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Taking a Break

Even if you diligently follow your training program and boost your recovery through proper diet and hydration, you may still be prone to injury or fatigue. When you are left feeling too sore or too tired to run, you should listen to your body and do the one thing marathon runners often dread the most -- cut back on running. During a cutback week, you can trim your mileage by as much as 50 percent, using the extra time away from running to rest tired muscles, ice aching joints and get a good night's rest. You also can keep your muscles fresh and loose during a cutback week by stretching or cross-training, whether by lifting weights, cycling, swimming or playing another sport.
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Easy Mileage

Easy mileage should form the foundation of any marathon training program, allowing you to slowly increase your mileage without increasing the amount of strain on your body. Easy runs, which do less damage to muscles and tissue and thus require less recovery time, should be run at a pace 6 percent to 10 percent slower than your projected marathon pace, or slow enough to maintain a conversation with a running partner. Use your easy runs to build aerobic fitness and burn fat. As your overall fitness improves, slowly increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent.
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The Long Run

While easy runs should form the bulk of the mileage run during a marathon training program, the long run is the most critical single component of your marathon training program. Most marathon training plans call for a weekly long run of 16 to 22 miles, with three to four long runs of 20 to 22 miles at the peak of the program. During these long runs, you must focus on slowing to a pace 45 seconds to a minute slower than your marathon pace, preventing your body from depleting its carbohydrate and glycogen energy reserves too quickly. To supplement energy stores and keep your body feeling hydrated and fresh, you can break up your long run by stopping for water every 30 minutes or consuming an energy gel every 45 to 60 minutes.
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