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 22+ mile training run?
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

22+ mile training run? Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:31 pm 

Most sources I've read recommend a maximum distance of 20 or 22 miles for training runs leading up to a marathon. What's the basis for this? A friend of a friend is doing a training program that actually involves a 26 mile training run before his marathon. That makes some sense to me... train for what you plan to race. Going the full distance in training could help boost your confidence too. What do most other people do for their marathon training?


South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: 22+ mile training run? Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:46 pm 

My understanding is that your body is capable of supplying enough energy (glycogen) for about 20 miles. To do more than this you risk doing injury to yourself. It's certainly possible to cover more than 20-22 miles (ultrarunners do it all the time) but not at the pace you need to train for a marathon. If you were willing to do some very slow running and/or walking you coud easily cover more than 20 miles without harm...but at that pace your wouldn't be getting much if any benefit from the workout. That is, if you want to run the marathon in a respectable time rather than just finish.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: 22+ mile training run? Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:45 pm 

Yeah, that's more or less what I've heard as well, but I don't know if it really makes sense. To say that 20 or 22 miles worth of glycogen is some kind of innate limit doesn't make sense to me. After all, you can increase your glycogen stores 50% to 100% by typical carbo-loading techniques, and I'm sure different people have different limits for glycogen storage too. Something in my gut tells me this is one of those convention wisdom tidbits that may not have a solid scientific basis.


Fort Worth Texas
Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 3

Re: 22+ mile training run? Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:31 am 

My serious marathon friends taper at 22 miles At this point they have already done 2-3x 26 milers before they get to the downswing before the tape at 22. To do those 26 milers you wil have to ramped up about 1.5 - 2 months before to allow your body to rebuild and recover itself.

They dont peak at 26 but 22 miles 3 weeks before the marathon. Your long runs train your body to recruit fat from the body and preserve glycogen as well as other adaptations. www.coolrunning.con recommends in their traing 1-2x 26 milers before a marathon. This works great for the internediate and beyond runners.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Long Island, NY
Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 80

Re: 22+ mile training run? Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:10 pm 

For my first marathon, my longest run was 26 miles two weeks before the marathon. I ran it slow but I proved to myself that I could cover the distance. Other than dealing with a slight hamstring pull that happened four days before the marathon, things went pretty well in the first marathon. For my last two marathons my longest run is 22 miles, since I now know that I can go the distance and what it takes to go the distance. I have heard that the reason that you shouldn't go more than 20-22 miles is that you increase the chance of injury the further you run. Also, I've heard that a long run shouldn't last longer than 3 hours. For us slower runners, it can take 3:00 hours to cover 18 miles. Seems like a Catch 22, you want to go the distance (20-22 miles) but you don't want to increase the chance of injury. As I said, now I go up to 22 miles.

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