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Number two on my list of tips for the long run is to slow down.  Long runs are for training.  They are not to take a measure of your performance so you can gauge your time.  It is amazing to think that you can’t get people to slow down when they run but it is true.  I talk about marathon training because that is what I am doing right now.  It is true for any distance event you are training for.  Going fast on your long runs is bad.  The wear and tear on your body adds up and you have a good chance of getting injured before you make it to the start line of your planned event.

The first time you do an event, you should not have any goals other than to finish.  We all know that it is no fun to have only one goal of finishing so we set up a couple of other goals while we are at it.  We all do it so don’t worry about me knowing your secret.  The most popular time goals for the half marathon and marathon are 2:30 and 4:00 hours.  2:30 is a reasonable goal for a first timer running a half marathon.  4:00 hours is a pretty tough goal for a first timer to run a marathon.  I think 4:00 hours became the standard because that is what Oprah ran in the Chicago marathon many years ago.

To run a 2:30 half marathon, you will need to run an average pace around 11:30 per mile.  This takes water stops and the start line mob into account.  To run the half at this pace, you should run your long slow runs at around 12:30 per mile.

To run a 4:00 hour marathon, you will need to run at an approximate pace of 9:00 per mile.  This also takes water stops and the start line mob into account.  To run the marathon at this pace, you should run your long runs at 11:00 per mile.  You need to slow down more for the marathon because you are going farther and you have to cross mile marker 22.  When the mile markers get into the 20’s, you are so grateful for all of the spectators cheering you on.

Slow down and get to the start line healthy.  If you train properly, getting to the start line healthy will be the biggest challenge of all.  I know, if I show up healthy, I will finish the race with a good possibility of meeting my goals.

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