The Science of the Long Run (Read 1746 times)


Muddling through

     

    The rest of this post I cannot understand.  Honestly this is the second thread in which you seem to start with one question and when people give replies you change the question.  I don't mean this to sound harsh but I am trying to understand and answer.  You think the obsession with 20 mile runs is ridiculous, but you are arguing that they need to run roughly that in duration (you are not happy with only 3 hour long runs, so if a 5 hour marathoner is doing a 4 hour run that's around 20 miles).  And now as you argue for runs >>3hrs for slow marathoners to prepare them, you want them doing 40mpw with a long run of 30% that volume....roughly 13 miles?  None of this seems consistent.  Even if that is just the starting point, to get them to the kind of long runs you are arguing for they are going to be at 50% of their miles for the week in the long run.  That doesn't leave much for balanced training.

     

    I'm quite satisfied with your answers and those of Nobby et al. Since I expect to be asking more questions, I'm trying to find out why I'm not making myself clear and how I can better express myself.

     

    I understand and agree with your previous explanations. I thought when I emboldened one of my statements there, that it was clear I agreed with you. Now I'm trying to clarify why you understood my comments in a way they weren't meant. I think what is happening is that I'm posing a question and stating a common understanding or approach as the reason why I am asking and you are assuming I agree with and advocate that common approach. Indeed it's precisely because of the seeming contradictions you point out that I've asked these questions to get an understanding of the alternatives available to avoid the pitfalls of beginner marathon programs.

    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race


    Feeling the growl again

       Indeed it's precisely because of the seeming contradictions you point out that I've asked these questions to get an understanding of the alternatives available to avoid the pitfalls of beginner marathon programs.

       

      OK.  Perhaps I am not understanding what you are just putting out there for comments, vs what your actual personal position is.  

       

      I am glad you did not take my last post as insulting -- like I said I am just trying to understand so I am giving a relevant answer.  Smile

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

        Apologies to all for following off on a tangent here but....

         

        ...  I think more of it has to do with the fact that I don't have easy access to a variety of terrain (and time) to keep all of my core muscles properly in balance. ..

         

        Some of the newer competitive ultrarunners that I THINK you are referring to are former road runners too, I speculate that part of their problem is that they try to take it to a high level at these new distances before they have conditioned their bodies to handle the particular challenges of trail running over races that long.

        Actually, I think core strength, muscle balance, etc is part of what enables some folks to do really long runs. (not sure I remember what the point of the OP was other than to share some stuff) It's not all about volume of miles/ hrs or duration of long runs but how suited that body is to do the workout - combination of genetics, past life style/training, current training, etc. As I've said, I don't think most studies take into account the needed background. It's one of those things that's probably not known or knowable. Wink

         

        No, most top trail ultra runners come from trail running, xc skiing, xc running, climbing, ski mountaineering background. The one, in particular, is Anton Krupicka who just loves to run and can't control himself. Just looked at his blog - about 18hrs of running/climbing with 29,000ft vertical ft of uphill (and of course that much downhill) the last week he logged. He used to include miles, which was close to 200mi/wk, iirc. I hadn't seen much of the Skaggs brothers recently. Erik is still racing - after rhabdo a couple years ago - but Kyle doesn't seem to be racing anymore (at least not seeing any results). Dakota Jones - one of the newest - is out with PF. Geoff Roes also missed a lot of 2012 with undiagnosed whatever, although he's been near the top for about 5 yrs (+ 2 yrs mostly up here). He comes from a running, biking, xc skiing background - just for fun and competition. I guess watching things over the last 10 yrs or so has made me realize what a great runner Ann Trason was - 14 wins at WS.

         

        I think I do agree that for new runners following a canned beginner's program with the typical buildup - or lack thereof - that going over 3 hrs on asphalt without walk breaks could be asking for problems. But that doesn't mean that going over 3 hrs in general is going to result in injury - look in any ultra forum. The real problem is they haven't adapted to the training or had enough training. JMHO.

        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


        HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

          Just want to say that I appreciate this thread.

          On the tangent:

          No, most top trail ultra runners come from trail running, xc skiing, xc running, climbing background.

           

          Where did Ann Trason come from?

          It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

            Just want to say that I appreciate this thread.

            On the tangent:

             

            Where did Ann Trason come from?

            Good point. I should have clarified that comment as to current big names that I was thinking about.

             

            But a little bit of searching suggests she started on track in hs, but didn't run in college. She liked xc, but they had her run track. But she has excelled at ultrarunning across a wide range of distances and venues. Kinda surprising considering her injuries from an early age.

             

            I should have included ski mountaineering in the above list also, although Kilian Jornet seems to be holding up well in spite of all the racing he's doing.

             

            PS: Mike Wardian does well in the shorter ultras (100k and shorter) across a number of venues including roads, and Max King comes from road, track, and xc and includes steeplechase, iirc, but is relatively new to ultras. But I think they're both healthy right now.

            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


            Feeling the growl again

               

               

              PS: Mike Wardian does well in the shorter ultras (100k and shorter) across a number of venues including roads, 

               

              Wardian has a freakish resiliency, I have run against him several times.  In 2006 he was at Steamtown, those steep paved hills destroyed my legs and quite a number of others in the lead group.  Wardian ran a great race.  The very next weekend I lined up in Detroit to run the opening leg of a relay in the marathon, my legs still quite battered.  There was Wardian there, and he ran another good time.  It has not surprised me that he has done well in ultras.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

               


              And in the end...

                 

                3. Fellrnr also posted this topic on RW. At last check a total of 6 members responded, and none to the degree we have seen here. I’m glad I found RA and have moved my lurking here. emo-thumbup

                 

                Some of my replies on RWOL were removed... Big grin

                ------------------------

                The GITM is moot.

                fellrnr


                  Have you come across a study done in Germany back in late 1970s, early 1980s in regards to capillarization?  Did you find Dr. David Costill's study on the effect of long runs on the muscles?  Did you ever see a graph Dr. Peter Snell, also 3-time Olympic champion in middle distance events, always show about the effect of long run of up to 2-hours (the study was actually done by Dr. Saltine et al)?  The "scientific" site, seems to me, was put together by a guy who just skimmed through internet, found whatever he could find (but not necessarily doing the actual research) and put together with the conclusion already in mind.  Another MAJOR mistake of this is that he only seems to look into "20-miler".  I would certainly opt more to look into a long run of, say, 2-hours.  If he didn't take into consideration the fact that majority of today's runners would take over 3-hours to run "20-miler".  Muscle damage stuff was interesting but, again, he failed to show any coloration between muscle damage and long run.  The only thing I saw, and I surely hope that was NOT his intention, that you need 14-days recovery from a long run (which, again, he failed to show that's what happens if you did a long run...of what extent).  Anecdotal stuff is also VERY weak.  It really seems to me, he just skimmed through some internet search and slapped together this very hastily.  Hate to say but if you really wanted to know the "secret" of long runs, this is not even worth reading.  It's a bunch of statistics of out-dated information at best.

                   

                  I've been unable to locate the studies you mention. Can you provide some references? I'm interested in any research you can suggest that my have a bearing on the Long Run.

                   

                  Note: I've tweaked the page a little, and I'll continue to update it as I find new information. I am working on a more significant update to my recommendations, which I may move to a separate page.


                  HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                     

                    Wardian has a freakish resiliency, I have run against him several times.  In 2006 he was at Steamtown, those steep paved hills destroyed my legs and quite a number of others in the lead group.  Wardian ran a great race.  The very next weekend I lined up in Detroit to run the opening leg of a relay in the marathon, my legs still quite battered.  There was Wardian there, and he ran another good time.  It has not surprised me that he has done well in ultras.

                     

                    His (Wardian's) Houston double last year -- 2:21/2:31 on Sat/Sun - was pretty inspiring, I thought.

                    It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                      ...Look at how many ultrarunners do long runs of 4-8 hrs with no major issues...

                       

                      ...The people that are requiring multiple days of recovery may not be adequately trained to handle long runs of that duration. They should spend more time building up. The problem, IMHO, is the preparation level, not the duration of the long run...

                      AK, as always, enjoy your wisdom.  

                       

                      To me here's an interesting "wisdom": Now, first of all, I'm not TOTALLY against going for a super long run(s).  Naturally, Seko of Japan did a 50-mile run; Soh brothers did 125km run around Mt. Egmont in NZ.  They did alright.  Obviously (some) ultra guys go over great distances with little problem. We CAN train our body to do that.  But I honestly believe there is some weird phenomena is going and and I would LOVE to see some research done on this, just to look into the matter.  Why do we always tell newbies to slow down and go further?  Slowing down would allow you to go further and by going further we get stronger, right?  Many of us here I'm sure have had an experience once you get those long runs in, you'll get stronger.  What it means is that we get more oxygen carrying capacity and our body is more readily utilize oxygen in our working muscles; hence we can run further at faster speed and don't get into oxygen debt.  Whenever I try to come back from injury or sickness or some break; that when I get up to an hour, I feel good; when I get up to 1:30, I feel better still; and by the time I get up to 2:00, I'd be flying.  So naturally, that's sort of my own personal goals at each stage.  And this is something I always scratch my head with...when you look at the scene in general today; those who try to run 3 or 4 or more 20-milers to get ready for a marathon; they don't seem to get that "rush".  When Lydiard found out that, after training for and running a marathon, that he became so strong that he could run ALL track distances faster.  Why did Seko or Soh brothers did those super ultra runs?  Seko said after that 50-mile run, marathon is nothing and he felt he could sprint 42km.  I have a feeling those who slog those 20-milers today, most of them stay where they are!!  They may run, or they may run-walk, 12-minute-mile pace or whatever...and they will become very efficient at running or run-walking 12-minute mile pace and some may actually feel very happy about doing just that but, for whatever the reason, they don't seem to get the physiological benefits that we thought we knew that we get from all those long runs.  This is a very intriguing phenomena to me.  To break 4-hour for a marathon, you need about 9:10 pace.  The fact that so many people today are running a marathon and the fact the average time is about 4:40 (10:40 pace) tells me that all those "super" long runs (for them time-wise) are not making them faster.  

                       

                      Naturally, if "going further would simply make you faster", then all the world's best marathon runners would be doing ultras and those ultra guys should be dominating marathons.  Naturally there are "other" aspects that would make you run the distance better.  Just to clarify; I'm using a term "better" not so much that a faster runner is better but you within your own ability, becoming faster means you're running that given distance "better" than before (people are so sensitive nowadays...).  So why is that?  If WE figure that out, we'll all be quite happy and could potentially make lots of runners very happy, won't we?

                       

                      It seems that we all have theories and--this is where some research would be beneficial--have a certain "cap"; I'd say 3-hour is a cap; Daniels seem to think 2:30 is...Galloway, on the other hand, believe that, in his own word, "the longest run (distance) you run 4 (I think) weeks before the marathon is where you'll hit the wall..."  And this is why he recommends, if I remember it correctly, 28-miler, instead of 26, before the marathon.  When we were putting together RW, I talked to him, I talked to Bill Squires who coaches charity group (I think) for John Hanncock, I might have even asked Hal Higdon too...  And several Japanese coaches.  Interestingly, this "20-miler" deal is quite unique to Americans.  Some marathon training plans I found in Japan don't even have anything longer than an 18-miler (once!) as the longest run--and this one was for "Cracking 3-hour barrier"!  Koide, who coached Naoko Takahashi, published a book for beginners titled: "Just running day in and day out won't necessarily guarantee a decent marathon performance" (I know, it's a long name--even longer than Coach Squires' "Money-Back-Guarantee Training Guide...(whatnot)"!).  

                       

                      In short, going the distance is fine so long as your target is just that--going the distance.  But if you want to run "well", then other ingredients would have to be taken into consideration.  Right now, majority of runners jump to run a marathon and ALL they are concerned with is to cover 3/4 of the marathon distance so they feel "comfortable" with the distance...  I guess I never quite finished what I was going to talk about in response to George (about IRS this and that...) but basically the point is; if you're not ready, you're not ready.  THAT is inevitable.  Recent trend of this run-walk is something that allows you to go the distance even if you're not ready for it but, to me, if you have to do that, that's a pretty good sign that you ARE NOT ready for it.  It's easy for anybody to say; "If you want to run 26-miles, do this."  But that's quite a bit different from; "If you want the most suitable training that's actually beneficial..."  And, hate to say, if you ain't ready, you ain't ready and you've got to bite the bullet and work for it so you can safely handle it.  Now WHAT determines that would be a very interesting topic of research.  I think experienced coaches have some idea--though they don't seem to be the same across the board.

                       

                      I think when you talk about 4~8 hour run is fine only curtails to people who are adequately prepared.  I do maintain that it is most probably problematic for people who barely goes 12-miles in 2 hours.  There are a lot more issues concerning training benefits vs. problems.  Going slow is fine to gain more distance but, as you go slower, and of course not for everybody but quite a few of them, the shock of landing will be greater because the speed at which you move your Center of Gravity over your landing spot is slower; hence the landing shock would multiply.  IF you have smooth running style, even at the same speed and you go the same duration, the muscle trauma would be less impactful.  Naturally, some will do fine, and improve, going very long, it seems as Not-Too-Swift had demonstrated.  Is it something we can recommend to majority?  

                        I've been unable to locate the studies you mention. Can you provide some references? I'm interested in any research you can suggest that my have a bearing on the Long Run.

                         

                        Note: I've tweaked the page a little, and I'll continue to update it as I find new information. I am working on a more significant update to my recommendations, which I may move to a separate page.

                        Hey, sorry for the harsh "introduction"! ;o)  

                         

                        And also sorry, I do not have URL for the ones I've mentioned.  I've read them in books.  With Peter Snell's presentation, I have his presentation with several references made on long runs, including a few charts and graphs.  The problem, and something I do have some issue with, is; when you refer only those that are available on-line, I would very much question the validity of the whole "thesis".  As is evident with some of recent "running is harmful" articles, even from Wall Street Journal or NY Times, I take a lot of what we read on-line are garbage. I wouldn't even take everything that's been "researched" unless I understand how they tested.  So you'd REALLY have to be careful with what you read on-line.  When you take up the responsibility of posting a broad title like "Science of Long Run", I feel you'd take up responsibility of doing thorough research on you part.  I don't think skimming through internet is not enough.  It is admirable what you're doing--trying to collect all the information out there for all to see.  One of the most thorough work of this kind, be it research on various training effects or various athletes' training, had been done by Dick Brown and Jeff Johnson.  Jeff had binderful of information of various athlete in quite detail.  Dick had all the different comments by runners/coaches on various topics all put together based on topics.  It was quite mind-bogglingly impressive!  Good thorough research cannot be done on-line alone; you need some leg-work.

                         

                        I'm not telling you what to do or how to do it or what not to do.  People do what they want anyway; it's a free country, right?  Often people throw a bunch of BS at anybody without identifying who you are on-line (you know what I'm talking about).  I'm just giving you my opinion.  

                          Perhaps in the spirit of full disclosure it might be appropriate for those of us discussing the "long run" to state just how many long runs we've done in the past 52 weeks.  That might add a bit of validity to our comments.  I, for instance, have had 8 @ 16 to 18, 5 @ 18 to 20, and 5 over 20 (including 2 marathons).  I'm sure that many training for marathons put these numbers to shame.  But if all you have is, say for instance, one run of 10 miles, then I'm not sure what you can really add to this discussion, or why you would even want to be involved.

                          This is an interesting proposal but I'm not sure if it can be valid enough...  You see, I feel just putting down the numbers and try to get some "formula" is not going to work.  For example, without knowing your own status, how can we determine your having done lots of around and beyond 20-miler was actually effective?  Just because you did it doesn't even show a half of a picture.  In fact, my problem is the fact that way too many actually doing too many long runs (when they are not adequately prepared).  If someone says; "I ran five 20-milers and ran a marathon successfully in 5:20..." I'm not sure if I call it "successful".  If someone comes in and says; "I did classic 3 X 20-miler and did 3:40.  Now I cut it back to 1 X 18, then I ran 3:30..."  Not that shows something.  Likewise, if someone comes out and says; "I was running 10-12 mile being my longest run and ran a marathon in 4:20.  But now I added a long run beyond 16-miles and I ran 3:50," that shows something.  So what's the magic number here?  Is it 20-miles or is it 2:30 or 3:00?  I don't know and I don't think there had been any research done to say one way or the other; only empirical "theory".

                           

                          I'll give you an example from way back (my last 52-weeks won't tell you much at all! ;o)); when I ran my first marathon, I was on my Marathon Conditioning Phase of training for a 10-mile road race.  I ran 3+ hours a week before; ran 2:30 on Tuesday; 2:45 on Thursday, all over a very hilly terrain...and Sunday I ran my first marathon at Rotorua, NZ.  Anybody from NZ should know that Rotorua ain't an easy course.  It's VERY hilly.  I broke 3-hours...barely, but I did.  So is this a good model for breaking 3-hours?  Not at all!!  At that time, I was well-trained enough that running 20-miles at sub-7 pace every weekend was no problem.  And what about someone like Grete?  So she ran, according to the source, 12-miles as a long run.  Would she not be qualified to add to this discussion?  I think one of the biggest problems is that, in reality, it's always a combination of lots of things.  It's not one long run or 16-miler or 20-miler; but it's got background, speed of those runs, running style (or maybe running economy) or how much you run in total per week or per month...  In research, you'd HAVE TO pick one element and isolate that and you only look at that one element.  You'll get some idea of that ONE thing would or wouldn't do but it really wouldn't show the big picture at all.

                            I've been unable to locate the studies you mention. Can you provide some references? I'm interested in any research you can suggest that my have a bearing on the Long Run.

                             

                            Note: I've tweaked the page a little, and I'll continue to update it as I find new information. I am working on a more significant update to my recommendations, which I may move to a separate page.

                            A little more detail; the one on capillary development was done at University of Cologn, West (at the time) Germany by Dr. Ulenbrook...or something like that.  It's on the effects on CONTINUOUS running of 2-hours or more on capillary development.  If I get to the more detail information on that, I'll let you know.

                            Sharz96


                              I just want to thank everyone who contributed to this thread.  As a new-ish runner (14 months, 21 mpw, 10M long run) trying to figure out the best way to get to a late Sept HM, this discussion has been very helpful for thinking through various strategies.  Particularly helpful was the part comparing a slow runner’s FM experience to a more average runner’s ultra.  I’m a very slow runner at this point, so my HM is probably going to be in many ways comparable to an average runner's FM.  That's enlightening.  And it also reinforces my decision that HM will be my longest race for at least the next few years, unless and until I'm no longer even a slow runner. 


                              And in the end...

                                I'll give you an example from way back (my last 52-weeks won't tell you much at all! ;o)); when I ran my first marathon, I was on my Marathon Conditioning Phase of training for a 10-mile road race.  I ran 3+ hours a week before; ran 2:30 on Tuesday; 2:45 on Thursday, all over a very hilly terrain...and Sunday I ran my first marathon at Rotorua, NZ.  Anybody from NZ should know that Rotorua ain't an easy course.  It's VERY hilly.  I broke 3-hours...barely, but I did.  So is this a good model for breaking 3-hours?  Not at all!!  At that time, I was well-trained enough that running 20-miles at sub-7 pace every weekend was no problem.  And what about someone like Grete?  So she ran, according to the source, 12-miles as a long run.  Would she not be qualified to add to this discussion?  I think one of the biggest problems is that, in reality, it's always a combination of lots of things.  It's not one long run or 16-miler or 20-miler; but it's got background, speed of those runs, running style (or maybe running economy) or how much you run in total per week or per month...  In research, you'd HAVE TO pick one element and isolate that and you only look at that one element.  You'll get some idea of that ONE thing would or wouldn't do but it really wouldn't show the big picture at all.

                                 

                                That's it exactly.  As a comparison, I ran my first marathon using a basic training program with the standard 20 mile run 3 weeks before race day and finished in 4:23.  Over the course of the next several years I worked through different types of training and wound up in the < 3:20 range... a pretty high percentage of my miles were 'hard' (yes, I thought that running hard all the time was good training).  Got stuck there for a while, then started to just RUN MORE and as my base volume went higher my times dropped.  Now I was running < 3:10s on consecutive weekends.  Marathons were no longer 'hard' events... but I couldn't seem to break 3 hours.  Finally, I ramped up the miles and spent 10 consecutive weeks between 80 and 137 mpw, without a single mile at sub7 pace, and only 1 run of 20+ miles.  However, I was averaging from 12 to almost 20 miles per day and running 10-15 miles regularly in the 7:10-7:30 pace range and doubling a lot, but MOST of my miles were in 9min range.  I ran 97 miles (all singles) the week before race week... then cut back to 5 miles/day on race week... and ran 2:59:35 chip time (2:59:59 clock) with near even 5k splits from start to finish.  I believe it was a 24 second positive half split.  Not bad for a 44 year old ex-smoker...

                                 

                                Now, the continuous running volume added something to my training that I wasn't getting at 60mpw with speedwork and 'cutback' weeks.  However, all the years of training that came before is also part of the equation.  The lack of 20+ mile runs did not seem to be an isssue, but why would it be?  Seems to me there are 2 basic stimulous models that apply... one can run HARD or LONG to breakdown the body and force super-compensation, or one can ramp up the overall fatigue in a more linear fashion over a longer period of time.  The body still adapts.  My peak week that cycle was 137 miles without a single run over 15 miles.  Would I have been better off with more 20+ mile runs?  I don't think so.

                                 

                                So, yeah... it's always a combination of a lot of things.

                                ------------------------

                                The GITM is moot.