The Long Run. Every runner who has trained for a marathon has had that seem feeling of dread when they see numbers like 18 or 20 appear toward the end of the schedule. We will do almost anything to make a long training run tolerable: group run with friends, find a race close to the required distance on the same weekend, darn near anything to avoid having to go run for HOURS by ourselves. When no other out presents itself you may try rationalizing your way out of doing the long run; I’m here to explain why you need to do it if you want race day to go well and not dissolve into the dreaded death march.
There are multiple reasons why you need to do long runs as part of your marathon training which I will break down into 2 areas: physical and mental. The physical part is the most obvious so we tackle that first. On race day most of us will be on the course in excess of 4 hours. That is a lot of pounding on your legs and there is no good substitute. If your legs are not prepared for that kind of beating you will be a sad camper on marathon day. Equally important are the physical changes your body makes during training. When it comes down to it what your training is meant to do is force your body to adapt to running long miles. One of the most important adaptations to occur is you force your body to make more mitochondria, which are like little energy generators. The more of them you have the more energy you will have during your race and those long runs […]