Examples of Alternative Long Runs
Up and Down: Run 10 to 14 miles on the hilliest route in your area. Try to keep your average pace close to your goal marathon pace despite the topography. This workout will not only use as much glycogen as a longer run on flat terrain, but thanks to the downhill portions it will also subject your legs to as much pounding as a longer run, toughening them up for race day.
90-Minute Blast: Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of easy jogging and then run for 90 minutes at 95 percent effort. So if the farthest you could run in 90 minutes is 10 miles, run about 9.5 miles in your 90-Minute Blast. You will burn as much glycogen as you would in a two-plus-hour run at a moderate pace.
Divided Long Run: Instead of doing a long run on Saturday and taking Sunday off (or vice versa), do moderately long runs on both days. For example, instead of running 20 miles on Saturday and zero on Sunday, run 12 miles on Saturday and 12 again the next morning. The combined benefit of your Divided Long Run will be at least as great as that of the single longer run.
Get There Faster: The best way to combine moderately long runs with traditional long runs in your marathon training depends on many factors, including your experience and fitness levels, your time constraints and your goals. Following is a pair of 10-week schedules of moderately long runs (MLR) and long runs (LR). The schedule on the top is a good fit for runners whose goal is to finish a marathon. The schedule on the bottom is best for runners who have completed at least one marathon previously and want to improve their time in the next.
Build your long run distance up to 10 miles before starting either schedule. In weeks that contain an MLR and an LR, separate them by at least two days.
Just Finish Plan
1. LR: 11 miles
2. LR: 12 miles
3. MLR: Up and down, 10 miles
4. LR: 13 miles
5. MLR: 90-minute blast
6. LR: 14 miles
7. MLR: Divided long run 10 miles/10 miles
8. LR: 15 miles
9. MLR: Up and down, 12 miles
10. LR: 17 miles
1. MLR: Divided long run 10 miles/10 miles
2. MLR: Up and down, 10 milesLR: 14 miles
3. MLR: 90-minute blastLR: 15 miles
4. MLR: Divided long run 11 miles/11 miles
5. MLR: Up and down, 11 milesLR: 16 miles
6. MLR: 90-minute blastLR: 17 miles
7. MLR: Divided long run 12 miles/12 miles
8. MLR: Up and down, 12 milesLR: 18 miles
9. MLR: 90-minute blastLR: 18 miles
10. MLR: Divided long run 13 miles/13 miles