A long term looks like a straightforward idea: Go longer than you usually do sooner or later every week and also you’ll getting stronger. Nevertheless it isn’t at all times really easy as constructing to a sure distance and simply staying there. Through the years I’ve discovered the coaching patterns which are greatest for me to make my lengthy runs the simplest for year-round objectives.
Studying the Worth of Lengthy
Once I was in highschool, we by no means did lengthy runs till my senior yr. My coach stated your longest run ought to be thrice your race distance. Since we had been excessive schoolers and our race distance was by no means greater than 5K, that made much more sense on the time than it did as soon as I began racing previous 10Okay, notably after I began concentrating on the half marathon and marathon.
We didn’t actually use lengthy runs as a result of I got here from an intensity-only program the place we did laborious exercises 5–6 days every week. Now, a few of these exercise days had been extremely lengthy—I’d stand up to 100 miles every week, routinely placing in as much as 15 miles of quantity every day—however the longest regular run of the week was solely about 10 miles.
Lastly, within the winter of my senior yr we determine to start out going as much as 15 mile runs as soon as every week since I used to be planning to maneuver up in race distance to almost 5 miles for the World Junior cross nation championships. That additionally occurred to suit into the 3x-your-race-distance mannequin. I instantly noticed an enormous bounce in my health and later that spring received a bronze medal within the junior race on the 2001 World Cross Nation Championships, the primary by an American since Keith Brantly’s bronze in 1981, and the final since.
I used to be additionally conscience of the faculty program I used to be heading into. The College of Colorado, below coach Mark Wetmore, was famend for the extremely troublesome Sunday long term at areas reminiscent of Magnolia Street and Gold Hill. I had learn Operating With The Buffalos and knew I wanted to make the bounce earlier than getting there that subsequent summer time.
picture: Mitch Kastoff
Essential Dedication at Colorado
Once I arrived it was shortly evident that Coach Wetmore believed the long term was an important a part of our coaching, and I shortly turned a disciple of his. I stay to this present day, as I imagine what you do in your long term issues greater than some other single session in your common coaching.
In faculty we used a three-week cycle. Each third week we’d go even longer on our long term. So, for me, it was normally two weeks at 17 miles and the third week at 20 miles. We additionally adopted the 20% rule: Our long term was roughly 20% of our weekly mileage. As for tempo, these lengthy runs had been no joke. Usually they might be extra like lengthy development runs, ending nearer to tempo tempo than straightforward long term tempo.
The terrain was additionally difficult due to the Boulder elevation and hills. The saying about Magnolia Street is that “Mags by no means lies”—since you discovered actually quick if you happen to had been match once you went to 8000+ toes and ran 17–20 miles on rolling hills with different runners attempting to drop you. You might additionally stroll away injured very simply if you happen to weren’t ready for it.
After graduating I started being coached by Brad Hudson. We began coaching for the marathon, and I started taking a look at lengthy runs as being exercises, not merely lengthy straightforward days, as a result of typically we’d run 20–28 miles pretty near marathon tempo.
A month earlier than the Beijing Olympic Marathon in 2008 I did a 28 mile run. Three miles heat up then 24 miles at 5:07 tempo, then a one mile quiet down. This was nearly the space of the race, at simply 7 seconds slower than the two:11 marathon tempo we had been concentrating on. So I actually started to alter my idea of lengthy runs as exercises for marathon coaching.
Throughout non-marathon coaching we’d proceed working lengthy, however revert again to an analogous schedule that we used at Colorado, with two weeks at 16–18 miles after which every week at 20 miles. However normally they weren’t as regular and laborious as I had performed at Colorado. I’d typically common a minute per mile slower than my marathon tempo.
picture: Mitch Kastoff
Sustaining the Combine
Once I began working with Alberto Salazar in 2009 we used a lot the identical philosophy. We’d at all times preserve a 20 miler within the combine each 2–three weeks as a result of that was the staple of our cardio power. After we did lengthy runs, they had been typically fairly quick. It was not unusual for me to run 20 miles at 5:20–5:30 common tempo (roughly 30 seconds/mile slower than marathon tempo) even in the course of the summer time monitor season when our quantity was decrease and we had been specializing in velocity. I did them much less continuously than throughout marathon coaching, however we at all times used it as a software to keep up the power to return again to marathon lengthy runs simply.
This was one factor that I discover very useful when taking a season off from the marathon to concentrate on shorter races. If I’ve maintained common 20 mile runs each few weeks at a tempo quicker than simply a straightforward run, I’m able to come again and hit the identical form of high quality marathon long term exercises that I did with Brad in a a lot shorter time frame.
After years of coaching, I’ve discovered that my physique appears to like that acquainted schedule first established in faculty. Now with the Hanson’s, I’ve a regularly-scheduled 20 miler, adopted by a 17–18 mile long term week. I get a lot stronger by having that 20 miler within the schedule each few weeks even when I’m not doing a marathon. I’ve tried just a few instances simply staying at 17–18 miles and I simply lack that power if I keep away from them for too lengthy.
picture: Mitch Kastoff
For athletes that aren’t coaching professionally that could be a bit excessive. I believe the 20% rule we used at Colorado is an efficient guideline for many runners. However discover a distance that offers you the arrogance and the advantages of the lengthy marathon-training run, in order that as quickly as you return to marathon coaching you’re match and able to adapt to the actually laborious progressive lengthy runs your physique will want for the longer races. By sustaining one run nearer to that distance you may preserve your physique’s potential to deal with these intense lengthy runs once you get again into marathon coaching.
You possibly can’t, nevertheless, be afraid to again it again down by 20–30 p.c the subsequent week. By alternating your lengthy runs forwards and backwards between two distances it is possible for you to to get extra out of your physique on that over-distance long term whereas not getting too near the sting and going over.
Typically as runners we get obsessed by outdoing what we did earlier than; we need to preserve steadily progressing and by no means need to go much less. However we have now to do not forget that the physique will reply higher and also you received’t beat your self in to the bottom. You possibly can nonetheless come again the subsequent week and hit that longer one which it’s essential to preserve getting aerobically stronger, however, you received’t do the harm by grinding week in and week out.