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Lots o' Long Runs

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Post  wendy_miller on Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:34 am

So most of you know that my main problem is injury. The last cycle (which was weird, because I had this mysterious abdominal thing going on...which is still not totally resolved), which was in prep for my first marathon, I became accustomed to running only 4 days per week. I peaked at 60 miles/week, but never ran more than 4 days. That meant all my runs were "longish." For the first time ever...I was not injured by the end of a training cycle.

So I'm doing the same for my Chicago training. The thing is, I am consistently already running around 65-68 miles/week, and will peak around 76. So far, I'm managing the 65-68 on four runs a week, but that means that I'm running stuff like this:

Tues: 14
Thurs: 15
Sat: 15
Sun: 22

In other words, ALL my runs are long runs. None of those runs up there are doubles. Schedule-wise, with my kids, I find it very difficult to do doubles. So I just run one big run at 5:30 a.m. I continue to be uninjured (knock wood), but as my miles creep over 70 I am wondering about how to keep it at four days. It means that my mid-week runs will be near 16, and I'll usually have one of those right before a 20+, too. Again, I'm able to do this and not get hurt...but I'm wondering what some of you more seasoned higher-mileage folks think.

I was able to pull off a 3:18 doing this for my first marathon, but I want a sub-3:10 in Chicago. Is it possible that that many long runs could totally kill any speed that I have?
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Post  Kenny B. on Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:50 am

Not sure I would be considered a seasoned high mileage guy but I feel you are giving yourself pretty good recovery by taking off Mon Wed and Friday. I think the higher mileage will pay off well for you but I am a fan of speed work.

Since you are running sat sun back to back long runs I would not do any speed work on the Saturday. I would try to incorporate fast finish runs LSD progressions on Tuesday or Thursday.

Mon off
Tuesday 14 w/8-12 x100m strides
Wed off
Thursday 15 w/last 5 @ MP (build it up to maybe Cool
Friday off
Sat 15
Sun 20-22

I would also try to get in 1-2 longer pace runs on Sunday doing 14 w/10 or 16 w/12 @ MP. In addition I like the idea of tossing in strides on tuesdays or thursday to give you quick leg turn over.

I would NOT do (2) pace runs per week but certainly 1 per week is a good choice. Lastly, you might be able to pull off a Tuesday GA run w/ strides lets say 10 @ GA with 10x100 strides might not get you to the mileage you want each week but it is an option.

Mix it up each week accordingly.
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Post  wendy_miller on Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:56 am

Kenny: Forgot to mention that any pace miles I'm doing are on Thursdays. I'm only up to 5 pace miles, but I have a lot more natural speed than endurance. So I'm not as worried about that.

About doing pace miles on Sundays. I do my long runs on a HELLACIOUSLY hilly course. Marathon pace is not possible there. But the strength work I get from those runs is unbelievable. And sometimes I run the (very long and steep) uphills really hard, making it a VO2 max workout nestled in a long run.

And sometimes I do fartleks, if the mood strikes.

But regimented fast speed work (on the track) gets me injured 100% of the time. So I'm sticking to more miles. Fast finishes on the mid-week long runs, though, is a good idea.
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Post  Jerry on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:07 pm

Wendy,

I love the plan. I am doing the same thing except a little lower mileage and I can't do over 15 right now giving the heat. Shall I say similar thing instead? lol!

Not sure if 15 plus 22 over the weekend is too much, you will have to make the call yourself.

I hate double. I have time, but just hate running in the afternoon/evening. My stomach always gives me this or that kind of trouble.

With regard to only 4 days a week, I can only do 6 days. Somehow I just have to have a day off. The number of days or mileage is really not important. The important thing is the stress level. If you have good stress, no injury, you know you will be golden. I know I will. Alright, maybe not with my fat tummy now.

Again, I love the plan!

Sincerely,
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Post  Jerry on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:13 pm

@wendy_miller wrote:

But regimented fast speed work (on the track) gets me injured 100% of the time. So I'm sticking to more miles. Fast finishes on the mid-week long runs, though, is a good idea.


In that case, don't do it. Tempo and pace runs are all you need in my opinion. Keep in mind, you are still at early years of your training. You don't have to maximize your training effect. Building a solid foundation is all you need.
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Post  Dave-O on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:17 pm

@wendy_miller wrote:
Is it possible that that many long runs could totally kill any speed that I have?

Yes and no. It will certainly kill your 5k speed, but that shouldnt matter to you right now. It should not kill your marathon "speed," and I think sub-3:10 is a reasonable goal on that schedule.

Running only 4 days per week, I can't think of a much better schedule. Running 14+ every time out is no doubt difficult, both physically and mentally. My only suggestion would be to gradually introduce marathon specific workouts on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For example, you can do a 6 mile tempo at 110% of goal pace on Tuesday, long run Thursday, 8-10 mile pace run on Saturday, long run Sunday. That way, you're tiring your legs out before the long runs, which is the main thing you're missing out on by always having off days before your long runs. You'll want to make sure you're pushing into the glycogen depleted and muscular fatigue stage, and by doing hard-long combos, you'll accomplish that.
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Post  wendy_miller on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:01 pm

@Dave-O wrote:
@wendy_miller wrote:
Is it possible that that many long runs could totally kill any speed that I have?

Yes and no. It will certainly kill your 5k speed, but that shouldnt matter to you right now. It should not kill your marathon "speed," and I think sub-3:10 is a reasonable goal on that schedule.

Running only 4 days per week, I can't think of a much better schedule. Running 14+ every time out is no doubt difficult, both physically and mentally. My only suggestion would be to gradually introduce marathon specific workouts on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For example, you can do a 6 mile tempo at 110% of goal pace on Tuesday, long run Thursday, 8-10 mile pace run on Saturday, long run Sunday. That way, you're tiring your legs out before the long runs, which is the main thing you're missing out on by always having off days before your long runs. You'll want to make sure you're pushing into the glycogen depleted and muscular fatigue stage, and by doing hard-long combos, you'll accomplish that.

Yeah--totally fine with there being no 5K speed right now.

I run back-to-back long runs on the weekends. Usually around 15 miles on Saturday and 20-22 on Sunday. My legs feel REALLY tired on the Sunday run...so I've been doing my pace stuff during the week. But you think it is necessary to do that on the Saturday run before the Sunday run?
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Post  wendy_miller on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:02 pm

@Jerry wrote:Wendy,

I love the plan. I am doing the same thing except a little lower mileage and I can't do over 15 right now giving the heat. Shall I say similar thing instead? lol!

Not sure if 15 plus 22 over the weekend is too much, you will have to make the call yourself.

I hate double. I have time, but just hate running in the afternoon/evening. My stomach always gives me this or that kind of trouble.

With regard to only 4 days a week, I can only do 6 days. Somehow I just have to have a day off. The number of days or mileage is really not important. The important thing is the stress level. If you have good stress, no injury, you know you will be golden. I know I will. Alright, maybe not with my fat tummy now.

Again, I love the plan!

Sincerely,
Jerry

Tim better watch out. Jerry and his fat tummy sound unstoppable!
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Post  Diego on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:12 pm

I think it's a really good plan, too until you feel like you are not recovering from the weekend double.



When I lived in Vegas I used a Tim Miller plan to qualify for Boston(3:15): 4 days a week with a tempo run of 7-8 miles , a pace run every other week(8-10), intervals, and a long treadmill run every other week that consisted of 30 minutes easy, 30 minutes at MP, and repeat until I have run for 3 hrs. (50-55 miles max). You're already above that mileage!!



When we get to late August, I'd throw in some pace work at the end of your long runs and tempo work on one of the first two runs of the week. I don't think you need much more.
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Post  Schuey on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:22 pm

Do I think it is possible that you can run a sub 3:10 on this training plan? Yes and thing is possible if we believe in the training that we are doing and the training is right for you. Since you already had success with doing this type of plan for Eugene, there is no reason why it can't work again. Now if you feel after Chicago that your race time stays the same or just a little better then you might want to rethink how you want to change your plan.

I have basically been using the same plan since 2009 with the only difference adding a little more distance each cycle. And the other big key is being consistent. I believe the more consistent one is with there training the better off you will be.

I also feel that running the marathon distance is 98% aerobic fitness. There is no doubt that by doing all your runs as mid-to-long runs will build-up your aerobic capacity. Now I think that this thinking changes when the focus of what you want to do with the marathon changes, but right now again I feel you have a lot to gain by building your aerobic base.

I would also agree that if doing speed work on the track gets you injured stay away from doing it. Again if your focus is on running the marathon and improving your times my personal opinion is that you don't really need the speed work if you are logging high mileage and even if you were logging lower mileage I'm not sure if it is totally something you need for the marathon. I guess I could be a good example of that, when was the last time you heard me talk about doing track work during my marathon training? I can tell you the last time I did any 400's, 800's or mile repeats was when I was training for my 10k last Nov..

So my point is over the last 2 years I dropped my marathon PR from 3:15 down to 2:49 and I there was no track workouts. Now I must add that I have mixed in Tempo runs but I still don't really do any MP runs. I would also say that you have to remember that we are all different types of runners and what works for me or someone else may or may not work for you.

I have always believed the key is to find what type of training works best for you. Kinda like how Tim has found he likes doing lower running mileage with faster runs with crossing training.

A question I have for you is that do you plan on basically keeping every week: Tue. 14, Thurs. 15, Sat 15 and Su 22 total 66 miles?

I think that is fine as long as your body and mind doesn't start breaking down for always having to run long runs.

As for hitting 70 miles a week I think you can still do that over a 4 days of running. In theory it is only adding 1 mile to each run. Now once you start getting over 70 I think it could be done but it will harder.

One opinion you have but it is tough to do is running back to back 20+ runs on Saturday and Sunday. that is something that I'm doing right now as I get ready for the JFK 50 miler. Saturday is normally my faster day and then Sunday is all about spending time on my feet and I don't care about the pace.

So you have opinions, I just think it is going to come down to how you can handle this mentally and physically. There is no doubt that you are tough enough to handle it but there comes a time no matter how tough we are we still get beat down at times durning training. At least I know it happens to me. So as long as you stay in tune with you mind and body and you feel you need to back off the mileage do it and recover. Again remember it's not always about the total mileage we run but that we stay consistent with our training.


Hope your injuries (Abs) are feeling better and that you find out what the heck is going on! Sorry for the long post.
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Post  Schuey on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:30 pm

@wendy_miller wrote:
@Dave-O wrote:
@wendy_miller wrote:
Is it possible that that many long runs could totally kill any speed that I have?

Yes and no. It will certainly kill your 5k speed, but that shouldnt matter to you right now. It should not kill your marathon "speed," and I think sub-3:10 is a reasonable goal on that schedule.

Running only 4 days per week, I can't think of a much better schedule. Running 14+ every time out is no doubt difficult, both physically and mentally. My only suggestion would be to gradually introduce marathon specific workouts on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For example, you can do a 6 mile tempo at 110% of goal pace on Tuesday, long run Thursday, 8-10 mile pace run on Saturday, long run Sunday. That way, you're tiring your legs out before the long runs, which is the main thing you're missing out on by always having off days before your long runs. You'll want to make sure you're pushing into the glycogen depleted and muscular fatigue stage, and by doing hard-long combos, you'll accomplish that.

Yeah--totally fine with there being no 5K speed right now.

I run back-to-back long runs on the weekends. Usually around 15 miles on Saturday and 20-22 on Sunday. My legs feel REALLY tired on the Sunday run...so I've been doing my pace stuff during the week. But you think it is necessary to do that on the Saturday run before the Sunday run?

I think what you gain by doing a pace run on Saturday is that you will not only have tired legs but you will also be deleting your glycogen stores. Then when you run on Sunday like Dave said you will again will be pushing the glycogen stores, muscle fatigue. The benefit of this that it will help body to 1.Increase Fat utilization, 2. Increased glycogen storage, 3. Increased capillary density, and 4. Fiber-Type adaptations which all this will help in performing better at the marathon distance.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:48 pm

I'll second the thought that you'll lose your 5K speed, but without any changing paces, you would lose your marathon speed as well. However, I think you and others have already alluded to the fact that you will be (are) doing MP runs and it can't hurt to add some tempo runs and even pickups (fartleks) to your running. You are also still pretty young, so losing your speed is somewhat relative still.

One other idea is to do fast intervals during the runs - but not on the track i.e. 10 min at HM pace or even 10 min at 10K pace repeating 2-3 times during a 12-14 miler. This is work, but will help with the speed. I also agree that running hard on hills is speedwork as well. When I moved to Atlanta back in 1990, I didn't do any speedwork for the next 3 years and my 10K times kept coming down. Why? hard hill repeats along with some runs of up to 10-12 miles at 10K pace (during the off race season) and HM pace during race season.
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Post  wendy_miller on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:26 pm

Schuey: Thanks for the response. I do not do exactly the same mileage every week. But I believe in Daniels' philosophy of staying at a mileage level for about 3-4 weeks before increasing. I don't use the 10% rule. I've been doing 65 miles per week for about a month. Next week I jump up to 70 and will hold that a few weeks. Then I step way back one week (like mid-50s) and go up again. That's what I did for Eugene just fewer overall miles.

I have done one weekend where I did pace miles on Saturday followed by an ultra hilly 22 the next day. It was rough. But I do need to do it again to reap all the benefits you mentioned, Schuey.

Michele: The hills do make a HUGE difference. I've been running with a girl who just came off her college track season. She is faster than I am on the flats, but on hilly courses I just kill her (not that we're racing...but, you know, there's always competition...even though we are good friends). And I'm catching her on the flats because I do so much strength work with hills. She runs very low mileage but most of it is fast. I run a bunch of miles, very few of them fast.

I know that I HAVE to stay off the track to stay healthy. I can (or could...a few years ago) bust out a bunch of 5:35 mile repeats, but I'll be injured a week or two later. Not worth it. That's why I've been sort of winging any kind of intensity that I do. Some runs, I sprint all the hills. Other runs, I pick it up for a minute or two, like a Fartlek. I'm listening to my body and doing what it says. Outside of scheduling pace runs, I pretty much do what my body tells me. And I am, for once, not hurt.
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Post  Schuey on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:45 pm

@wendy_miller wrote:Schuey: Thanks for the response. I do not do exactly the same mileage every week. But I believe in Daniels' philosophy of staying at a mileage level for about 3-4 weeks before increasing. I don't use the 10% rule. I've been doing 65 miles per week for about a month. Next week I jump up to 70 and will hold that a few weeks. Then I step way back one week (like mid-50s) and go up again. That's what I did for Eugene just fewer overall miles.

I have done one weekend where I did pace miles on Saturday followed by an ultra hilly 22 the next day. It was rough. But I do need to do it again to reap all the benefits you mentioned, Schuey.

Michele: The hills do make a HUGE difference. I've been running with a girl who just came off her college track season. She is faster than I am on the flats, but on hilly courses I just kill her (not that we're racing...but, you know, there's always competition...even though we are good friends). And I'm catching her on the flats because I do so much strength work with hills. She runs very low mileage but most of it is fast. I run a bunch of miles, very few of them fast.

I know that I HAVE to stay off the track to stay healthy. I can (or could...a few years ago) bust out a bunch of 5:35 mile repeats, but I'll be injured a week or two later. Not worth it. That's why I've been sort of winging any kind of intensity that I do. Some runs, I sprint all the hills. Other runs, I pick it up for a minute or two, like a Fartlek. I'm listening to my body and doing what it says. Outside of scheduling pace runs, I pretty much do what my body tells me. And I am, for once, not hurt.

No problem Wendy, also I like the whole Daniels philosophy of keep the same mileage for a 3-4 week period. Although I do vary my mileage from week to week. I don't follow the 10% rule either, I believe the best way to gage one's training is by listening to the body. The body will tell you everything you need to know if you just listen to it and make the adjustments you need to make if necessary.

I'm sure you are also getting good advice from Tim, there is no doubt he will lead you in the right direction with your training. Although I do know that it can be hard to take advice from a spouse, sometimes we need to hear it from others
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Post  wendy_miller on Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:11 pm

@Schuey wrote:
Although I do know that it can be hard to take advice from a spouse, sometimes we need to hear it from others

Um, yeah Very Happy Tim helps me a LOT...but we're too close. I sometimes need an outsider's view, as does he. He will always tell me to run faster, and I will always tell him to run more.
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Post  Dave-O on Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:28 pm

@wendy_miller wrote:
Michele: The hills do make a HUGE difference. I've been running with a girl who just came off her college track season. She is faster than I am on the flats, but on hilly courses I just kill her (not that we're racing...but, you know, there's always competition...even though we are good friends). And I'm catching her on the flats because I do so much strength work with hills. She runs very low mileage but most of it is fast. I run a bunch of miles, very few of them fast.




I will caution against doing all your long runs on such hilly terrain. Running pancake flat Chicago is going to stress your hamstrings, as you want be able to rely on quad strength on inclines and declines. I agree that hill work is great for strength and power, but at some point, I would do some of those 20 milers on terrain more similar to Chicago.
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Post  charles on Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:18 pm

@Dave-O wrote:
@wendy_miller wrote:
Michele: The hills do make a HUGE difference. I've been running with a girl who just came off her college track season. She is faster than I am on the flats, but on hilly courses I just kill her (not that we're racing...but, you know, there's always competition...even though we are good friends). And I'm catching her on the flats because I do so much strength work with hills. She runs very low mileage but most of it is fast. I run a bunch of miles, very few of them fast.




I will caution against doing all your long runs on such hilly terrain. Running pancake flat Chicago is going to stress your hamstrings, as you want be able to rely on quad strength on inclines and declines. I agree that hill work is great for strength and power, but at some point, I would do some of those 20 milers on terrain more similar to Chicago.

I training on rolling terrain and do as much hill work as possible. I have NEVER been so sore as after/and during Chicago. Glad I know now!
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Post  Chris M on Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:32 pm

I think the plan is great and definitely not for the faint hearted. That many "long" runs a week is very draining mentally and physically. But I get why you are doing it and it should definitely lead to you being able to hold low 7s for the marathon. My only thing to add as a suggestion is a test race. You'll feel better confidence wise if you bust a 1:27-1:29 without it absolutely killing you. And for all of your running experience, you really have not done that many halfs and fulls (3 total maybe?). So I like the plan overall but I would strongly recommend finding a half 4-5 weeks out from Chicago and letting it rip at 6:40-6:50 pace. Don't go try and kill a 1:25-1:26. Just something in that high 1:2X range. Given all the overdistance training you are doing, I think it will be a tough but quite reasonable race for you. It will serve as a confidence booster that all the speed you need for Chicago is there.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:36 am

@charles wrote:
@Dave-O wrote:
@wendy_miller wrote:
Michele: The hills do make a HUGE difference. I've been running with a girl who just came off her college track season. She is faster than I am on the flats, but on hilly courses I just kill her (not that we're racing...but, you know, there's always competition...even though we are good friends). And I'm catching her on the flats because I do so much strength work with hills. She runs very low mileage but most of it is fast. I run a bunch of miles, very few of them fast.




I will caution against doing all your long runs on such hilly terrain. Running pancake flat Chicago is going to stress your hamstrings, as you want be able to rely on quad strength on inclines and declines. I agree that hill work is great for strength and power, but at some point, I would do some of those 20 milers on terrain more similar to Chicago.

I training on rolling terrain and do as much hill work as possible. I have NEVER been so sore as after/and during Chicago. Glad I know now!



This may be why I feel that I never run that well on a flat course - I run and train on lots of hills as well. When I lived in Ohio, I ran on mostly flat terrain and drove to run hills 1x per week. My times were just as fast (when i trained right) and I felt better on the flats and recovered better after flat races.
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:50 am

I agree with the suggestion to move your training to flatter courses - if possible - within the last 2 months before Chicago (that would be now, wouldn't it?)... The strength and muscular endurance you've got from the hills is realized, and now it's time to get race specific.

You've mentioned tempo, MP, fartlek... Sounds well-rounded to me. I'm a pretty big believer in the philosophy that you start at the extremes (VO2Max + LSD) and move towards the goal (MP) as the cycle progresses. So maybe focus on those tempo/MP paces a bit more than fartlek from now on.
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