The Hard Part of Running A Race Starts Long Before You Get To the Starting Line
As anyone that has trained for a half marathon and longer knows the hard part is the time and effort you commit to training. We all know the perfectly planned workout week can be interrupted by life. Do you skip the long run? Do you add it to the following week?
How about splitting up the long run?
I’m up to 16 and 18 mile long runs and the recovery time that goes with those distances. and the past 2 weeks it has been unusually difficult to find the time for long runs. When that happens repeatedly it’s frustrating and can seriously sabotage motivation. This weekend I considered, instead of totally missing my long run because I don’t have a single chunk of time, what if I broke it up into 2 shorter runs. Ironically, I emailed my coach, Christine (Dream Big Runner) about my frustrations and guess what she suggested. Try splitting up the long run. At first, I thought it defeat the purpose of long runs and building endurance. I looked into the effectiveness of splitting up the long run and I’m so glad I did. According to Marathon Nation:
…no one single run is what prepares you for your race. It is the effect of training your body over weeks and months — and the ability to focus that fitness on the big day with your race execution — that will give you the results you seek.
This makes so much sense! One of my weaknesses is seeing the big picture and this situation is no exception to that weakness. I get so over-focused on each individual run I forget the grand scheme of things. As long as I’ve been running I’ve read how critical the long run is to training and, quite honestly, I enjoy the long run of my week. I’m going to try it. Not for ever long run but when I need to. My thinking is it may not always be ideal training but for my purpose, running a 50 miler, it will work:
- I’m not missing my long run altogether
- I’m not as frustrated with trying to find big chunks of time for increasing mileage and recovery
- I’m less likely to consider skipping a rest day just to get in the miles
Splitting options (Marathon Nation):
Option A: Split Morning and Night (12 Hours)
This is the best possible option, as it allows for active recovery during your day and ensures you are still carrying some fatigue into that second run. It can be tricky to manage your food across a single day, as you’ll need to recovery from the first run but don’t want to be too bloated / heavy for the second effort.
EXAMPLE: Split a four hour run into 2.5 hours in the AM, 1.5 hours in the PM.
Option B: Split Night and Morning (12 Hours)
A close second to Option A, as this choice means you will be getting a bit more rest with a night of sleep between the two efforts. This additional rest option makes it ideal for beginner marathoners or folks who will be running over 5 hours to cover the long run distance.
EXAMPLE: Split a five hour run as 3 hours on Saturday afternoon, then do 2 hours on Sunday morning.
Option C: Split Morning and Morning (24 Hours)
Also know as the “weekend option,” this plan would allow you to split the long run to a pretty reasonable Saturday and Sunday morning schedule. Not as optimal as the other options listed above, but certainly very doable.
EXAMPLE: Split a five hour run as 3 hours on Day One an 2 hours on Day Two.
Option D: Split Thursday and Saturday (36+ Hours)
This is the least ideal option as your body will be 100% recovered before the next run. That said, some times life gives us no other option. Ideally you would be able to do this as a PM effort for the first run and an AM effort for the second, keeping the runs to about 36 hours apart.
EXAMPLE: Split a five hour run as 2.5 hours on Thursday and 2.5 hours on Saturday.
I’m going to try Option A this week and with any luck training will bring a smile to my face again.
Would this option work for your training? Do you think it’s an effective way to train regardless of your goal for the race? Have you ever incorporated this strategy in your training plan?