Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Run long

The long run is the no brainer among marathoners. It's never a question of if but always of how.

Keep in mind that miles and kilometers are arbitrary numbers for your body. They do, however, dictate your brain which rules your body. Make sure the conscious part of your brain is not cluttered with arbitrary items.

Most training programs advise against long runs that are longer than 35k/22miles. They warn of overtraining and say that it's not necessary. If you do want to run your best, you may want to look beyond standard approaches and take some calculated risks.

I'm a big proponent of the over distance long run. Whenever I was in my best shape, I ran up to 50k in training. Granted, running beyond marathon distance was a rarity but I sure wish I would have done more of it. I often use a marathon as a catered training run. Depending on your fitness, this should take you 15 to 45 min. longer than goal race time. I've had the best results when pacing a friend to a certain time goal. It's important to keep your ego in check when doing marathons as training runs. They can easily ruin your key race if you go too hard.

The long run is a staple for my training year round. I try to get in 1:45h-2h once a week. I never run by distance, always by time. And unless I am in marathon specific training, I run easy which means 2:30-1:30min/mile slower than goal race pace.

With NYC Marathon this coming fall in mind, I aim to set up my training like this:

Winter/Spring: very traditional run training to regain a certain fitness level after long time off running
Summer: focus on short races (max. 10k) and short hard session. Mix in very long long runs. Cut out the medium long, tempo style runs.
Late Summer/Fall: focus on FMP

FMP? More on that later.