1

# Time vs. distance (Read 1111 times)

Melissa6101

I know that the amount of time you spend running and the total distance each play a unique role in training--but I'm fuzzy on what exactly that difference is. For example, if hypothetical runner A runs 40 mpw averaging 10:00 pace and runner B does 50 mpw averaging 8:00 pace, are they getting the same benefit because they both spent 400 minutes running? Or will runner B get more benefit because of the higher mileage? (Assume that they're both doing the same amount of quality/easy running, but runner B is just plain faster, has a faster "easy" pace, etc.)

higher mileage

I know that the amount of time you spend running and the total distance each play a unique role in training--but I'm fuzzy on what exactly that difference is. For example, if hypothetical runner A runs 40 mpw averaging 10:00 pace and runner B does 50 mpw averaging 8:00 pace, are they getting the same benefit because they both spent 400 minutes running? Or will runner B get more benefit because of the higher mileage? (Assume that they're both doing the same amount of quality/easy running, but runner B is just plain faster, has a faster "easy" pace, etc.)

Higher mileage probably only matters if your goal is to have a very impressive looking log.

Without getting too much into physiology, because there are some people out there, even on this board, who knows so much about terms and all and they get a little too knit-picking to my liking and I don't want to be bothered by those "desk-top" coaches.

There are certain developments that the duration, not speed, contributes.  So, say, if a faster runner runs 15 miles in 1:45 and a slower runner can only get to 8 miles in 1:45, as far as those development is concerned, they'll both get the same benefits so long as they both run 1:45.  I'm sure some argue that, what if you intentionally run slower and extend the workout.  Well, the thing is; it should be the same % effort.  In other words, if a 5-minute miler can train at 7-minute mile pace with 70% VO2Max, then 70% of VO2Max effort for a 7-minute miler might be 10-minute per mile pace.  So for them, if you are a high school coach and putting together a long run for these 2 runners mentioned above, it would pay to get them out for, say, 45 minutes out and after 45 minutes, they'll both turn around and come back.  So they both run at their own comfortable pace/effort and they will both come in after 1:30, now they both gain the same physiological benefits.

Bottom line; weekly mileage really don't matter much.  Some get the most effective training effect on 40MPW, others may get the most effective effect on 60.  So long as they both get the same most efficient and effective benefit, who cares what the log says?  Unless, of course, as I said earlier, getting the impressive looking log is your target and who cares about the performance...

Tiefsa

The same amount of time with more distance covered will always be better.

Once you get into a serious training program though, these roles get a bit harder to follow.  For instance, let's say you do an interval workout, but you jog real slow on your 2 mile warm up and your 2 mile cool down.  The workout might average a pedestrian overall pace even though the intervals were fast.

I agree with Nobby.

Because the body really only knows duration, intensity and the impact of the footfalls, and not distance, it brings up the thought that an elite running a marathon at optimal effort is actually running a completely different race than a (e.g.) a 4 hour age-grouper marathoner running at optimal effort. One is running a 2:10 race, and the other  a 4 hour race. A race that is equivalent for all runners would be based on time (and age-graded), and the winner is the one with the most distance in that duration. But that would be a logistical nightmare for point to point races and would upset one huge applecart. Though there are running events based on duration (24-hour races, etc.) run on small loop courses or tracks. This is why I admire anyone running 4.5 hours in a marathon. Especially the 5+hour runners. That's seems real hard to do. The mental endurance alone deserves an award, IMHO.

Just a thought.

dallasboycows

as another user stated, it depends on whether a few variables such as effort put forth.  If one runner entered his anaerobic zone and the other stayed in his aerobic most the time then there could be variations but from everything I've read it's the time and not the speed you want on you longer runs(and I'm probably guilty of going to fast and losing some of the benefits of the long slower run)

• Strengthens the heart (increases stoke volume), and your body gets more efficienct at eliminating waste products
• increased number and size of mitochondria and increased myoglobin concentration in muscle fibers.
• Strengthens the leg muscles and ligaments, thus improving your endurance.
• Recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers to help with slow-twitch tasks (like running a marathon).
• Teaches the body to burn fat as fuel.

source: http://www.marathontraining.com/marathon/m_longr.html

I run all my long runs too fast.  or at least when I'm in shape i do.

JimR

Running for time lets you develop according to your abilities and your level of conditioning.

If a workout intended to be a moderately hard tempo run  is listed as something like 4 miles at 6:00 pace, and it's clearly targetted for a more advanced runner, if you run for same distance you would probably adjust the pace you can handle for 4 miles.  However, that would be a completely different workout than prescribed.  Instead, cover 24 minutes (6min*4miles) at the effort you would consider moderately hard.  The distance won't be the same, but the translated workout will be about right for you.