Splitting Long Runs
Happy August Runners! I know many of you have been stressing, hard core about fitting in your long runs while on vacation or while also juggling your full time work and family obligations. As a marathon runner myself, I get it that this time of year gets to be stressful with fitting everything in. Any while there are many credible running articles out there advising distance runners against splitting long runs, I personally think it is a feasible option for busy runners. Splitting long runs not only allows runners to complete their training mileage, but it also helps runners keep proper form for the duration of their runs. Even the pros reach a threshold where their form is compromised and their endurance is pushed to the max.
I am all for testing out your limits. And while distance runners usually have a certain body frame and running “heritage”, they also put in the hard work to log their miles and keep their nutrition in line. Running a marathon injury free takes a lot more than exceptional running genes. So if you are looking to increase your distance as a runner, you need to log more miles. But pushing through those training runs when fatigued and broken down can cause aches, pains, and potentially cause an injury when secondary muscles take over to compensate and keep us moving.
Since heritage is the Wednesday Word over at Deb Runs today, we are talking about why distance running is so much more than good running genes and why I split up my long runs for my busy running clients. I am also linking this post up with the lovely Suzy at Suzlyfe, Rachel of Running on Happy, Debbie of Coach Debbie Runs, and Lora of Crazy Running Girl for the Running Coaches Corner.
When you break your long run into two parts of the day, you have a recovery period that allows you to start up again with somewhat fresher legs. If you are looking to break up your long run, try running about 60-percent (or so) in the morning, and then finish the rest in the afternoon or evening.
Are you currently splitting your long runs but still stressed with finding the time to dedicate to your run training?
First off, your weekly runs can be optimized to two runs throughout the week. This rule of thumb applies to most experienced runners who have some distance races under their belts– opt for quality runs like sprint intervals, tempos, or hills for two days per week and get in the quality rather than focusing on 3-4 runs during a busy week. Make the most of these days by pushing a little harder in intensity.
If you have a little extra time for workouts during the week, add in some cross-training (yoga, swimming, pilates) and some strength training (weight training or using your own body weight). If you don’t have extra for more cross-training, incorporate short, 15-minute strength and flexibility routines after your two optimal runs during the week. This will go a long way in keeping you healthy and injury free as you run train. Even if you don’t have those running genes or come from a strong heritage of distance runners in your family, logging quality miles over quantity miles will help you get to the starting line of your fall races in peak condition.
For your long runs, keep your options open with splitting up your long runs in the summer because it will optimize your time and give you the flexibility you are looking for to spend more time with your family, on your day job, or on your other non-running priorities.
I like to look at my long runs as an open progression, based on my non-running schedule. Some weekends I have the time to run 16 miles at a pop, but on busier weeks I may break my long run into two parts throughout the day, and other weeks when I have a beach vacation planned with my family, I might opt for a cutback week, where any running is a bonus. Sound feasible to split up your long run? For me, it has been a game changer in how I train my clients (and myself) for distance runs! Do me a favor and try it out– tag me on Instagram with how you decide to break up your long run. Feel free to get creative with it. I am excited to see how you make out! Happy running!