Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Great Debate

The great debate continues over on RunningAhead - Is it beneficial or detrimental to run 20 miles or more or over 4 hours in a marathon training long run? Some vehemently insist that if you don't run atleast 20 miles a couple of times while training, then you are undertraining. Others, such as my coach, insist that if you run more than 18 miles or longer than 3.5 hours, it takes your body too long to recover and can, therefore, be detrimental to your training. Meaning, you would have to back off the long runs too far in advance of your intended race in order for your body to sufficiently recover. (Am I making sense?) He insists that this will not change unless I pop up to the 50-mile distances. (And yes, the thought does enter my drain bamaged mind, even though I only have one successful 50k completion - and I pooped and peed and puked all over myself in the process. . . . . Hell yeah I had fun!!!)

I suppose there will never be a definitive answer accepted by everyone, but I find people's opinions on the subject quite interesting, with each person standing firmly on his or her side of the fence not budging one iota.

And on the subject of long distances - Bizz Johnson is less than 2 weeks away. Egads! It's a Boston qualifier, so I looked up the time requirements for qualifying - oh yeah! That was a real knee slapper! And no, qualifying is definitely not in the cards. However, I am hopeful that I will finish in 5 - 5 1/2 hrs. We'll see!


rustyboy said...

You know, as a (now) certified running coach, I can state beyond the shadow of a doubt...

It all depends.

It depends on what the runner's base was going in to marathon training. It depends on natural talent, if they are prone to injury. Personally, with your past base, I'd say you could easily do one, 20 miler 3 weeks out from a marathon, and be just fine. Now speedword is a different story...

RunninRob said...

Hi There, new to reading the blog, but I enjoy it, it makes me feel like I am 'somewhat' normal among trail runners!

I agree with Rusty, and I, too, am a USATF certified coach. I definitely all depends. I find the most dependent aspects are the individual and the intesity. Training with other Ultra runners I have heard and seen it all, but it seems to work for them, so who am I?

I, too, find it hillarious people have their staunch opinions about, but I guess that is what happens when you compare trusted methods of what works on a 'local level'.

Best of luck at Bizz Johnson!