Training Tips

Marathon Long Runs

By Jon Sinclair

For marathoners, longer runs are crucial for success and should be the focus of any training program. If you’re self-coached, use a calendar that maps out your long runs in a smooth progression. Reserve the last two or three weeks for a “taper” to the marathon… a gradual decline of mileage using shorter runs to emphasize rest and recovery.

During your long runs, drink as much replacement fluid as is comfortable for your stomach. Force yourself to drink… work at consuming as much as you can. Drinking during your runs and avoiding a “bad stomach” is a learned and practiced skill. Utilize the same brand and flavor of replacement fluid as you plan on drinking during the marathon. Usually, that would be the brand and flavor the race will have on the aid station tables. Look on the race website to find out what that replacement fluid the race is serving and use that during your training.

Your long runs should be practice preparation for your marathon. Experiment with different meals the night before your long runs and find out what works best for your pre-marathon dinner. Organize your equipment and clothes the night before… just like you should do on the evening before your race. Find out what works best for you on race morning: a light meal 2 hours before, no food, coffee or tea… use your long runs to discover what you need to get ready.

About the Author

Jon is a member of the Road Runner’s Club of America Hall of Fame, a former USA National Cross Country and 10,000 meter champion, and an Olympic Trials finalist in the 5000 meters. He has represented the USA on numerous national teams and is USATF Level 1 Certified. Jon is one of the inaugural class members of the Colorado Running Hall of Fame.