run and my midweek long run!

Okay so I’m not your average marathon runner and I’m not suggesting everyone tries to incorporate three into their training week but you get the point, don’t skip the long run.

So, having cleared up how important it is, we then have to answer that age-old question...

How fast should you run it?

You’ll get a hundred different answers and that’s perfect as variation in your long run is not only key to a high level of stimulus and performance improvement but it also keeps things interesting.

There is a time and a place for the classic Sunday “Long Slow Run”, it’s perfect for the day after a big tempo session or a bit of cross-country when then legs are a bit tender. Meet up with friends and go for a social run where your target is simply “time on feet”, just don’t get to marathon weekend and find that’s all you’ve done otherwise you’ll be nowhere near your potential.

When you decide to incorporate some speed into your long run, make sure you give it the respect it deserves and have at least two easy days beforehand.

If you are good with self-discipline then you can incorporate a race in the middle of your long run which will help massively when it comes to hitting your pace targets.

In the later stages of marathon training, I will quite often use a local half marathon in the middle of a 20-mile run, running it at a pre planned effort level (normally around marathon pace).

If you can’t trust yourself to hold back in a race then stick to running on your own but add some intervals into your long run, see my suggested training session this month for a great example of how to spice up that long run.

And what about those weeks you want to test out your speed with a shorter Sunday race, you may not be able to fit in a long run at the weekend but if you can, make sure you have at least one mid-week run which is slightly longer to compensate, if necessary dropping some speed work.

I promise you’ll see the benefits come marathon day.

Session of the Month

The Long Run

With a decent length warm up and warm down to make up the necessary mileage for your long run, add the following interval session in the middle:

24min / 18min / 12min / 6min / 3min

Start off with the 24min effort at target marathon pace and then make each interval slightly quicker with 3min jog recoveries between them.

Give it everything you’ve got left for the 3min interval!

Tip of the Month

Started a really heavy phase of marathon training and it’s all getting a bit tough? A really simple way to help your body cope is to go to bed earlier, you’ll be shocked what an extra 30min sleep a night will do to for your training and it involves no extra work!

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