Friday, August 12, 2011

Marathon Mileage

As we approach the Fall marathon season, the weekly long run becomes a staple for runners planning to go the 26.2 mile distance. I recall a time when the weekly 20 miler was THE long run you'd do in preparation. I always wondered why the distance wasn't 26 miles or something closer to that distance.In later years, after I experienced a couple of bad "crashes" that occurred somewhere between miles 19 and 25, I upped the time out on my feet during long runs when preparing for marathons.Here are a few interesting quotes as it relates to mileage and doing well in the marathon. The first is from Paul Slovic who did a study during the 70's of participants in the Oregon Trail's End Marathon. He found: "The more long runs taken and the greater length of the longest run,the faster the final time---independent of maximum weekly mileage. In other words,longer runs would be associated with faster times even if total or weekly mileage were held constant." Also,Slovic found that sub-3 hour runners he surveyed ran an average of 9 miles a day. This led him to conclude that anyone wanting to break 3 hours for a marathon needed to run 60 plus miles per week for at least eight weeks. He said this would also go a long way towards preventing drastic slowdown after mile 20 and the subsequent post-marathon recovery that can be quite painful for runners who hadn't done enough mileage training prior. I'm a little out of touch with what is being recommended in today's mainstream running mags and recent books as it pertains to mileage and the marathon,but,no writer is doing anyone any favors by writing that there is a fast way to get ready to run(or race) 26.2 miles. I remember when the marathon distance was perceived as a bit intimidating, hence,people seemed to prepare for it better then they do these days.

1 comment:

  1. Very true. There's no shortcut to success in the marathon. Rob DeCastella once said that your marathon performance is based on your previous 4 years of training ... Hard work=success, relative to your level of talent ...