Oh, how we react to long runs. Well, for me, it all depends!
I know that, after a while, I get to the point to where doing 15-17 (25-28 km) miles (slowly) is easy. I've never gotten to the point where 20-22 is easy. :-)
But, after a recovery period from either a marathon or a season, well, my first long run is usually something else. Even 12 (20km) feels tough at first.
Here is one way to ease into the long run: do the first few long runs via a "run walk"; my method is to do 4-1 (run 4, walk 1) for the first hour, 9-1 for the second hour, and just run the rest of the time. After the doing the first 2-3 long ones (17 miles or longer) in this way, I switch to just running.
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