Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Long Run (from the best)

Remember that post I did a few weeks back about what a 140mpw looks like and how it would take someone who runs 10min/mi over 20 hours a week to run that far? Well the same principle should be considered during the weekly long run, and here is the breakdown on this topic from Coach Jack Daniels PhD. Makes a lot of sense to me. An elite marathon runner would almost NEVER go out for a 4+ hour training run so why should the beginner?

Watch more video of Saucony Thirsty Thursdays with Jack Daniels on flotrack.org

2 comments:

gettingfaster said...

So, in order to teach your body how to utilize fat thus not hitting the wall later, one must do 20 miles?

Karl Stutelberg said...

No, its not the 20 miles, its the time. Actually you are utilizing fat all the time just at a different percentage. It is not a switch that you can turn on and off. (Its not like after 20 miles you flip the fat switch.)
The body has about 2 hours of stored glycogen normally to convert to glucose quickly. Once that is used up your body will increase the percentage of fat used and you will inevitably slow down. You can train the body to get used to using more fat by consistent long runs. Energy from fat is a slower metabolic process and will never be as efficient as stored glycogen. That is why you take gels, to prolong that slowing.
There are some folks that that would tell you to never suppliment with gels during training for this very reason. Make the body get used to using more fat for fuel during training, then suppliment during the race for even more boost.
So no you don't have to run 20 miles. Ideally the long run should be around 2 hours, but anything from 1:30 to 2:00 is great. I would guess that most elite marathoners go a little longer, maybe 2:15-2:20 at the most. And they get in 22-23 miles easy during that time. That is why Jack says 20 miles, because he is used to working with elites.