How You Will Finish a Marathon After Running Just 20 Miles

This past weekend we had our epic 20 mile training run for the Chicago Marathon.  I am happy to report that the entire team did incredibly well.  We were so proud of them when they finished!

Now that is a fine looking group of runners!

Now that is a fine looking group of runners!

One of the most common questions I get after finishing a 20 mile training run is, “Where will the rest of the miles come from?”

This is a totally fair question.  Sure you completed 20 miles (maybe even 22 on some plans) but how do you know your body can handle those remaining 6.2 miles?


Simply put, if you have followed a training plan and you ran your 20 miler properly, you now have enough endurance to complete the entire marathon distance.  If you were to run the full 26.2 miles before race day you would further risk injury by pushing it too hard.

The key to doing a proper 20 mile run is to take it nice and slow and carefully fuel and hydrate.  Remember that these runs are meant to be done 30 seconds to a minute slower than your planned racing pace.  Aim for a conversational pace during your run and don’t push yourself too much.  The more time you spend on your feet, the more your body will be prepared for the full racing distance.  Your mantra should be: There is no rush!

Once you have completed the longest run on your training plan it is the essential for you to mentally prepare yourself for race day.  Trust your training and have confidence in it.  It is common to question yourself and your ability to complete the full race or to finish at your planned pace.  Continue to remind yourself that you have done the training and you will be fine.  After all, running is 110% mental.  The body achieves what the mind believes!

Did you do a long training run this week?  Anyone training for a fall marathon or half marathon?

7 thoughts on “How You Will Finish a Marathon After Running Just 20 Miles

  1. Nice job on your 20 miler! I have a half and a 10 mile race coming up. hoping all my summer training in the heat and humidity will pay off! (Plus added in speed and hill workouts too!) one thing is for sure: the 10 miler is a guaranteed PR (b/c it is my first ten mile race)!
    If you have a chance, please check out my blog sometime.

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