Day 43: Decisions, decisions

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Several people have recommended taking the distance to 24 miles during my training in order to prepare myself psychologically for the full marathon. This seems like sensible advice though it does leave me wondering to what extent my body will recover from runs like this in time for the big day.

So a recent post on the club Facebook group has got me thinking seriously about this plan. Latest advice from some sections of the running community is not to run for longer than 2.30-3.00 hours. Those with this view argue that the advice to run long stems from a time years back when in the main, marathon runners were strong and would in the main be able to complete 22-24 miles within 3 hours. However, now many of those attempting the distance are not at the same level of fitness and would take a lot longer to complete 22-24 miles – a lot longer in some cases. Obviously, running for 4 or 5 hours is likely to put tremendous strain on joints and consequently the advice to keep long runs to 3 hours max.

I can see the sense in both views and don’t really know which of these I’ll end up following. It’ll probably be a case of suck it and see. If I get to 18 miles, which will take me around 3 hours, and I feel OK, I’ll continue increasing the miles. If I’m on my last legs, I may decide to stay at this distance for the remainder of the long runs and hope for the best on marathon day – though that extra 8 miles will be quite a challenge!

 

3 thoughts on “Day 43: Decisions, decisions

  1. I took all my long runs at a very gentle pace rather than race pace at all; I don’t think I had any race pace in over 20 mile runs. And that reassured me I could do the distance and it didn’t take me as long to recover as the effort of the actual race (also you don’t have so many endorphin spikes and stressors just trotting round the neighbourhood which means less to recover from!). So that’s worth bearing in mind, maybe. I’ve found that by running very conservatively on the day and prioritising eating and drinking before I actually wanted to, I haven’t hit the wall yet at all. People who’ve trained faster and harder and gone out faster and harder have broken down. So I think a long run practising nutrition strategies is also important (next time you see me, ask me about The Time I Hadn’t Digested My Lunch Yet. That almost triggered a search and rescue from Paul and Suki!).

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    1. Wise advice Liz. I’m convinced of the need for a steady pace and definitely won’t be doing anything rash. I ran conservatively at the start of the Birmingham Half and enjoyed the rest of the run as a consequence. I’m having a gel every 4 miles and expect to continue with this as the runs get longer.

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      1. Great plan, it’s always the sensible ones who do well. I’ve being doing myself a sensible plan for my ultra recently and lots of people in a group I’m in for that said it looked decent. One man who said “too much rest there, you’ll lose all your fitness”, um, no.

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