Fitness

Ditch The Lengthy, Sluggish Distance Run

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Occasions, they’re a changin’, and the standard marathoner mentality that lengthy, gradual distance will get the job finished is turning into a factor of the previous. In case you’ve accomplished a couple of marathons and wish to run quicker, operating lengthy, onerous runs could possibly be a key coaching stimulus for you.

“The main focus has modified from merely getting ready for the gap of 26.2 miles to getting ready for the tempo that might permit for operating quick over that distance,” says Scott Simmons, who heads the American Distance Undertaking, a gaggle established in Colorado Springs in 2011 to assist American runners compete on the worldwide stage.

In different phrases, as a substitute of merely coaching to complete 26.2 miles, runners are coaching to complete 26.2 miles quicker—all with exercises particular to the marathon. Whereas the development sprouted amongst elite runners and has been a key purpose for the current drop in instances on the worldwide stage, the identical rules can assist leisure runners get quicker, too.

One of many key exercises on this new coaching routine is an extended, onerous run at marathon race tempo, which marks a transfer away from the lengthy, gradual distance run (aka, an “LSD” run) age-group marathoners historically full as soon as each weekend.

Certainly, the very best East Africans are operating as a lot as 40Ok (about 25 miles) at near-marathon race tempo at 8,000 toes of altitude as a part of their marathon buildup. That’s not an choice for many runners, however there are comparable exercises that may assist formidable age-group runners obtain the identical impact.

“As an alternative of ranging from a place of quantity and having that be the most important figuring out issue, we are actually ranging from a place of depth,” Simmons says. “We start with depth after which hope to increase that depth.”

Two of the elite runners Simmons coached, Alisha Williams and Wendy Thomas, benefitted from this fashion of coaching prior to now.

“Once they have been approaching the Olympic Trials Marathon, they couldn’t do what [2:03 Kenyan marathoner] Moses Mosop may do,” says Simmons, who works with Mosop’s former coach, Renato Canova, who, together with Meb Keflezighi’s coach, Bob Larsen, is usually credited with the philosophies behind this marathon coaching shift.

As an alternative, the ladies centered on getting greater and larger chunks of their lengthy runs at marathon tempo. Thomas, who solely started operating in 2006, made her marathon debut on the U.S. Olympic Trials in January 2012 in Houston and positioned 12th in 2:34:25. Williams ran a 2:35:09 in her debut marathon in the identical race and positioned 14th. In December 2012, she gained the Cal Worldwide Marathon in Sacramento, Calif., in 2:34:57 — her second effort at 26.2 miles.

“We ran our lengthy runs fairly onerous,” Williams says. “The purpose is to run an enormous chunk of that at marathon tempo. It’s not about time in your toes, essentially—it’s about discovering the steadiness between high quality and amount.”

One of many key periods in a typical marathon build-up for Simmons’ athletes is 2 13-mile exercises—sometimes intervals or tempo runs—finished over the course of a single day, for a complete of greater than 26 miles with the warmups and funky downs. The morning exercise is supposed to deplete the physique of glycogen, and when it’s mixed with the night exercise, which at all times contains lactic acid-inducing intervals at quicker than threshold tempo, the physique really begins to learn to use lactic acid as gas—an essential instrument in quick marathon operating.

Age-group runners seeking to shift their marathon coaching shouldn’t simply blast 15-18 miles this weekend. For age-groupers seeking to implement the Kenyan-esque future into their coaching routine with out overtraining or getting injured, Pete Rea, the elite athlete coach at ZAP Health, a North Carolina-based group designed for post-collegiate American runners, suggests breaking it up into manageable chunks.

For instance, as a substitute of doing a full 25Ok (or 15 miles) at marathon race tempo, alternate between lengthy onerous efforts and straightforward jogging. For instance, run 10Ok, 10Ok after which 5K at marathon race tempo with 4-6 minutes of straightforward jogging (or strolling) in between. The following time you do an intense future, maybe break it up right into a 20Ok after which a 5K, or maybe run 30 minutes at marathon race tempo adopted by 20 minutes, then 10 minutes after which 5 minutes, all with 2 to three minutes of straightforward jogging in between.

“Physiologically, there’s not a lot distinction between that and a 65-minute onerous run, however mentally it’s simpler to abdomen,” Rea says.

The warmup for such a exercise ought to embrace 4 minutes of extraordinarily straightforward operating, 4 minutes of constructing as much as a tempo that’s 30 or 40 seconds quicker per mile, after which constructing to “quick dialog tempo,” Rea says.

One other method to obtain the identical purpose can be to begin a 3- or 4-mile tempo run 30 minutes earlier than racing a half-marathon, with the important thing being to deal with a constant, onerous effort in every section.

The calm down for any lengthy onerous run ought to embrace a couple of straightforward miles adopted by gentle stretching and an ice tub, if potential.

“It’s one thing that’s going to take a bit of extra time to get better from,” says Michael McKeeman, who’s a coach at Run Mammoth Efficiency Teaching and a longtime coaching accomplice to marathoning nice Deena Kastor. “However I believe that even when it’s a must to give your self one other day or two of straightforward operating after the onerous future, the profit you’re getting out of the tougher future overrides something you’re shedding by having to run straightforward for an additional day or two.”

These lengthy, onerous coaching runs aren’t one thing to be accomplished fairly often, both. Elite marathoners sometimes do them not more than as soon as a month.

Coaching applications with lengthy, onerous runs constructed into them are sometimes primarily based on an athlete’s particular person restoration time as a substitute of the usual seven-day coaching cycle. So for those who sometimes do lengthy coaching runs on weekends, you’re going to need to take heed to your physique and tweak your schedule to make them match.

“You’re not going to run the actually onerous, longer runs any greater than 3 times throughout a 12-week marathon buildup,” Rea says. “However the actual secret’s restoration.”

Initially revealed January 2013.

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