You might of heard that you should run practice marathon or at least 20 miles (32km) before your first marathon event. Is it true or not?
The answer is: yes and no.
NO. Let’s consider that you have not much running experience, you started to run a few months ago and training for your first marathon, or you have been running years, sometime more regularly and sometimes taking breaks. Your running pace is around 7 min/mile or 11min /km. Your estimated finishing time is around 5 hours. There’s not point to go for the run marathon during in your training as it would take that much time. And especially because the recovery time after marathon is long. Those runners who have used to run long distances and are relatively fit and fast, and have run a couple marathon before, normally recover faster, as their body are used to the distance. For the first timer the stress that body does through is huge, many people feel that they are hit by the truck. Whereas fast and more experienced runners feel better and even go recovery run in the next day.
So, let’s consider that you have some kinds of training plan for you marathon, and you decide to run marathon as a practice or anything longer than 20 miles, you would probably be out of your proper training around two weeks. In that time you miss a lot of quality training session, which will prepare you for the real marathon.
The many of the coaches agrees that weekly long runs should not take more than 150min (or 2 hours), sometimes is okay to run longer. But recommendation is that easy runs are 25-30% your weekly mileage, this includes all the other easy runs during the week.
YES. It’s okay to run marathon in the practice or distances to close to that time, if you are very good shape. You should be used to run marathons in fast pace. Let’s say your marathon time is 3 hours, running 20 miles take about 2:15 in marathon pace. This means it would totally be okay to run 20 miles or even marathon, but you have to take account your normal weekly mileage and timing. It would be also wise time your practice run the week which after you have relatively easy week, so your body have time to recover. Long run should not make harm to other training session during the week.
We have to remember that we are all individual and that what works for other doesn’t mind works for you. It’s good seek tips and information for other runners, but you have to remember that they might not be suitable for you. If you don’t know where to beginning, find the coach, good coach can answer your question and help find the best way to train for yourself.