I love how mathematical my training plan is -- thank you Mr. Jack Daniels! Math makes sense to me and I enjoy that everything is specific to my paces.
One aspect of my training plan that is different from other programs I've used is that most runs are followed by (8) 20-second strides. This is supposed to help with turnover, speed and form. It is such a great way to end a run. I also noticed that some of my long runs involve intervals of MP (Marathon Pace). I used to try to incorporate similar intervals in past training so I like that it is officially on my plan with specific paces and mileage.
The man behind the math
The greatest difference from prior plans is a shorter long run distance. I am not scheduled to run a 20 miler at all before the marathon. My last plan called for 3 or 4 20-milers.
I remember a fantastic 20-miler I had during Chicago Marathon training. I felt completely ready for the marathon, but it was still months away. Sure enough, within the next month I was injured and that grand feeling was completely dismantled. It wasn't the 20 miler's fault. But maybe if I didn't do quite so many long, long runs I could've avoided injury. Jack Daniels actually has a very interesting video on why there is no need to run quite so long during marathon training.
Watch more video of Saucony Thirsty Thursdays with Jack Daniels on flotrack.org
Jack Daniels believes long runs shouldn't last more than 2 1/2 hours. For faster runners, this works out great because they can still get a lot of miles in. For slower runners, this reduces the risk of injury but doesn't allow as many miles.
I, personally, like to run 20 miles at least once or twice during marathon training, simply because it gives me confidence.
How long are your long runs during marathon training?
How long is too long?
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