WTF Is A Long Training Run, Anyway?
|AC100 2014: Dead Man's Bench, Mile 79|
I found this out in 1986 when I ran my 1st LA Marathon, training out of Ardy Friedburg's "How to Run Your First Marathon". Years later it appeared on Amazon, and I reviewed it, as follows:
"How to Run Your First Marathon" is a cruel hoax in a breezy, fun, gosh-its-gonna-be-fun style. I bought this book in 1985, when I was training for my first marathon, Los Angeles 1986. It promised a bunch of things, namely "don't worry too much about distance, run for time". That is perfect barney-bait.
By the time I was at 20 miles, I'd begun to hate the day I'd imagined that the author knew what he was talking about. OK, I finished--walked the last 2-1/2 miles to a 3:55. After I was able to think about marathons again, I found Joe Henderson's "Run Long" book. It had everything this breezy pamphlet did not. I trained out of Henderson's until 1992, then ran with Jim O'Brien's track club at Cal Tech.
Subsequently I went on to finish over 25 marathons, before getting into ultras [50k on up to 100-miles]. I cannot in all honesty or good conscience recommend this book to anyone, unless its for dilettante voyeurism. It is ornamental, and worthless.
Full review here:
Having gotten *that* out of the way, may I suggest that if you're going to do 100s [for instance], then "long runs" need to be:
- *at least* 25mi, probably no longer than 40mi
- back to back on weekends
- on the course if possible
- start & stop at different points, to see what your splits start looking like
- in a variety of weather conditions
- run sections backwards to see what the climbs/drops start looking like
In conclusion: do your homework. The 1993 WSER100 racebook famously noted that you could run 15mi daily, 6 days per week to get the mileage necessary to complete a 100. But you'd be the best 15mi runner at the starting line.