Workout of the Week: The “2 By” Marathon Long Run

Photo: Ben Weingart

Marathon season will soon be upon us and improving your ability to run for longer at goal race effort/pace is probably top of mind. The “2 By” marathon long run is one of my favorite ways to introduce some running at goal race effort/pace into the mix and then extend the amount of time you spend there over the course of a 12-16 week cycle as fitness and confidence both improve. Here are the details:

What: 2 x 4, 6, or 8-mile repeats at goal marathon effort/pace during a long run with a 2-mile “float” for recovery between repeats. The “float” miles in between are ~60-75″/mile slower than goal marathon pace.

Warmup/Cooldown: Warm up with 2-5 miles of easy running including 4-6 x 20″ pickups (60″ jogging in between) to wake up the legs. Cool down with 1-2 miles of easy running. Depending on the length of your reps, and how long you make your warmup and cooldown, the run will total between 14 and 22 miles.

Why: This is a challenging long run that helps you to dial in marathon effort/pace and, over the course of a 12-16 week marathon cycle, extend the amount of time you spend at race effort/pace. This workout is also a good opportunity to test and practice your fueling strategy at race intensity.

Where: This one is made for the roads but it translates nicely to a treadmill if that’s more your jam (or a necessity as we head into the winter months).

When: This is a great long run to a few times in the 12-16 weeks leading up to a marathon. Start at the lower end of the range (i.e. 4 miles) for the marathon effort/pace segments early in the cycle and add a couple miles every few weeks as you lengthen the long run and extend the amount of time you spend at marathon effort/pace. I wouldn’t recommend doing this session inside of three weeks from race day.

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