1

long runs, what's the difference btw these two? (Read 354 times)

    I've been lurking for a while, and have finally decided to ask a question that has been on mind lately. What is the difference between the following long runs?

     

    long run 1:  15 miles, >2500 ft elevation gain, with a couple >20%? grade sections (not sure about the grade, just really steep, which for me means: even in a short race I probably wouldn't try to run up them) resulting in 0.5-1 mile of fast uphill walking.

     

    long run 2:  20 miles, ~1500 ft elevation gain over lots of little hills.

     

    If both runs take the same amount of time to complete at the same effort level (easy), am I missing out on something by only doing type 1 long runs? How much do the miles covered really matter in terms of general conditioning and increasing my body's resistance to the pounding?

    Mt Cheaha 50k 2/23/2013:  7:34 :D

    Lake Martin 50; 27 miles: 5:29:07

    Run For Kids 50k, Birmingham, 5/4/2013: 6:26:33 Woot!

      I'd say it would depend on the topography of your races. Flat roads, rolling hills, or bigger hills?

       

      I think type #1 potentially gives you more training for pounding resistance, esp. on the downhills. I'm guessing the hill (singular?) allows you to get in a nice rhythm. My guess is you'd get more benefit from the hill than you lose by walking a little. I'd be careful on the downhills initially or build up to them on shorter hills on other runs. (The road hill I use for long runs early in the season is about 1200ft up in 3.6ish mi. I start with 1 lap, and add one lap every 2 wks. First lap is always run, others may be run or run/walked or walked. The hills in a couple of my races are about that size, except they're smooth trails.)

       

      Type #2 will be constant variation in up and down. If they're steep and short, they can grind you to a pulp until you learn how to run them. (our rolling hills are about 10-30% slopes, maybe 1/4mi; I did about 1000ft of up and 1000ft of down in 5mi the other day, but that was focusing on hills and skipping the relatively flat ridge top)

       

      If your race is relatively flat, you may want to be sure you've got an occasional flat run in there - to get used to using the same muscles the same way over and over and over.

       

      I'm a believer that time on legs is more important than miles. Actually, I think time on legs plus elevation change are the best parameters for conditioning, but my races are generally hilly trails. I also train on downhills - short this time of year, but longer as snow melts. And I do aim for some specificity of terrain, if possible.

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

        I mostly run on trails as well. And most of them are rolling hills, with the occasional steep section, but never flat. I also have a 10 mile loop that has a 3 mile climb and corresponding descent that is completely runnable and lots of fun. The flattest I can go is a 1.2 mile loop with a little under 100ft of gain per loop. That would be where I would run if I wanted to do a long run that covered more miles in a given time. But I find it boring after a while.

         

        I like challenging races, so in general, I figure I should be running lots of hills. I wish I had a way to measure my weekly elevation gain and loss. That would be interesting.

         

        Downhill being good for building pounding resistance is a point I hadn't really considered. I love it when I find a downhill section with just the right slope to really fly.

         

        So, basically, if I have no plans to do flatish races, I am probably not missing some important piece of the puzzle by pretty much always running hills?

        Mt Cheaha 50k 2/23/2013:  7:34 :D

        Lake Martin 50; 27 miles: 5:29:07

        Run For Kids 50k, Birmingham, 5/4/2013: 6:26:33 Woot!


        Dad of a real runner

          I like challenging races, so in general, I figure I should be running lots of hills. I wish I had a way to measure my weekly elevation gain and loss. That would be interesting.   From your log it is evident that you have some kind of gps watch.  Programs like garmin connect and SportsTracks give a calculation of total elevation gain and loss.  I suspect there is some report that would give you those statistics for a given period. 

           

          So, basically, if I have no plans to do flatish races, I am probably not missing some important piece of the puzzle by pretty much always running hills?  Right, train for what you intend to race.  I think I can safely say that training on flat would not prepare you for hills, but training on hills won't be a detriment to racing on flat.

            If you've got a gps, look at the bottom of map page under your workout on RA log and you should see the amount of elevation gained and lost. You can also get that data from other software.

             

            Some gps watches - usually with barometric altimeter - will give you that info real time.

             

            The quality of data can vary with the type watch, satellite reception / configuration, and topography. IOW, elevation data from watch w/out altimeter on terrain without a lot of abruptness may not be too far off. Where I am, some of our trails are on side of steep hill, so if the gps reading is off slightly, the elevation may also be off quite a bit. That's why I ended up getting gps with altimeter. Actually, my hrm had an altimeter also, but it fluctuates with storms since it's not anchored by location. It's not perfect, but it works for training purposes. (FR305 was notoriously bad at inflating elevation data.)

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


            Fat butt on couch

              If you plan on racing on hills, you need to train on hills.  Only training on flats will not prepare you.

               

              If you plan on racing on flats, you need to train on flat terrain with faster efforts.  Don't fall for the thought that hills are "tougher" and therefore lack of training on flats will not hurt you.  Training on hills will be slower training; you won't be accustomed to the speed and speed endurance needed to be competitive in flat races.

               

              Training specificity works both ways.

               

              This reminds me of my senior year in college, we knew that the conference race would be run on a hilly course.  So we trained for hills, as success at Conference was our main goal.  We did awesome at the conference race, earning our coach Coach of the Year for the conference.  But Regionals was on a flat course.....we got out tails handed to us by some of the same teams.

              "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

               


              Mmmmm...beer

                Men's Health had a blip about a study that was done comparing hill running to flat running.  It confirmed what spaniel said, flat runners had better endurance on the flats than hill runners.  But it also noted that if you plan on racing hills, you need to run hills.  Makes sense to me.  Of course, I have no choice where I live, there are no hills.

                -Dave

                 

                2014 Goals | sub-19 5k | sub-1:26 HM | BQ done!

                  Unfortunately my Forerunner 305 gps only lasts for about an hour these days. I'm thinking about getting a 310xt but can't afford it quite yet.  I'll take a look at sportstracks. Thanks still bluesky for the heads up. I could probably piece together an elevation profile for most of my runs from data I already have (if I can find the runs where I had the gps turned on!) and make an excel sheet to keep track of it all.

                   

                  AKTrail, what gps do you have with a barometric altimeter? You are right about the 305 inflating the elevation change, though with the elevation correction on this site, it seems reasonable.

                   

                  Spaniel, thanks for the example. I think I need to just HTFU and do some faster runs in flatter areas. Even if it is not as much fun. Now I just need to find somewhere to run. I suppose I could go to the local track and really work on my mental toughness, running around in circles forever.

                   

                  My speed sucks right now. All I have been working on is increasing my endurance with a few moderate effort runs and fartleks for variety. After my race at the end of February (50k I am running as an event, just to finish, since it will be a really tough course for me), I want to start working in some faster paced work. And I am getting the impression that trying that on hills where I can't maintain a consistent effort level (downhills feel like a break, even when I am running as fast as I can turn my feet over) wont be as productive.

                   

                  Thanks for the all the input.

                  Mt Cheaha 50k 2/23/2013:  7:34 :D

                  Lake Martin 50; 27 miles: 5:29:07

                  Run For Kids 50k, Birmingham, 5/4/2013: 6:26:33 Woot!

                    ...

                    AKTrail, what gps do you have with a barometric altimeter? You are right about the 305 inflating the elevation change, though with the elevation correction on this site, it seems reasonable.

                     ...

                    Right now I'm using the 910XT, but I used to use my handheld GPSmap 60csx or 62sc when I wanted decent data, like on long runs. I originally started with a Polar hrm that had barometric altimeter but it could drift with weather changes on long runs (multi-hour).

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

                      They are different because they are different.  And there are several different elements that you'll have to take into consideration; duration of time, yes, but that's only ONE thing.  Distance, hence speed; grade (hill)--both up AND down; the DURATION OF LOAD (continuous hill)...  The difference between continuous up hill vs. undulation, naturally, is like; say if you were to climb up 2km, it's 2km continuously vs. 5 X 400m uphill.  Most likely, assuming the grade is equivalent, 2k continuous uphill is harder because you are not getting any break.  However, the advantage of the latter, assuming you DON'T take any downhill portion for the former, is that you are getting downhill eccentric exercise.  Continuous up hill can be very effective training--many Kenyans seem to do it; but it is actually very important to make sure you do even a little bit of downhill section.

                       

                      It would be ideal to mix all sorts of possible scenarios.  Ideal training program would include both of these that you had mentioned; as well as fast flat running.  I would listen to what Spaniel and AKTrail had said.  Both very wise and, for a change (;o)), I'd agree everything they said here.

                       

                      I've been lurking for a while, and have finally decided to ask a question that has been on mind lately. What is the difference between the following long runs?

                       

                      long run 1:  15 miles, >2500 ft elevation gain, with a couple >20%? grade sections (not sure about the grade, just really steep, which for me means: even in a short race I probably wouldn't try to run up them) resulting in 0.5-1 mile of fast uphill walking.

                       

                      long run 2:  20 miles, ~1500 ft elevation gain over lots of little hills.

                       

                      If both runs take the same amount of time to complete at the same effort level (easy), am I missing out on something by only doing type 1 long runs? How much do the miles covered really matter in terms of general conditioning and increasing my body's resistance to the pounding?

                        ....My speed sucks right now. All I have been working on is increasing my endurance with a few moderate effort runs and fartleks for variety. After my race at the end of February (50k I am running as an event, just to finish, since it will be a really tough course for me), I want to start working in some faster paced work. And I am getting the impression that trying that on hills where I can't maintain a consistent effort level (downhills feel like a break, even when I am running as fast as I can turn my feet over) wont be as productive.

                        ....

                        Don't confuse leg speed with anaerobic work. I'll do leg speed work on some downhills (usually 5% or less - except for the time I misjudged how steep a hill was on snowshoes and was surprised just how fast I could move my legs rather than wipe out and roll down the hill ) (I should also add, this is how I fine tune what hills I use for what workouts - trial and error. I do not use that hill for downhills anymore. Wink ) If I had a 3% dirt hill, I'd use that since they're so much fun to fly down.

                         

                        Depending upon how strong your legs are and how steep the hill, you can do leg speed work on the downhills. But, as you pointed out, you may not be able to keep the effort up. Be sure to watch your form, keeping body perpendicular to slope. That said, I've seen some of our local hs xc runners fly down some small, steep hills where I've tiptoed between the ice patches. I wouldn't do downhill work this close to your race - too risky. I usually allow 3 wks after my last hard downhill run or one with lots of downhill, even if I don't try to hit it hard. (note: one of my downhills that I'll jog is 3000ft in 2.2 or 3 mi, depending on route. If I hit something hard with the intention of strengthening legs, it's usually less than 200ft vertical, maybe 5-10%.)

                         

                        Following up on Nobby's comment and your OP, I think you said you were running both of these easy. In that case, you probably won't get much downhill effect on your rolling hills, but you will on the big hill, as Nobby mentioned. However, you can fartlek them - maybe hard up / easy down outbound, easy up / hard down inbound - if you can.

                         

                        It's really hard to give hill advice without actually knowing the topography and what type of hill background the runner has, esp. for trail races.

                         

                        Here's one of the downhill articles I like.

                         

                        Have fun.

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

                          They are different because they are different.

                          Smile lol

                           

                          Nobby: That's a lot of variables to juggle. My takeaway from your post is variety, variety, variety.  I haven't been running consistently for very long so mostly I just need to keep running to improve. But sometimes I just start wondering if there is a more optimal thing I should be doing. Then I start reading, and get lost in the details. There are just so many different types of runs I could be doing now that I am branching out from running everything easy. By the way, I got a Running Wizard training plan, which has really helped me vary what I am doing, though I don't do a very good job of following it precisely. A lot has changed since I set it up.

                           

                          AKTrail: Easy is hard to determine on downhills. I probably don't really run the downhill parts of my easy runs truly easy. I tend to coast up the hills then speed up until I am just on the verge of no longer feeling relaxed going down. Misjudging the point can get interesting at times lol.

                          I've never really feel like my quads take a beating, even when running my 3 mile downhill (~1200 ft) as fast as I can manage, I am not sore later. But I was doing some weightlifting before I really got into running. I was up to 225lbs backsquat, 275lbs deadlift, and 150lbs front squat for reps. So I may have started with fairly bombproof quads. And after learning how to NOT charge up every hill I see, I really started enjoying hills. So, I went pretty directly from weightlifting to running lots of downhills.

                          I was wondering when the last time I should really hit the downhills should be before my race. 3 weeks would be now. But I am afraid that could leave me hurting come race day. The article you link to mentions 10 weeks of protection. So, I am reconsidering my original plan to hit my last downhill a week before the race.

                           

                          Thanks everyone for the input.

                          Mt Cheaha 50k 2/23/2013:  7:34 :D

                          Lake Martin 50; 27 miles: 5:29:07

                          Run For Kids 50k, Birmingham, 5/4/2013: 6:26:33 Woot!

                            ...

                            I was wondering when the last time I should really hit the downhills should be before my race. 3 weeks would be now. But I am afraid that could leave me hurting come race day. The article you link to mentions 10 weeks of protection. So, I am reconsidering my original plan to hit my last downhill a week before the race.

                            ...

                            Since you have some leg strength from lifting, you're probably ok on the downhills. Use your recovery from your own training to judge how much recovery you need. You may not need the recovery that a 60F needs.

                             

                            For *me*, the 3 wks comes partly a "do no harm" within the last 3 wks. *Most* (not all) things I can do to myself - like face plants - I can be completely healed from in 3 wks (no pain, partial healing earlier). I've also misjudged some downhill or other training side-effects in the past. I think the article refers to a 6-wk effect from downhill training until you lose it almost completely.The major downhills - like 3000ft in 2.2 mi (can be greasy slick on downhill) or hitting a medium downhill hard (say 800 ft in 1.5mi) - I like to do at 3 wks out or earlier, then use easier / shorter ones closer to race day - up to maybe 2 wks out. I once left my race in training by aiming for 2wks out, but didn't get the run in until 10 days out and probably did it a little hard (last chance before winter to get that hill run in). I learned. I got the training and taper just right the next year resulting in one of *my* best races. With experience, I've gotten better at judging how to peak for a race.

                             

                            And Running Wizard should really help you with diversity. Good luck.

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