Follow my journey from being overweight and addicted to ice cream, to running marathon's!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Training for first marathon- how far should I run?

Good Morning, friends!

  Before I get to my question, I have to show you what I created! It's called Beet 'Pizza'!


This was SO good! I roasted the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper, for 35 minutes in the oven. 
I made a mixture of goat cheese and lowfat ricotta, spread that on whole wheat Naan bread, then put the beets on top of it. Put it back in the oven for about 10 minutes, added a little spinach on top, and voila! 

Now for my question:
I'm currently training for my first marathon, on April 20th. The plan I'm following only has me going up to 16 miles. But I think how can I possibly be ready to run 26, if my long run only goes to 16??
 So, I emailed the guy who designed the plan, and asked him about it. He sent me these articles about your long run before a marathon.
http://runnersconnect.net/running-training-articles/marathon-long-runs/ 

 http://running.competitor.com/2012/07/training/are-you-overemphasizing-the-marathon-long-run_55719

http://runnersconnect.net/running-interviews/the-problems-with-traditional-marathon-training-plans-and-the-magic-long-run-formula/

Basically they say that you only need to run 16-18 to be ready for a marathon. He says 20 or over is a great confidence booster, but not necessary. 
"The total amount of time on your feet during a 3 plus hour run will break down the muscles and completely exhaust you, which leads to a significant delay in recovery time and means you can’t complete more marathon specific workouts throughout the following week, which I believe are a more important component to marathon success.
Furthermore, your body doesn’t see a significant increase in training benefits after running for 3-hours. The majority of physiological stimulus of long runs occurs between the 90 minute and 2:30 mark. To add insult to injury, running for longer than 3:30 significantly increases your chance of injury. Therefore, you’re leveraging some very slight training benefits for increased fatigue and injury risk."

That all makes sense to me! Since I'm running 4 days a week, I can understand that if my long run is 20-22 miles, I won't be able to run 5-7 more 2 days later! 
 So, I have 8 1/2 weeks left, I think I'll keep my long runs at 15-16, and do an 18 and 19 once each. Maybe it's just a mental thing, but I need to KNOW that I can run a marathon! And the only way for me to know for sure is to do that distance ahead of time! But I definitely don't want to get injured ahead of time and not be able to do the marathon!

  I need your advice! What do you recommend? What worked for you?
katie
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30 comments

  1. For me, I need to do at least one 20 from the mental perspective. For my first marathon, things (of course) didn't go exactly as planned, I planned to do two 20 milers. I got in one 20 miler and I definitely had a bit of a mental breakdown more than a physical one after mile 20 in the actual marathon. The logic makes sense but I tend to feel it is more aimed at experienced runners. It's all up to the person though, I truly believe everyone is different.

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    1. I think I'll do at least one 20 miler too. Thanks for letting me know what worked for you! :)

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  2. I did two 20 milers last fall when I was training. While nothing really prepares you for the last 6.2 miles, I know I needed to conquer the mental hurdle of 20 miles. But everyone is different, so do what works for you.

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    1. Doing 1 or 2 20 milers sounds like a really good idea! I think once I do that, I'll feel more confidant about the marathon.

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  3. For my previous 3 marathons, I followed plans that included a long run of 20 miles...the plan I'm using this time (Hanson Method) focuses more on qualitative issues, rather than quantitative (long run peaks @ 16). While everyone's marathon experience is different, I've found that the mental side of things is what you really can't prepare for. Your body will keep going, but your brain will keep getting in the way! LOL

    As long as you train sensibly, get plenty of rest, and don't try to push too hard through the aches and pains that will come as your training intensifies, you should be able to get to the start line rested, trained, and confident. The adventure you'll have once the gun goes off for that first marathon will be a journey into yourself that you'll NEVER forget....particularly the feeling of crossing that finish line!

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    1. Thanks so much for letting me know what worked for you, Bill! I'm going to plan on doing at least one 20 miler. I'm sure the feeling of crossing that finish line will be unforgettable!

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  4. For my first marathon I went up to 18. I might have done one 20 miler but I honestly don't remember. If you can get up to 16-18 miles you can run a marathon. Good luck!

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  5. That does make sense, but I can't imagine doing a marathon without having run a 20 first! My coach has me doing 3-20 milers and a couple 18s and a 19, though I'm training for a specific time. With your first marathon, it should just be about finishing, and like others have said, it is SO much about your mental strength and determination towards the end. I think you should just really listen to your own body and do what you feel is right for you. If after your 16 mile run you feel like you need to do 18 or 19, I'd say go for it! As long as you allow plenty of time for taper. This is so exciting! No matter what you decide, you will have an amazing experience :)

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    1. Thanks so much! I am SO excited! I will do at least one 20 miler, maybe two. I do think mentally I'll feel more prepared for it! Good luck on your marathon!!

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  6. That sounds like the Hanson method (didn't click through to the links). I know people who have been successful with that! Personally, I like a few 20s/22s :)

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    1. I think it is the Hanson method. I think I'll feel better doing a couple of 20's too!

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  7. My longest was a 20 with several 16 and 18. I know it helped me mentally for sure!! Good luck!

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    1. Good to know, I will do at least one 20. I think that will definitely help me mentally too!

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  8. I say it's best to have at least a 20 miler also!

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    1. That's the plan then- I'll try to get in 2, but I'll do at least 1!

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  9. I've had to run at least 20 miles, a couple times I did a couple of 22 milers. I was running 3 days a week though. I personally wouldn't know if I was ready at 16 miles.

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    1. I feel like my body would be ready, but mentally I have to know that I can do it! That's what I'll do too!

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  10. I used the plan on marathonrookie.com for all three of my marathons. My last marathon, I did a 20 mile, then a 22 mile destination run (I ran to the Krispy Kreme donut shop, had my son pick me up there). It's like others have said, a mental battle more than a physical one. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Liz!I think if I did a run to Krispy Kreme, I would gain back all the calories I just burned from running. That would not be good for me!
      I will check out that website!

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  11. CONGRATS on the weight loss, the marathon, and everything! I loved looking back at some of your posts, and can't wait to see your "About Me" section.

    I definitely think you can get away with a long run of 17 or 18, but I would say to go with as far as you can. The best quote to convey what the full is like is this, "The marathon is a 20 mile warm up, and a 10k race." ANYTHING can happen in those last 6.2 miles.

    That being said, about 5-6 weeks before my first marathon, I was having some IT Band issues, and the longest I ran was 16.5, and I made it. I also had 2 beers the night before! Ha. So you can do it, but, I really didn't know enough to know I needed to respect the distance. I generally do a 22 or 23 miler before now!

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    1. I'm so glad you mentioned my 'about me' page, I totally forgot to fill that out! Love that quote, SO true. I will do at least one 20 miler, possibly a longer one too! Thanks, girl!

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  12. That pizza looks amazing! I browsed through some of the comments on this post and everyone is giving you great advice. Go for at least 20 miles. You will need that confidence under your belt when it comes to the marathon. I'm kind of in shock that the training plan only has you doing 16; that just seems crazy to me.

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    1. You should try the pizza! Yes, that seems crazy to me too. I'm going to try to do a couple 20 milers, it'll definitely help me feel ready!

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  13. I don't recommend this, but I didn't train very well for my half marathon, and the most I ran at one time was almost 6 miles! Piss poor, I know. I was terrified going into the race that I wouldn't finish. I vowed I'd cross the finish line if I had to drag my crippled body on all fours. Adrenaline, spectators, and running with other motivated strangers got me through it. I couldn't walk for 3 days afterwards though, and I'm sure a better training schedule would have prepared my body better. Long story short, with as much as you've been running, you'll be fine! Everything I've read agrees with the advice from the guy who designed your training schedule. Seems like solid advice.

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    1. Wow, Katie!! That's amazing and crazy all at the same time!! ;) That's awesome that you still finished! Thanks, girl!

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  14. I LOVE beets and now that I'm a vegetarian, this is a pizza I have to try to make! Looks so delicious!!

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    1. Let me know how you like it! It was SO good!

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  15. Ew. I hate beets. I'm not sure I could get on board with that pizza. :)

    My marathons were more than 10 years ago. Yikes! So, I don't really remember exactly what I did for training. I'm pretty sure there was at least a 20, though. I have a good feeling you're gonna do great no matter what.

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  16. Aww, too bad! I think if you replaced the beets with another veggie, it would be good too!
    Over 10 years ago? Maybe you should do another one!! You could so do it! :)

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