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!