There is no doubt that a 20-mile run (or longer) can be a great confidence booster when training for a Marathon. However from a training and physiological standpoint, they have more cons than pros. One of the most common reasons new marathoners don't make it to the start line is injury. Our training plans will gradually and safely progress your endurance to a point that you will be able to complete your marathon. Overtime as your pace increases through months/years of training you may be at a different level where your long runs will cover more distance. However the time will still be capped for the reasons outlined below:
- Research has shown there is no significant increase in aerobic development when running over 90 minutes. (The majority of physiological stimulus of long runs occurs between the 60 and 90 minute mark).
- Running for 3 hours provides few further aerobic benefits than when you run for only 2 hours.
- You can therefore build as much aerobic fitness during a long run of 2hrs as you can during a 3hr run.
- Running for longer than 2.5 hours significantly increases your chance of injury.
- Your form breaks down, your major muscles become weak through overuse and are consequently susceptible to injury.
- Recovery time is significantly lengthened.
- The total amount of time on your feet during a 3-hour plus run adds considerable fatigue to the legs, which leads to a significant delay in recovery time.
- This means you can’t complete more marathon specific workouts throughout the following week.
- These tempo and speed skill runs, research has shown, are a key component to marathon success.
It is consistency and build of total running volume combined with weekly speedwork that will lead to marathon success.
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