YOU CAN'T RUN a MARATHON with just 9-MILE training runs.
..Because you HAVE to run MORE miles in order to:
1. 'HARDEN' MYSELF THROUGH RUNNING AT LEAST A COUPLE OF 18+ MILE LONG AND SLOW TRAINING RUNS
2. 'KNOW' YOU CAN RUN A 20 MILER BEFORE YOU START WITH THE 'REAL' THING
The 9-Mile Marathon is a carefully balanced, comprehensive SYSTEM, based on more than just running less miles. Finding your MHR, your marathon heart rate sweet spot, is essential. You will be running ALL your 6-9 mile training runs AND your marathon at this particular heart rate MHR.
In the 'regular' marathon training plans you run your long training runs SLOWER and at LOWER hr. If you think about it, it doesn't make sense. I found this EXTREMELY ineffective.
The 9-Mile training system is based on AFA (the concept of Accumulated Fatigue Avoidance) and ESS (initiating the metabolic Energy Supply Switch). On top of that, there is the importance of Cross training, getting rid of the rigid (both physical and mental 'loose' approach to the schedule) and 9-mile specific speed- and interval training (full recovery type of interval sets).
In the regular' training plans there is no emphasize on cross training and strength/core training. Dead wrong in my opinion.
The 9-Mile Marathon is a cleverly balanced thoroughly thought-through concept, very effective, highly efficient.
From ALL successful 9-Mile Marathon runners I have trained in the past I can assure you his:
The ANSWER to both 1. ('HARDEN' yourself) and 2. (to 'KNOW' you can do it) is a BIG fat "NO, NOT true."
You DON'T need to harden yourself through running those endless long and slow training runs. My cleverly scheduled 6 to 9-mile training runs are at your marathon heart rate AND marathon pace. It appears they 'harden' you well enough to get you ready for the big day. With less risk on injury and mental exhaustion.
The 9-Mile Marathon concept represents a new APPROACH to 'balancing' training effectiveness and fatigue accumulation. With a MUCH greater emphasize on AVOIDING fatigue accumulation while STRENGTHENING yourself effectively to prepare your body for the big day. You have to realize you only need to run 26 miles ONCE! With the classic programs you push your physique in such a way you almost do the full distance every week. Why? This is only wearing you out. Definitively.
'TRADITIONAL' training programs are STOPPING you from RELEASING the full POWER within you (when it is needed most: on RACE day).
It seems for MOST age-goup runners in the range of 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours finish times, those repetitive long runs are counter-productive. They do more harm than good. That's why most of my students run the marathon STRONGER the 9-miler way! It is the proof to me that those constant 6-9-mile training runs (twice per week) make your body stronger and even better prepared than running 18+mile slow runs.
The mental challenge to run your marathon with only 6-9mile training based program appears ONLY ONCE; at your first marathon 'The 9-Miler Way'. Yes, you have to trust the system. What helps is that you will start to feel stronger and stronger all the way. A HUGE BOOST in self confidence BY FOLLOWING THE 9-MILE MARATHON WAY of training. Once you have experienced the benefits you will have the answers by experience. You will feel INCREDIBLY strong at the starting line. By running 6-9 mile training runs at MHR (your calculated personal marathon heart rate sweet-spot) and the smart 9-Mile training Schedule you will prepare yourself 'just right', without ANY trace of fatigue accumulation.
This proves to be the BIG SECRET of The 9-Mile Marathon training system. Independent of the way we train, we'll all feel tired around 20-24 miles. Those 'traditional' 18 mile long training runs aren't preparing you for this either! It is my personal experience that training The 9-Miler Way is a MUCH BETTER WAY to survive those last miles, and to recover quicker after the race. With another HUGE benefit: less stress on your social life and your physique during the months of preparation. Meaning there will be energy left for friends and family during the weekends!