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Sunday Long Run Returns

This weekend the fall Sunday Long Run series began

We call it the fall series because these runs are training for the fall marathons. Specifically for The Bay State Marathon in Lowell, but it works nicely for the other fall marathons as well such as Hartford and Philadelphia.

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Melrose Running Club SLR Program – join us!

It seems like just last week I was running over the Roosevelt bridge from New Brunswick into Lubec to finish the Bay of Fundy International Marathon. During the almost six weeks between Boston and Fundy, I took less than two weeks off for recovery. I’ve done 14 races so far this year, and it seems like I’m always in training.

I do enjoy racing and look at 5k and 10k races as part of my training. I always push my self harder when I’m running a race, so these are great speed workouts for me. They allow me to test my self and gauge my level of fitness. While I do enjoy racing, I know that I need to train for them, unless I’m showing up just to drink beer. I rarely show up to a race just for the party. Even when I’m injured or it’s a themed holiday race, the fire in the belly is always there. I love it.

I definitely appreciate the importance of the Sunday Long Run and proper training. Proper training cannot be rushed, there are no short cuts to the starting line. The rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% and build in a few step back weeks to allow your body to recover late in the training program when the mileage can be grueling.

Tip for new runners: Look at the miles you run on an average week. These are your base miles. This is where you start and add 10% from. If you only run one day a week for a few miles you may be able to go well beyond this rule of thumb.


If you run 3 miles one day a week you should be able to add a second day of running at the same distance. After this feels comfortable, add a third day at the same distance. Once you are comfortable with three days, start increasing the distance on one of your three runs by approximately 10% of your weekly mileage each week. It’s quite easy to go from one day a week at 3 miles to 3-4 days per week and 15 miles. It really is best to ease your way into the more rigorous schedule.

The same holds true for experienced runners who have a higher weekly base mileage. That is why we start our SLR in the middle of July to prepare for a fall marathon. This week we ran 8.8 miles. Since Boston, the only time I have run further is at The Bay of Fundy International Marathon. That’s correct – No long runs while training for Fundy, but I still ran my 2nd best marathon time ever. There is something to be said for being well rested. But I digress, as usual.

Long run,sunday,trainingThe Sunday Long Run is meant to be incorporated into a runners over all training program. Next week we jump to 12.5 miles which is about a 45% increase. There goes the 10% rule, right?

My base is 20-30 miles per week. To keep my weekly mile increase to 10% I will back off on my Tuesday night run to compensate for the Sunday run. Jumping up 3.7 miles, or 45%, for the long seems like a big increase. But by cutting other runs down, I can keep my weekly miles within the safe range.

We are in the midst of the hot summer weather in New England. Many of us wait all year for this. It’s hard to complain about 80F and 100% humidity when we know Jack Frost will soon reappear. Other runners prefer cool or even cold weather to run in.

  • Have you started training for your fall marathon?
  • Have you decided on a fall marathon yet?
  • What base mileage do you maintain all year?

If you are new to running or starting your first marathon training program send me your questions. If I can’t provide an answer I can find the answer for you.

Run well my friends!


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6 responses to “Sunday Long Run Returns”

  1. Mark Avatar

    Hi Andy. I’m starting off my first marathon training program, and I was wondering what performance drinks/jelly beans would you recommend? As I build up my long run mileage, bringing a bottle of Gatorade seems too minimal.

    1. Imarunner2012 Avatar

      For shorter runs a bottle of water is probably all that you need. If you are out for an hour or if it is hot then the bottle of Gatorade is a good idea.
      There are many types of gels, beans etc. They are all formulated a little differently and they are all “the best”. My advice would be to buy a few different ones and try them on your long runs. It’s better to find out that something doesn’t agree with you while you are on a long run and not during your marathon.
      I use all different types w/ few problems. Each pf us is different so you have to experiement during your long runs.
      Also, on race day – do not try anything new. Once you figure out what works for you, stick with it.

  2. runsaltrun Avatar

    Ooo I might have some questions for you regarding this. I’m going to give it some thought this afternoon. I’m coming off injury so I haven’t really run much at all for awhile (I started having pain last month and backed off my mileage a lot, so now I’ll be slowly starting to add it back on.) The issue is that I do have a fall marathon chosen and I really should have started training for it already (mid-October). I’m trying to think of the best way to do this without risking hurting myself again.

    1. Imarunner2012 Avatar

      I’m not a professional, my advise based on experience.
      Try running 3 days a week for maybe 3 miles. If your injury acts up, then stop and wait for it to get better.
      If everything feels good then I would advise you to slowly build up your distance. Maybe run 3 miles 2 days and bump the 3rd day to 4 miles. If that is ok run 4 miles on two days and increase like that.
      If your goal is to get to the starting line a half descent shape, don’t worry about your long run, atleast not yet.
      If you have a muscle problem I would ice it, take ibuprofin and stretch.
      The key is to go slow and stop if things start to hurt. Start now, you;ll have more time to ramp up gradually.
      I know these are low miles, but the goal is to get to the start without agrevating your injury.

  3. Judith / soveryslightlymad Avatar

    I’m running Baystate, so my training is underway. I have a 14 mile run on my schedule for Sunday. I haven’t run double digits since my half marathon on June 22, but I think if my hip doesn’t feel tweaky, it shouldn’t be too hard to do at an easy pace. Fingers crossed.

    1. Imarunner2012 Avatar

      Good luck. My left knee has been bothering me, so I haven’t run since Tuesday morning. I’m going to do the long run Sunday and see how things feel.
      It’s always something!