Monday, May 12, 2008

How to increase long runs safely?

Yesterday was my longest run of the year, and I'm glad to find minimal soreness today. My legs are adapting to longer runs, and to slightly faster downhill running when I have the opportunity, better than they were two months ago, when I had plateaued at 9 miles and my legs were protesting the addition of a bit of faster running to my week.

Still, yesterday was far from easy. The heat and distance made it a significant effort, and I was more relieved than overjoyed at finishing. The thought that this was only about a third of marathon distance is almost incredible. Although I was in my typical post-run or race good mood for some time, I grew tired by evening.

I've noticed in the running literature that many half-marathon and marathon plans call for increasing your long run by 1-2 miles every week. I can see that in the case of someone who is fit and is building a new base after a finishing a racing season, as in cross country or track. But what about someone who has either not run this far before, or has not done so in years (that's me), which amounts to about the same thing? Two miles a week for weeks on end? Maybe if I had lower legs of titanium. Is this just something I have to get through to complete a half-marathon or more? Has anyone else struggled with this aspect of training?


David Ray said...

You might do better by going the 2 forward, 1 back method.

Run longer for 2 weeks, then a week not as long. So your long run might be 9 miles this week, then 10 miles next week, then 7 or 8 miles the third week.

The fourth week you can bump back up to 10 or 11 and repeat the cycle. The main thing is to avoid injury. So rest days are helpful.

You'll figure out what works best for you over time.

Jeff said...

Thanks, David. That kind of approach sounds it could work for me - I look forward to seeing how things go!