Fitness On the Run

The Worst Part About Running 26.2 Miles Solo

Finish Line
Written by Charlie

If you read last weekend’s training update, you know that I have really upped my weekly mileage as I train for my 6 solo marathons, 6 continents, in 4.5 days. Part of that is several marathon length (26.2 miles) runs leading up to the event itself. That includes running 2-4 of those each week to get in shape for it.

Running 26.2 Miles Solo For Training

While I have run 40 official marathons/ultra marathons, I have actually run another 70-80 marathon distance or longer runs in training. When training for an ultra marathon, running long runs (in excess of 26 miles) is a weekly occurrence, often back-to-back days. So, I have run a lot of 26.2 mile runs!

The Nice Parts Of Running 26+ Miles Solo

There are some nice things about going out on a 26+ mile training run. One of them is the idea of exploration. I get to spend about 4+ hours checking out different streets and new spots I have not seen before. It helps to keep things enjoyable!

Another great thing about a 26+ training run is listening to audiobooks. I love loading my phone up with audiobooks that are in excess of 10 hours long. This way, it will take a few long runs to complete the book and I have something to look forward to on each run.

Yet another enjoyable aspect to running 26+ training runs is the way I feel when I am done. Sure, my muscles are a little sore, but they become less so the more of these runs that I do. I am not running these runs at actual marathon pace. I am shooting for all of these runs to be between 4 – 4.5 hours, depending on the weather. These are training runs, not races, and I do not want to get injured by pushing too hard. Because of that, they are not as difficult as an actual marathon race so I feel pretty good when I get back.

The Worst Part Of Running 26.2 Miles Solo?

Finish Line

You have to love the energy of the race finish line – something you don’t get when you do 26.2 mile training runs.

So, what is the WORST part about running 26.2 miles solo? For me, it is watching my watch hit those magic numbers of the marathon length on my watch and looking up to see – nothing. No finish line banners, no cheering crowds, no loved ones, no massage area, no fanfare – nothing at all! Just a parking lot with cars coming and going and no one congratulating me on completing the marathon distance, because no one knows about it!

Do I need the fanfare? Of course not. I run for the enjoyment of it. But, it is just something to get used to and it remains the worst part of the long training run. So many people toe the starting line of a marathon looking forward to the finishing line and using that anticipation to get through some of the very grueling parts of the marathon. I use that many times myself and it is great incentive! So, to run 26.2 miles and not see all of that is always a bit of a letdown. 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.