Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tips on Run Training

I was wondering on your thoughts as to whether or not longer runs do something to the muscle itself that allows it to keep going through the marathon. I'm certain that all the energy pathways aren't improved by running more than a certain point, and I know that they're easier fed with a diet of cycling, but I'm wondering if you think the muscular endurance is enhanced by long running?

Mainly, in a stand alone marathon, most of the time, its my legs that give out. Weirdly, it doesn't happen in an ironman (to me), and it doesn't happen if I'm running a slower marathon (eg pacing somebody to a marathon about 30 minutes slower than my PB). But man am I sore after a marathon by itself. Is there a type of workout that would help this "muscular endurance"? I've tried a number of things- kilometer repeats, tempo runs (up to 45-50 minutes at LT pace), long runs, and my "boston special"- 5-6x 8 minutes, run at LT HR over rolling hills- in order to keep the HR up, you need to do keep pushing on the downhills. I think that generally the Boston Special lets me finish that bit of nastiness without the degree of trauma that others experience. But I use it for a specific course with a specific problem (long downhills).

Do you have a suggestion for enhancing muscle endurance for the marathon distance?

Thanks again

Sounds like you have a very challenging program as it is. What helped me greatly was periods of highly consistent steady running -- these sorts of focus periods are quite tough because you can rack up a heck of a lot of training stress.

As for the soreness, if you are racing close to your limit then, my experience, is that it comes with the territory.

If I was a marathoner then I'd probably try to do something like 42 days straight of 90-120 mins of AeT. Molina and I were talking about that yesterday. For me, that would be the secret of a great marathon. You'd be fit and durable. There's no point in "going fast" until you have that base. With that kind of base my AeT pace would get down to 3:45-3:50 per K without any speedwork (good for me but I won't be winning Boston!).

Frequency -- Then Volume. I think the mile repeats, tempo work, SS sessions... those are over-rated given what is constraining most of the field. The key thing is a long period of high frequency max steady state work.


Interesting, albeit almost intimidating stuff, your suggestion assumes solid biomechanics as well. Just wondering if you buy into Mara. Guru Jeff G's advice on the walk breaks. He sugg. every 10 min, I take a 20 sec. walk break every 15 min on runs longer than 60 min - any comments?


Having experimented with the walk breaks, I have found them very helpful for both training and racing. My Half Ironman run PB (1:15, twice) was set using run:walk. It is a very effective tool.

Given the base, body comp and biomechanics of the average runner that I work with -- the faster sessions are far more risky than frequent aerobic running. I've had sixteen hour IMers run 6x per week for 8 weeks. The secret is gradual adaptation and listening to our bodies.

I've tried faster stuff with my athletes, unfortunately, it rarely results in faster race splits. The aerobic protocol is the safest and most effective one that I have, so far. I used it with an outstanding runner in 2003 and we had awesome results. He was running up to 10x per week. It wore him out mentally before it got him physically -- a nice experiment for us.

Running is one of my big limiters. There have been several recent posts recommending 6-8 weeks (42 days) of steady state running without any intensity. I am intrigued by this and would like to give it a try.

My question is what about the repetitive type injuries that seem to come with this much running? In training for my first IM that I completed this summer I was plagued by one tendinitis / overuse injury after another resulting in a lot of missed run time. Have others trying this approach had problems with overuse injuries?

By the way, my run program in preparation for my IM included no speed work,or heavy intensity etc. and fell along the lines of your steady state recommendations although with nowhere near the frequency you recommend. I should say that I went from nearly no running to training for an IM in six months time and obviously did not have a sufficient base.

That wasn't my recommendation! That was an experienced marathoner protocol. You need to read that whole thread. Very important. You'll shell yourself pronto if you try that!

You've got 4x per week -- hold that injury free for at least 8 weeks -- then build frequency until you get to six runs a week. Anything else is really risky. Also, you need to look at your week as a package -- nearly all of us think that running more is the ticket to faster run splits. It helps but it's not the Big Two for IM -- bike steady state endurance and nutrition -- those are your key focus areas.

If you have good form (see my tips in Going Long then you can avoid most overuse injuries from aiming for frequency, being moderate with duration and keeping the intensity in your easy to steady zone.

Hope this helps -- thanks for clarifying. My 42 day straight protocol was my self-diagnosis if I was a marathoner.


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