Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Long Run Debate


I have read on several blogs where the runner did a long run but broke it up? Does that really count as a long run? In my mind no, but to each their own. They got it done and that is all that matters. But what is a long run to you? Anything over a 5k distance or maybe you have to hit double digits in order to count it as a long run?


 The other day I mentioned that I was feeling sluggish during my runs. I would still manage to get 5-7 miles in, but I did not feel great while running it. I felt like it was something I needed to get done since I am marathon training and all.  I just wasn’t enjoying it like I usually do. It felt like more of a chore, so I thought it was time to take a break 

 After taking a much needed rest day, I tried running in another location to change things up. I even downloaded an audio book.  I think sometimes I get too into the story of the book that I do not end up running the pace I normally do when I listen to music.  I ended with 7 miles and I thought that was good enough. After coming home, eating lunch, and doing some chores around the house, I thought it was too beautiful out for February to spend it inside so off I went on another run. I knew I wasn’t going to go as far as I did earlier so I thought I would incorporate some speed work into my run. I did a total of 4 miles and my average pace was just under 8 minutes per mile. My legs felt fresh and I listened to my music playlist the whole time. I think music really does help with pace. 

After arriving home, I texted a friend and told her about my runs I completed. That both runs added up to be a long run. She said she completed 6 miles that day but wasn’t sure if that would be considered a long run. Since she is training for a half, I surely would count 6 miles as a long run, as that it about half the distance her race is. For training for a full marathon, I would consider a double digit run as a long run. For me, I wouldn’t call my two runs as my long run, but rather just getting in the miles I suppose. However,  I felt a lot better doing that 4 mile run at a fast pace opposed to some of my longer runs I completed recently at a much slower pace.

What are your thoughts? -L

53 comments:

  1. So, as a coach....
    Splitting up a long run is indeed NOT the same as doing the full long run at once. You will miss out on the cardiovascular endurance benefits, and the mental strength component will be altered. THAT SAID, splitting up long runs can be helpful if you have been dealing with an injury, need to get miles in, or need to do training on tired legs. And weather and other external factors. So, splitting up a few is ok, but don't make it a habit!

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    1. I agree with you. Not sure why some may think that. I wasn't trying to do a long run during either of my runs that day. I guess I was happy that I just got two run in on that particular day, since that normally doesn't happen.

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  2. I agree, splitting it up isn't the same. You need to train for the actual distance and put your body through being on the road for a certain amount of time/miles. And also agree, the long run depends on what you are training for. For a half, I'd say 8-10 miles, for a full, whatever your long run progression run is for that week!

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  3. I wonder about the same thing.

    I guess I just try to get in the miles. Sometimes life gets in the way and I have to go my long runs on two days.

    Most of the time, I had miles after a race.

    I don't know if it has hurt me. I've always gotten through my half marathons.

    Would I have been faster if my long runs were continuous. Who knows?

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    1. Kudos for you for getting miles in after a race, I don't think I could do that. I would be way too tired.

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  4. For me, I'd need to do the whole thing. Those long runs are really for mental toughness more than anything.

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    1. Yes, there comes a point where it becomes mind over matter.

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  5. I think lots of mom runners split their long runs due to time constraints sometimes. Sometimes life gets in the way of our training plans and we do the best we can

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    1. And that is all that matters. As long as you feel like you are doing the best you can and are happy with that, you shouldn't compare yourself to others.

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  6. I think ya just gotta do what works for you. I never split up my long runs but that's just me. One thing I have learned over the years is we all have our different ways of doing things. Right now 10 miles is long for me!

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    1. I think anything that is a double digit is considered long.

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  7. Interesting thoughts :) I've only done half marathon training so I count anything 6 miles or more as a long run. And I've only split up my long run if I have to for time reasons but I definitely try to avoid it. But there are some days when it just seems like that's the only way the schedule allows for getting all the miles in. Oh, and I do it on the treadmill as a way to split things up but that's only a couple minutes, i.e. just long enough to fill up my water bottle and walk to another machine.

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    1. Wow! Long runs on the treadmill? I do not think I could do that. Way to go!

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  8. I've never split up a run. But, everyone reaches their goals in a different way. As far as WHAT is considered a long run? I think that is relative to what you are training for or what your regular weekly mileage is. Again, different for everyone.

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    1. True, everyone has a different goal. You just have to find what works for you during your training cycle.

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  9. I dont think breaking it up REALLLLLY counts as a long run. I mean, when doing a marathon, you cant start, then go take a nap & come back & finish & have the whole thing count.
    It's all how you feel in that one run.

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    1. That is so true! That is why you should have some good training runs before hand. Getting your body used to that fatigue feeling.

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  10. I think 8 miles is the magic number for me that feels like a "long" run. I don't know why - Maybe because it's longer than an hour and anything less I don't bother with fuel.
    I think that music helps me SO MUCH to keep the pace up! I have trouble listening to podcasts while running because they really slow me down.

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    1. I agree that podcast slow me down as well. I find that I go slower because I am concentrating on what they are talking about and not thinking about my running.

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  11. Most of the time I don't like to break up my long run, but there are plenty of articles on why it can actually be good to do so. Sometimes I'll run a race, then finish up my miles in the afternoon, for instance. Not often, but I've done it and not crashed and burned in my race, either.

    As to what constitutes a long run, that's an interesting point. For me, it's generally (but not always) a longer run at an easy pace. So in an off season I'll keep it at 5-6 miles. Yet right now some days I'm running 5-6 miles during the week -- but those aren't my long runs!

    I think half vs full people have very different takes on a long run too. :)

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    1. I think so too. Because I wouldn't consider 6 miles long since that is what I do daily.

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  12. I guess breaking up the occasional run (to get the miles in) is ok, but
    doing it regularly won't prepare you for whatever your race distance is (unless you're planning to take a break and have that break count towards your race time ;)).

    I also agree with what others have said that breaking up your run will make you miss out the endurance benefits and mental strength component. It's just not the same if you take a break in between miles.

    Oh, that was the "general YOU", not direct at your personally BTW ;)

    8 miles is my current cut-off for what I think of as a 'long run', probably because it's more than an hour. But it depends on your race goals (I've only run a half so far).

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    1. I think anything over an hour would be considered long. I guess that can depend on your pace as well.

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  13. I can't stop once I've started my long run - I'd never go back to finish. And I think that running 5 miles and then more later isn't a long run, but it IS a lot of miles on your legs, so that is good.

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    1. I think it would be harder to get back out there again if that was your goal. Once I am done, I am done for the day! Well I guess except for that particular day since it was so nice out. But that was not my intention at all.

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  14. I'm with you, splitting up a long run into multiple outings is NOT a single long run. My old definition of a long run used to be anything over a 5k, but as I've progressed as a runner I now consider a long run anything at 5 or more miles. One's definition of a "long run" depends on a number of things, including what your abilities are and what you're currently in training for.

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    1. Everyone's has a different level of running so just finding what works for you is the key.

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  15. Right now I consider anything over a 5k as a long run. I guess would depend on what you're training for. Maybe anything over half of what you're going to run/race is a long run.

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    1. Agree! Half your goal distance would be a great training run.

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  16. i like to do the whole thing but I have heard you get the same benefit from splitting it. If i ever need to split it because of a random circumstance, i dont see a problem with it. but i do think the majority of runs need to be done together

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    1. I have heard that too, but I wonder what the benefits are to splitting it up, still logging the miles?

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  17. I think some runners do two-a-days and it can count because you get the same physical benefits of a long run, but mentally if you're training for a race or something, you really should try to do it all at once. Also, I think technically anything over 12 miles is considered "long" in marathon training, and anything over 8 is long for shorter races? I heard that somewhere but IDK where!

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    1. I haven't heard that but those distances do make sense.

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  18. I have also read that splitting it up into two runs in one day has the same benefits as one long run. I have a hard time believing that really but it's still better than not doing it at all!

    I have considered 8 miles and up a long run... although 8 is sort of borderline medium and long run LOL. I've never trained for a marathon but I assume that when I do anything less than 15 miles will be a medium run??? LOL.

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    1. I didn't think it would have the same benefits. I guess physically maybe but mentally it doesn't. I would count 15 a long run in marathon training:)

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  19. I think of anything over 6 miles as a long run, because I don't have time for it on a weekday. I usually do 8 mile long runs when I'm not training for a race (10M or Half), and up to 12.

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    1. Time I think seems to be an issue for most. That's why when I do have the time I feel guilty only doing 5 or 6 and I should be doing double digits because time allows for it. It makes up for all those times when I can't.

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  20. For half marathon training, I would consider anything 7+ a long run, for marathon training, anything 13+. I've never split up my long runs, but I think that as long as you are getting in the miles, and time on your feet, it should all count!

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    1. Being on your feet for that long is always a challenge I think.

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  21. My absolute number to define a long run depends on what I'm training for. :) But generally I'd say anything that's 50% or more longer than my typical weekday run is a long-run, in the context of that week/training plan.

    I definitely know a split long run doesn't have the same benefits, but it's certainly better than not doing the full number of miles - sometimes life gets in the way and you just get as close to the plan as feasible.

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    1. Everything doesn't always go as planned as we all know. So as long as you are doing something, I feel that is the important part.

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  22. This is one of those things that will get a different answer from everyone. But since the main point a long run besides endurance is to teach your body how to deal with being on its feet for long periods. Breaking it up kinda defeats the purpose of that. So for someone training to do their best and train to enjoy the race I think a long run should be consecutive miles, in opinion. Of course I also wouldn't call a 6 miler as a long run even for a half thats more a daily run. I'd say 8-10 would be longer runs for a half. But then everyone trains to race these days for a different purpose and there is absolutely nothing wrong with just training to finish. Finishing is more than most will ever do so there is accomplishment in any level!

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    1. Yes, just finishing is an accomplishment! I find that most people say that for their goal for their first marathon. However, I feel like in the back of everyone's mind they still have a goal time!

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  24. I try not to, but sometimes due to kid things I end up having to split up runs, not so much now that they are older, but what you can when you can sometimes! I think it all adds up and all helps but certainly isn't the same as one long run

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    1. Miles may add up the same, but the endurance doesn't.

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  25. I agree with you-- it all depends on the runner, ability and what they are training for!

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  26. When I ran the LA marathon with ASICS right after I had EK, coach Kastor (deena's husband) had me running lots of miles but not all at once since I was so undertrained. He said if I could run 3-6 miles every day and still equal the mileage of running longer 4-5 times a week then I would be fine. So I guess there is some truth to the madness b/c not only did I do OK, I PR'ed!

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    1. Wow! That is great! Good for you. I guess just being consistent with your mileage is key!

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  27. I sometimes have to split my longer runs into two, usually when my marathon training plan calls for 10 miles in the middle of the week. I find that if I push myself for the first one then the second one seems challenging because my legs are tired so I still get the cumulative fatigue effect. I wouldn't want to do this for all of them or really important runs like a 19 or 20 miler during peak mileage, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Good for you for going back out for that second run!

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  28. That is a good question and often wondered the same thing. If Coach M has 10 miles on my training schedule I go out and run them all at one time- breaking it up, well, it sounds like cheating. My long run this week was only 6 miles, and I am ok with that!

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