First week back to a full regular summer running training schedule! I crushed 42.03 miles in 5 days of running (I took an extra Sunday off just to be on the safe side this week). Perspective is an amazing thing. My last marathon training cycle I topped out at 46 miles per week, and felt exhausted and overworked. This time around the 42 miles this week was a pleasure and I definitely could have done more. I am going to just go ahead and attribute that change to starting with a higher base and training smarter.

My biggest personal test was three days in a row that started with a tempo run and ended with 15 miles. I was a little apprehensive about the 15 miles for a number of reasons. One, um hello? 15 miles. Two, last week was so rough. Three, I ended up getting a massage on Friday, and was not sure how that was going to go over. And lastly, I would be running over 25 miles within about 36 hours. I don’t know if it was the massage or change in attitude or a special cosmic energy, but my long run Saturday morning was a wonderful thing. It started at 5:15 AM and had some harder moments, but overall was exactly why I love marathon training. Sheer happiness. Larry and I ran the first 5 miles on our own and then met up with the GCR Saturday morning group. We ran the next 5 miles with a number of friends, chatting about training and life and UFO sightings (yeah we really did – Naples made national news for it last week). The last 5 miles we were back to the two of us. We ran much faster than the previous week, but it didn’t seem nearly as difficult. At the end of the run, my legs still felt good, and I definitely had a few more miles in me. Sometimes when you least expect it, after some hard work, a run will be great and make the tough times totally worth it. Blissful.

The long run is the foundation for any half or full marathon training plan. Some have a love-hate relationship, some love, and some absolutely dread the long run. Regardless of your feelings, it is one of the most important types of weekly runs leading up to a race. Different training plans have different peak distances. My first marathon I ran two 19 mile runs before tapering. Last cycle I ran a 22 miler and felt like it was too much. Hanson’s Marathon Method has three 16 mile runs. I am planning on one 20 miler just for my mental training. There are all different theories for pace during your long run. It is generally not recommended to do entire long runs at goal pace, but to run 30-60 seconds over goal pace for most of the run and incorporate a few miles at goal pace at the end of the run. Other things critical for a successful, happy long run include:

  • Pre-run nourishment
  • An early start (for all of us sweltering during August in Florida)
  • On the run calories (Gu’s, candy, energy gels, salt tabs, etc.)
  • Hydration (water/electrolyte replacement bottles that are easy to carry)
  • Body glide/Vaseline/Aquaphor (obvious at this point in time)

What is your long run this week? Anyone else joining me at 4:30 AM on the weekends?

By: Lianne Martin
To read more about the author, follow her on Twitter @sunshine_runner or check out her site
This article was originally published August 18, 2013.

More from Fit Nation:
 Summer Running with Lianne: Highs and Lows
Summer Running with Lianne: Traveling and Training
Summer Running with Lianne: Recovery