Short runs - too short? (Read 942 times)

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    Some days I either dont have time to do a scheduled long run but I do have time for a short run. I am training for a half marathon 3 weeks from now. Basically, do runs shorter than recommended training distances make much of a difference. Is it better to do the short run, say 2K instead of a scheduled 6k or 8k as opposed to nothing at all?

      A scheduled 6k that you don't run is just a a piece of (digital) paper... So, yes! 2k that you actually run is much better! In general: going for short runs more often has a better effect than going for a long run less often... Or so they tell me Smile bas

      52° 21' North, 4° 52' East

        Of course any running is better than no running but you need to build up some distance runs in order to complete a half or full marathon, Your body needs to experience running for over an hour b4 you will be successful at a long race. You should be able to do approx. 80% of the half marathon distance you intend to run. You could do more 2k runs but you should do one long run each week adding 10% per week until you get near the 80 %. You would have to be an elite runner to do the distance pain free for the first time without at least some distance training.I looked at your log and you appear to be training perfectly. You can replace some of your 6 or 8k's with faster 2k runs but don't eliminate longer runs entirely. Dave
        WHO FARTLEK"D ?

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          I am doing the long runs. I have been increasing about 10% a week. I am up to 17k long run one day and the other days I do 8, then a fartlek r hills run, then another 8 and a 6 for a total of 5 runs a week. A few times I have only had time for 2 or 3k so I was wondering if they were a 'step backwards'.
            Sounds good to me, maybe increase your speed a little bit on the shorter runs you plan to introduce to your training. that would make your 1/2 marathon training even better by introducing speedwork. It depends on whether you want to complete the half or do it in a specific time. Good luck, Dave
            WHO FARTLEK"D ?
              I believe strongly that "short runs" - less than 5k - have little or no value at all in training for endurance events. The body takes time to adjust to the rhythm of running and training effect only really begins from 20 minutes onwards. There are some benefits in short runs as recovery sessions and short reps in speed work, but I have never read any serious coaching advice that doesn't preface short sharp speed sessions with a "few miles of easy running" afterwards Certainly if you run a 2k you can log the miles in your training diary and arguably the diary can look more full with these junk miles in there. But you will be kidding yourself. It's better to rest entirely and try instead to get at least 3 full training sessions a week. I really don't agree with the advice that "any run is better than no run", and I've never read a serious coach who says this. In any case if your intended half is 3 weeks from now, only race pace rehearsal sharpening type runs are going to help your race time. Less runs rather than more small ones would be my advice as you aready should have done your endurance work. Good luck in your half - where is it? charlie in the UK

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                Hey Charlie, Sound advice, thanks. I am running in Toronto, Canada. It's 3 weeks away today and I am enjoying the training. On my long runs I feel good enough to keep going and going with no soreness or tiredness the next day, so at least I am confident I'll finish the half without a doubt...as for my goal of under 2 hours it's going to be close. cheers Dave

                gimme some sugar, baby

                  I've gotta agree with Charlie here. To receive any aerobic benefit from a run, most experts say you need to be doing something for at least 20 minutes consecutively. Many other experts argue you need more than that. I'd say if your run is less than 20 minutes, I wouldn't do it at all, unless you're doing some extra aerobic activity before/after that running.
                  George: Runner/Law Student

                    It's better to rest entirely and try instead to get at least 3 full training sessions a week.
                    First, I think short runs can be nice to aid recovery, work out the legs, etc... but I think this (above) is really the main point. I've been training using a book called Advanced Marathoning (Pfitzinger/Douglas). One of the smartest things I've read in there is the idea that if you do extra miles (easy short runs) when you should be resting then you are constantly fatigued and when you go our for your hard workouts (long or speed), you do them with reallly poor quality and don't reap the maximum benefits (basically, you're running with moderate intensity all the time and not improving). However, if you use those down days as true rest days, you will train better on the days that you do run and show more improvement. It's sort of obvious, but I had to read it to realize it! Tongue I'm very sympathetic to the limits in the time you have for running... and even short runs take the same amount of time to prepare for (and stretching afterward). If you're like me, running time comes at the expense of sleep time. I wonder, if you didn't do the 2K runs as frequently, would you be more able to go out for an 8K sometime mid-week? That way, you're gettting good sleep in between and also getting a good run on training day. These are all practicaly considerations, of course. I don't think the question is what type of training is ideal.. I think the question for you (and a lot of us) is, how close to ideal training can you get within the limits of your schedule? Good luck... let us know how it goes as you approach your HM! Big grin
                      Wait ... let me do the math. 2 k? What is that? Frickin' metric system. Let's see, if 10 k is 6.2 miles, subtract 80%, carry the one, add the square root of pi .... oh. You're talking somewhere less than a mile and a half, right? That's pretty short. I have to agree with what everyone else wrote above. That 20-minutes for aerobic benefit seems pretty solid. Personally, I think it's more like 45 minutes. Unless I'm intentionally running a 5k just to time it, I wouldn't ever run much less than 45 minutes ... particularly if you're training for half marathon distance or better. Frankly, runs that short carry lots of risks. You can't possibly be warming up and cooling down, because the whole run is shorter than most warm-ups. And since it's short, I'll bet you're running too fast, too, and without a warm-up. So not only will the runs probably not benefit you in the least, they're also putting you at risk for injury, this close to your race. FORGET total mileage. And forget running every single day. You're looking for quality, well-planned runs that actually make you better and faster. There are several experts who promote 3-day a week programs for half-marathon training. Like an easy-pace maintenance run on Tuesday, speed-work/intervals on Thursday, and then a long run (as in 13-18 miles) on the weekend. You're way, way better off doing something like that.
                      E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com


                        I'd like to chime in here too: I believe people react to longer or shorter training individually. I know if I go for a bike ride, anything less than 60 minutes is not worth bothering with. For running anything less than 15-20 minutes is a waste of time for me also and I am not fit at all, just a beginner runner. However other people, based on their fitness, may benefit from short workouts, especially if it is to just keep the legs limbered-up and keep the motivation going. To generalize, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. YMMV Kyle
                          There is one benefit to running 10-15 minutes. If you are racing later in the day, a short easy 10-15 minute jog can help open up the capillaries and temporarily increase blood volume for a few hours. So if you are running a race at 10 a.m. and you go out at 7 for an easy 1.5 mile jog, there is some benefit. But for training purposes, I don't feel like anything under 30 minutes is worth dirtying a pair of shorts.

                          Runners run.

                            Actually, there is one unmentioned benefit to your short runs. I don't think they do anything to help you physically, but they may do a helluva lot *mentally*. Just getting sweaty, getting the endorphins going, and keeping up the *habit* of a regular running schedule may make them worth your time. (Assuming they aren't raising your risk of injury. If you're sprinting out the door with no warm up and doing a mile and then no cool down, that risk of injury probably outweighs even the mental and emotional benefits).
                            E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com

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                              I think after ingesting all of these thoughts, a good day if rest is better thank 15 mins of running. It's actually very rare that I don't have time. I was just curious as to what the benefits or lack thereof were. Thanks to all for your input.