The most essential part of training for either a half-marathon or marathon is the long run. This is a single day of the week in which your mileage will greatly exceed the other days. Some, like myself, plan at least one meal on it and usually our sleep schedule as well.
Regardless of whether you’re training for 13.1 or 26.2, the basic concept is the same. You slowly increase the length of the long run by 1-2 miles (usually) from week to week. In the case of the marathon, rare is the runner who completes the full 26 beforehand. It’s generally too much strain on the body while training, but you’ll see several 18-22 mile runs.
This past week I did 14 miles. On Sunday (which is now my long run day), I’ll run 16. Some weeks will not increase or may decrease by 1-2 to compensate for mileage increases on other days. Likewise, leading up to any races, long runs won’t be as straining so I can still do a good race. No matter what, definitely my most important workout even if it is slower than the hill or speed days.
Wish me luck for hitting 16 this weekend 🙂