weekly long runs or not (Read 266 times)


    Hi everyone


    I’m 47 and running mainly for health but also entering some 5 and 10 K runs (and eventually a half marathon) and would like to improve my times. My current schedule is two short runs on Wednesday and Friday and a long run on Sunday, the short runs are a little over 5 miles and the long is in the 10 mile range. I can’t run every day (at least not the distances I’ve been running) or my knees get sore. My question is if I’d be better off running the 5 miles every other day and only running the long run every other week. Over a month the distances would be about the same and there would only be one additional run with the every other day routine so they seem pretty even in those aspects. I’ve just started doing an interval run once a week so I’ll do that for either routine.


    I’m not sure there would be much of a difference either way for general health or from a time improvement point of view. I do know that I, oddly enough, enjoy the long run, and if I only do it every other week I’m more sore the next couple of days afterwards, but not so much if I’m doing it each week.


    I’m sure there’s no definitive answer, but I’d appreciate anyone’s feedback or advice. If you need any more info let me know.

    Feeling the growl again

      If your goal is 5K/10K....which I believe is wise given the sore knee issues you have been having...I would focus more on the days per week you are running rather than the length of your long run.  If only doing the 10-miler every other week lets you run at least 3 miles 4-5 days per week, you will likely be pleased with the results.


      In my younger years I made plenty of gains in the 5K by running more, without ever running more than 7 miles in my longest run.  Not ideal, but it goes to show that you can do it.

      "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


      I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills



        If you were only doing 5/10Ks, then you could definitely ditch the long run. However, if you plan on competing at the half-marathon distance, you will have to build in some long runs to build your endurance for that distance.

          What they said, but also try to figure out what's going on with your knees.  Running shouldn't make them hurt.  Your shoes could be the culprit.

          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.


            What they said, but also try to figure out what's going on with your knees.  Running shouldn't make them hurt.  Your shoes could be the culprit.


            THIS +1


            Another injury cause could be weakness in muscles in your legs. Some basic strengthening exercises like lunges (without weights) or strengthening your hamstrings could help. And stretching of course . . . . but yeah, the wrong shoes could be a serious problem.

              Whenever the long run is over 40% of my weekly mileage, to me it becomes a chore.  I think running every other day M (2-4 miles, real easy) W - 5-6 (maybe with a few strides or a fast finish), F - 5-6 Plus a 8-9 mile run Sunday might work better than a long run that is twice as long as your other runs.  I try to avoid 2 days off in a row like you might be doing right now with W-F-S schedule.

              Will run for scenery.

                Another vote here to look into the cause of the knee pain.  I had recurring knee pain and this winter I pretty much decided I couldn't run any more without risky and $$$ surgery.  Very depressing.  Turns out the solution for me was just a little bit of strength training.


                The medial quadriceps (a tiny bit above and inside  from the kneecap) is crucial to keeping the kneecap in the right position while running.  Running does not strengthen this muscle very effectively, so runners often get a dangerous imbalance.


                Unless you already know that your knee issue is something else, I'd encourage you to try what I did :  Leg Extensions.  Keep the weight light, lift slow and steady, and really focus on the top part of the motion.  Honestly, I did this for just a few weeks before I resumed running this spring, and I've had zero knee soreness.


                BTW, I'm 49 and ever since high school I've thought of myself as someone with "bad knees".  Saturday I ran down Pike's Peak (7500 ft drop in 13 miles) and had zero knee pain.  So forgive me if I sound preachy or overbearing.  But just think what your running could be like if you got rid of your knee pain completely.  It just might be possible.

                Stupid feet!

                Stupid elbow!


                  Thanks for the replies everyone. I was just looking at a training plan from Smart Coach and think I may try that. It has the bulk of the runs at a slower pace than I've been going and also some really short runs. I'm not sure of the benefit of just a 2 or 3 mile run (I've always heard of some magic 30 minute threshold) but I'm willing to give it a shot and see how it goes for a 10K I'll be in in August.


                  As far as my knees, I'm not sure I'd call it pain, it's been so long so I've experienced it it may have just been me pushing myself too much on shoes that were too old. Now that I've gotten a lot more miles in and some shoes that don't have a gazillion miles on them I'll try this routine and see how it goes. If the more frequent runs - this is 4 a week - bring back some discomfort I'll pursue it with my Dr.


                  Eventually, later this fall, or early next spring I want to do a half marathon so I'll keep the long runs going. The smart coach plan has them in there up to a 12 miler which sounds good.


                  Anyone else ever use the smart coach plans?

                    Another thing to keep in mind is that there's nothing magic about the week as a relevant period for determining how to train. Of course training plans tend to be expressed in weeks because that makes them easy to manage for most people. But there's nothing wrong with deciding, for example, that you'll try doing long long run every 10 days. There are quite a few elite runners who train based around 8 or 10 day schedules. Of course they don't have a day job to consider...