Skip navigation

The longer the run, the longer you can wait before running another one.   In general, the endurance of a long run that is less than 17 miles can be sustained for 2 weeks, provided that the minimal training is done between long runs (mentioned below). 


I’ve found that a long run of 17 miles or more can be sustained for 3 weeks.  A run of marathon distance or longer allows for 4 weeks between long ones. The programs in GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & YEAR ROUND PLAN, for example, include shorter runs on the non-long-run weekend of about half to one-third of the current long run distance. (


Count back from your marathon date by 3-4 weeks and schedule your last long one.  Subtract 3 miles on each long run, as you write the long run distance on the calendar date, every third week.  When the distance reaches 17 miles and lower, count back two weeks, subtracting 2 miles on each.  At 10 miles, subtract one mile, scheduling the runs every 1-2 weeks.  For more information, see the books mentioned above.


Pacing can be most accurately set by the “magic mile” which I will explain in my next blog.  The bottom line is that you can’t go too slow on long ones.  A safe pace for most runners, at 60F, is 2 min/mi slower than realistic marathon goal pace.  Again, it is better to run even slower. 


After years of noting how much runners slow down in the heat, I’ve come up with a guideline that has worked very well:  reduce pace by 30 sec a mile for every 5 degree increase in temperature above 60F.  Unfortunately, if you don’t make this adjustment it will be made for you—due to fatigue at the end of the run (and in recovery).


On the non-long-run weekends, run 5-7 miles.  Time goal marathoners will schedule their mile repeats on these weekends.  The minimum additional training necessary to maintain conditioning is two 30 minute sessions on Tuesday and Thursday.


Next week: The “Magic Mile”


Jeff Galloway

US Olympian



5,839 Views 0 Comments Permalink

The long run not only builds the stamina for finishing a marathon, it can also help you run faster. After coaching marathoners for more than 30 years, I’ve come to believe that the long run is the essence of a marathon training program. It delivers the exact conditioning need for the task. Longer long runs help you hold your pace longer in the race itself.


Arriving home in December of my freshman year in college, the small but active runner’s gossip line reported that the first Atlanta Marathon would be held in about a week. I had just finished cross country season and had recently run my longest run ever: 15 miles. As a somewhat typical 18-year-old athlete, I knew that I could find a way to get through the last 11 miles. The hilly course looped around Chastain Park 10 times. I felt really good for 15 miles, but by 18, knew that I was in trouble and started to drop out. When I mentioned this thought, the race director pointed to the trophy. I had never won a trophy in a race and that kept me going for another two laps.


By 23 miles I was taking walk breaks for the first time because running more than a half mile made me dizzy. When I passed the director again, I told him that there was nothing he could say to me, to keep me in the race. He looked at his watch and informed me that I was 30 minutes ahead of the second place runner. Male ego, testosterone, and my first race trophy kept me going. But it hurt. And the hurt continued for weeks.


Since that cold day in 1963, I’ve been searching for a better way. In my running schools, retreats and training programs I outline the latest findings and get great feedback. The result: Long runs (up to at least 29 miles) have almost eliminated the pain, lingering recovery and wall hitting among my students—when they pace correctly with sufficient walk breaks from the beginning. The latest information can be found in GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & A YEAR ROUND PLAN which are available from, autographed.


In surveys, I’ve found that those who used to run 20 miles (as a longest long run), and bump the distance up to 26 miles, experience an average improvement of over 15 minutes. Going from 26mi to 29 mi bestows an additional 11 minutes, statistically.


More significant is the reduction in mental stress during the last 2 weeks, and right before the marathon. When one has “gone the distance” within 3-4 weeks before the race, your legitimate confidence reduces the anxiety messages from the left brain to almost nothing.


In my next blog I will detail how to set up the long run schedule, how to pace it, and how to adjust pace for heat.


Enjoy every run!


Jeff Galloway

US Olympian


6,243 Views 0 Comments Permalink

The Power Of The Marathon

Posted by JeffGalloway Aug 17, 2007

Why do busy people, who haven’t done much exercise in years, decide to train for a 26 mile trek? Most are over the age of 40, have families and careers, and don’t need to add something to their “to do” list. On the positive side, I guess this isn’t the worst mid life crisis one can experience.


As they report in to me, hundreds every week, the transformation stories are amazing. Those who used to avoid walking around the block, talk about “only running 7 miles” on a short long run weekend. Former smokers discover a powerful reason to quit. Many who suffered through a bad work environment, find the courage to resign and pursue a much better job.


Pushing back the barriers of endurance, mile by mile, delivers a unique and powerful sense of genuine accomplishment. Many famous and wealthy people (top politicians, media personalities, scientists, CEOs, etc.) have told me that finishing the marathon has been the most satisfying achievement in their life.


Why does this journey deliver more than it promises? Part of the answer may connect us directly to our roots. Ancient ancestors had to keep two feet moving, thousands of miles a year, to survive. During a million years of evolution, before our forebears invented tools, a series of psychological enhancements rewarded those who “went the distance” each day.


Many experts believe that running was the first form of human transportation on two feet. Others note that many of the human traits of cooperation, teambuilding and trust evolved during these migrations. When we cover a longer distance than in the recent past, mind, body and spirit come together to push us forward when we don’t feel we can continue.


Above all, marathon training forces us to do it ourselves. You won’t get the satisfaction by having a friend wear your bib number as you watch on the streets. There are no shoes or equipment that will run for you. The series of unexpected challenges require you to find resources that you didn’t know were there.


So as you grapple with the right run-walk ratio to use, or the appropriate pace for the day, know that it is always better to be conservative. Whatever you save during the early part of a long run or walk will be available later. When you have not used up your physical resources, the mind and spirit respond better also.


Most who take on the challenge of a marathon, and cross the finish line, develop the same type of toughness, discipline, and inner strength that I saw in my teammates on the Olympic team.


I salute your journey!

4,319 Views 0 Comments Permalink