>Running 101>Help! I'm Stuck.
Not quite sure what the justification is for all the sarcasm. I made a general statement that 20 plus mile long runs are more beneficial than those under 20 miles.
The argument whether 19-miles is not long enough and it HAS to be beyond 20 (only a mile difference!?) is nothing but comical to me. I think this kind of rigid thinking would lead to more harm to beginning runners than more free-spirited "listen to your body" type of approach.
Do you have anything of a constructive nature to offer the OP, or are you are content just playing the critic?
If I remember it correctly, what you're explaining, transition from sugar fuel metabolism to fat burning metablism, occurs somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 into the exercise at a certain level of intensity (I'm tempted to say approximately 70% of VO2Max), not any set number of distance. In other words, slower runner might reach there at about 12 miles; faster runner might get there into 18 miles. In fact, if fat burning metablism is so important, which it is, if you do the run very slowly, you'll stay there most of the time.
The argument whether 19-miles is not long enough and it HAS to be beyond 20 (only a mile difference!?) is nothing but comical to me. I think this kind of rigid thinking would lead to more harm to beginning runners than more free-spirited "listen to your body" type of approach. This "3 X 20-miler" approach is a typical example; if you CAN do 3 X 20-milers and you're fit enough to do them, yeah, surely you should be able to run a marathon. But, c'mon, how many beginners you think take that as a gospel and try to work that goal, all of a sudden, running three 20-milers has become the goal itself and by the time they toe the starting line of the marathon, they're completely "stuffed".
Now, I went back and took a look at your log (so this is why they have the log available, huh...?); what concerns me actually is your inconsistency. You did the last "long" run of 19 miles in 3:01. A good solid run. But a month ago you did 21 miles in 3:41. So you ran the difference, 2 miles, in 40 minutes??? What happened? And you need to figure that out. Did you slow down a lot, did you start out too fast, did you pack up miles leading up to this 21-miles??? To argue Figbash again, there are some people who actually use up stamina as they do long runs. These are people who are probably better off doing some 1:30~2:00 runs and nothing longer.
in my opinion, far too many people are especially by trying to stick with this bogus "3 X 20-miler" idea.
This "3 X 20-miler" approach is a typical example; if you CAN do 3 X 20-milers and you're fit enough to do them, yeah, surely you should be able to run a marathon. But, c'mon, how many beginners you think take that as a gospel and try to work that goal, all of a sudden, running three 20-milers has become the goal itself and by the time they toe the starting line of the marathon, they're completely "stuffed". Some might even go as far to say "You need to go throught 26-miles to prepare for the marathon..." Well, I'm curious to see how many of those people actually do the 26-mile training run better than the actual marathon...???
"The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling." - Lucretius
I also have not experimented with any gels so I want to experience that during the "dress rehearsal" as well.
Darn I wish I read this 10 weeks ago. In the last 10 weeks I've went 21, 25, 26, 30km race, 26, hm race, 22.
My race is on the 28th, I AM SO SCREWED
You know, if you need a help listing a half a dozen or more runners actually performing well by training 20+ miles every weekend, I can help you with it easily. If you are totally happy with running 4+ hours every other week and then go out and run a 4:30 or 5-hour marathon and be totally content, all the power to you. I've been critisized by a 5:30 marathoner who insisted doing 4+ hour run every other week. I'll just go on helping others who would run sub-4 marathons by training smarter.
??, I don't get it, I admitted I was screwed???
E.J.Greater Lowell Road RunnersCry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.
Oh, sorry. I thought you were being sarcastic! ;o) My apology.
Just curious; so how come you actually did your 30k faster (pace wise) than the half?
Actually, with your base, if you do some hills (specific hill exercises, not just running over hilly courses) and do the taper well, you'll probably break 4-hours in no time. Just my opnion...
No. Put that thought out of your head, you're so NOT screwed. Pace yourself properly on the first half and you will rock your marathon Pat. Best of luck to you, looking forward to your report.
The Logic of Long Distance
Even though the phenomenon sometimes frustrates me, I totally get the obsession many--especially newer--runners have with the long run for marathon training. I really do. I mean for most of us, the marathon is the one distance we race where the race itself is longer than any (or at least almost any) training run we ever do. Just the distance itself is scary enough, let alone thinking about racing it. And when you do go out and botch a marathon and the final 25% of it becomes a brutal death march, it's really easy to say that the solution is more long runs--after all it wasn't until after 20 miles that the wheels came off, right?
The thing is no matter what distance you're racing if you totally mess it up, the disaster won't show itself until about he final 25% of the race. I can't tell you how many times I've run 5K's that went 5:20, 5:38, 6:19-doing-the-funky-chicken. But when we do that we don't automatically look at that last mile as the problem the way we do in the marathon. We don't say, "Oh, obviously I need to do more runs that are longer than 2 miles because at 2 miles is where the wheels came off." Because all of our runs are longer than 2 miles, hell they're longer than the race itself. So we look at other things and say, "Well I need to do more speedwork," or "I need to do more tempos," or, "I need to run more hills," or if we're really clever we might even say, "I need to run more," or, "I need to stop overestimating my fitness and going out way too fast!"
Long runs are very important for marathon training. In most training weeks, your longest run is your single most important run of the week. But it's not more important than all the other runs combined. And just because it's an important run doesn't mean it's a good idea to flog yourself for four hours. I like Nobby's recommendation to focus on time, more than distance. Although I log distance, I plan my training based on time. In marathon training, I try to do at least 2 single runs per week over 90 minutes, with one of them being over 2 hours. I never run longer than 3 hours and very rarely even approach 3 hours. But I do run every day and run relatively high mileage for a regular person
Okay but I'm faster than the average person and that means I can run 20 miles in well under 3 hours so I can't possibly relate to the challenges of slower runners!
Yeah, I've heard it before. But I've got plenty of experience working with slower runners, and my experience tells me the same thing Nobby's a thousand times more extensive experience tells him--that although it may be psychologically important for a newer marathoner to go over 20 miles at least once in training, it's probably not a good idea to go longer than 3 hours, regardless of distance, very often.
We call training "training" and not "practice" (well most of us anyway) for a reason. It's because although there is some element of it that is mental and psychological practice for the stress of racing, really what we're trying to do is train our bodies. We're actually trying to make physiological changes to our bodies to make them better able to run fast and long--we're increasing our abilities to process and use oxygen, building capillaries, increasing blood volume, increasing aerobic enzyme activity, strengthening our hearts, our lungs, our muscles, our connective tissues. We're building neuromuscular coordination and becoming more efficient, quicker, smoother, lighter on our feet. We're developing more powerful, more efficient strides, we're...training.
We are indeed also practicing--developing a raw toughness, an edge, a killer instinct, a detached ambivalence to our own suffering in favor of a laserbeam focus on The Task At Hand, an understanding of what we can and can't do, and a belief that we can do just a tiny bit more than what we've done so far. But all that mental practice doesn't mean a thing without the training, and really you couldn't have one without the other so the question is moot.
These changes both physical and psychological can only happen a little at a time. That is, no matter how big of a workout or a run you do, you can only make so much progress from one effort. At some point, you've gotten all the training stimulus there is to get from a single run or a workout and you're just bludgeoning yourself needlessly, prolonging your recovery and compromising the next few/several days of training. The exact point is probably a bit different for everyone and the intensity certainly matters but for your run of the mill long run, 3 hours is probably a good rule of thumb. So it's really the sum total of all the little efforts that do much, much more of the work than a few Big Efforts, but the Big Efforts can put the finishing touches on a training cycle. That's why weekly, monthly, yearly, lifetime mileage is always much, much more important than the long run, but the long run is still important.
Nothing magical happens at 20 miles. You don't suddenly switch to burning fat over carbs or any other such physiobabble. You're always burning both, and the mix depends on effort/pace, not distance. Run a lot of weekly miles at low intensities and you'll become damned efficient and using fat as a fuel source to spare your glycogen. "The Wall" is purely a function of outrunning your fitness level. If you run the first 15 miles too fast, you'll hit the wall no matter how many long runs you've done over 20 miles. And if you go out slow enough you'll never hit it even if your longest run ever was 10 miles.
I guess what gets me riled up and why I've felt the need to write this novel is when you've consistently got the most experienced, most accomplished runners and coaches on this board saying that 20 milers are not the be-all-end-all and still there is vehement argument from people who've never run a marathon or have run one or two off of low mileage and long runs talking about the NEED for 20+ milers, as if there's no other option (I'm not specifically talking about this thread here, BTW). You'd think experience would count here. Nobby is, literally, a world renowned coach. Obsessor has run 2:30. Tanya is 47 and ran sub 3:40 this year at Boston. Jeff won his first marathon and has run 2:38. I'm nobody's idea of elite but I've shown an ability to improve through training--I ran my first marathon in 3:40, took a full 30 minutes off between my first and my 2nd, and have taken another 15 minutes out of my marathon PR since then, with hopes of more time coming off soon.
When you consider the collective experience--the many tens of thousands of miles, the many hundreds of races, the many dozens of marathons--on the side of "Don't overdo the long runs," you'd think there might be something to it. Just sayin'.
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. ~ Roger Staubach
Runnin' to Beantown