Mar 10

My marathon training plan does not include 20 mile (plus) runs. Why?

Category: FAQs

Classical marathon training plans are based on studies primarily involving fast (elite and decent club runners – think 3 hours and faster) runners, who have been running consistently at high volume for years (see below). This does not equate to the vast majority of marathon runners today. And whilst these studies suggest a correlation between the length of long runs, and having a number of 20 mile long runs in the months before a marathon, this relationship has not been demonstrated to be causative. As such, the role of long training runs for most people is still very unclear. This is where TrainAsONE comes in. To determine, for each individual, what is the most effective and efficient training (whilst reducing risk of injury) to achieve their goals. With endurance training, this commonly means no ‘very long’ runs and often more back-to-back ‘shorter long’ runs.

In our internal review of people who followed a TrainAsONE marathon training plan:

  • Male finishing times ranged from 2h17m to 8h20m, with an age range of 19 to 75 years;
  • Female finishing times ranged from 2h36m to 8h58m, with an age range of 20 to 68 years;
  • 68% ran their marathon race faster than the global average;
  • On average their training consisted of 20 minutes per week less running (than the global average);
  • On average their training consisted of 6 km per week less running;
  • On average their longest run was 3.5 km shorter;

Interesting facts regarding studies on the Marathon Long Run

There have only been around 30 quality studies looking at the marathon long run;

These studies have incorporated just over 1,000 runners;

The average age of runners in 2018 marathon races was 40 years. The average age of study participants was 35 years;

In 2018, 51% of marathon runners were female. Less than 30% of study participants were female;

In 2018 the average marathon race finishing time was 4h15m for males and 4h56m for females. The average finishing times of research participants was 3h07m, with a slowest of 4h52m;

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About The Author

Dr. Sean Radford, the Founder & CEO of TrainAsONE, is a medical doctor, IT expert, coach and podium finisher in international endurance events. He has dedicated more than 20 years to the research of health, fitness and social well-being of the general population. He has been developing Artificially Intelligent (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools to help tackle some of the world’s leading health issues. Dr Radford is a Tech Ambassador for the UK, considered a leading expert in his field, and is a regular speaker at key events, as well as an author of numerous research publications.