Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No More Long Runs?

There was a very interesting article in Runner’s World Magazine this month that I wanted to share with you.  It questions whether long runs are really necessary.  The author lays out a plan that basically includes a lot of sprinting and lifting crazy heavy weights in place of the traditional long run.  

I saw this article and thought I was very timely for where we are in our Princess Half training.  Most of us are at or near the longest of our long runs.  These runs can be up to 14 miles.  Mentally, this seems like a huge mountain to conquer.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to skip those really long runs but still be able to perform well on race day? I bet you are thinking—wait, don’t I need my long runs to build my base?  The author says no.  She says that the cardio conditioning that comes from a large number of sprints builds endurance faster than long runs.  To build muscle, she tells readers to do lots and lots of heavy strength training.  There are no easy runs or recovery days with this plan.  It is intense, but the author promises fast results. 

For now, I will stick to my long runs. This plan may be to intense for where I am right now, being relatively new to running.  Once I can run a whole 5k and hopefully longer, I may give this plan a try.   What do you think of it?  Is this plan for you? 

A dream is a wish…


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  1. I think I will be in love with this plan because mentally I just can't handle long runs. I can ride 20 miles on my beach cruiser in a day with no problem, but for some reason I just can't handle long runs!

  2. I am sure the author has statistics to back her up, but I think she's wrong. For Princess last year, I got in my short week day runs, but skipped a couple long runs. Some I shortened and one I skipped altogether. Hit the "wall" at mile 10. For Philly, I wasn't as good on the weekday runs, but got in 3 over 10 mile runs in and hit the "wall" about mile 12, and I think that only because of the HUGE hill between miles 9 and 10. I personally think the long run is more important than the short runs. The short runs help build your base, but any cardio can keep you in shape for that. The long run gets your body used to being out there, running for the length of time it will be for the race. Just my opinion and if people are successful with her plan, good for them. I think I'll stick to my long runs on weekends while training.

  3. Strength training is important, but so is endurance training. My first half, the 2010 Disneyland, I didn't do too much strength training and my muscles were screaming towards the end. A year later, I had started a strength training plan (lots of squats, lunges, etc) and I didn't get as many endurance runs in. While my time was less than 10 minutes off the original 1/2, I felt better. So, just from my experience, I think a mix of both is needed to get the best results. This could be just me, and like Chris said, I'm sure she has statistics backing her up.

    It's great to read different opinions and ideas, and you could try those you like, but each person is different and thus each person is going to have different ideal training plans.

  4. I agree about the long runs. They are very important and should not be skipped. Maybe this technique will work for those that are already distance runners to prepare even faster.

  5. I think we need the long runs. It can help to teach you to push through tough times on race day, it helps teach our bodies to burn fat for fuel instead of depleting our carbs as quickly, and I like doing them!!!!!!!!!

  6. I might give this a shot, simply because we are officially a month away and I am running out of options! I'm a fairly new runner and I did the Disney half-marathon in January and did a run/walk combo and felt great the whole time, but paid for it afterwards. Prior to that run, my longest was 8 miles.I had to take a few weeks off to recover from some small foot & knee pain and I'm just starting to run again so this might be a good alternative because I don't want to risk injury now so close to the Princess run by doing a long run. I know it sounds dumb, but I'd rather not do a long run and risk injury and possibly not run the Princess run. Btw, the January run was my first Disney run and it was amazing! This time though, I'm going to stop and take a lot more pics and not worry about time. Sooo much fun!! Good luck!