One question I answer all the time over on the Rundown is “how can my long run only be 20 miles if the marathon is 26?!” Beginners and experts alike question this logic and there was even a recent Runner’s World article about rules that suggested that maybe people SHOULD run more prior to the marathon. I disagree completely; I think the long, slow slog of the 20 miler that most people engage in is more than enough to prepare them for the marathon. It’s not the lack of long run miles that causes most people to hit the wall, it’s the lack of total volume. I came across this Daniels video, however, that does an excellent job of sussing out why AND brings up a new approach to the long run that I’m thinking about integrating into my own training cycle. Rather than just do a long run, Daniels suggests doing a longer run prior to the hard workout and then commencing the hard workout. The mileage total might still be 20, but the effect on the body and on the legs is far different. As I start to build up towards peak mileage, this is something I’d like to try before my Tuesday quality workouts, since I tend to run better after considerable warmup.
Here’s Jack Daniels on the long run logic via FloTrack:
How do you approach your long runs? Do you do multiple runs over 20 miles?