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How far out from my goal race should my longest run be?

 

long-run

Image Source: running.competitor.com

As a running coach, I often get asked the following questions,

“How far out from my goal race should my longest run be and how many miles should I complete for that long run?”  

According to an article that appeared in Competitor magazine by 2:22 marathoner/coach Jeff Gaudette, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to reap the benefits of a long run.  So ideally, your longest run should be at least 4 weeks out from your goal race.  Which, if you want to have a 3-4 week taper leading into your race, you want to be tapering off your long runs about this time anyway.  What adaptations or benefits are our bodies receiving from logging those long run miles? Long runs are designed to build the body’s aerobic system.  Physiologically this means increasing the number and size of the mitochondria in your muscle fibers and increasing the number of capillaries, which both contribute to the body’s ability to more efficiently transfer and utilize oxygen and fuel within the body.

My former college coach Paul Pilkington coached me through my 3rd marathon and I remember him telling me that my longest run before the marathon should not be based on miles, but rather should put me out running for the same amount of time that I planned on finishing my marathon in.  Since I was shooting for a 2:46 marathon, my longest runs ended up being in the 2:45 to 3 hour range.  I never covered a full 26.2 miles in that amount of time, but at least my body was used to working for a similar number of running minutes as my planned race.   

Good luck logging those miles!

 

by Janae Richardson – Runner | USATF Certified Coach | Masters in Exercise Science

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Guest Post: Marathon News Update February 2014

By Elizabeth Eckhart

With all the excitement surrounding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which begins this Friday on Feb. 7, runners like me are in dire need of some marathon news to break up the winter chill. While the Winter Olympics excludes any running competition, we will still be able to watch Olympic track stars Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams compete in the Bobsled race in Sochi.

For marathon Olympic hopefuls, however, there is news regarding the 2016 trials! In a recent announcement, Los Angeles was named as the location for the 2016 Summer Olympic Marathon Trials. The Olympic Marathon Trials are scheduled to take place Feb. 13, 2016 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, just one day prior to the L.A. Marathon. It looks like the entire city is going to make a weekend celebration of the great sport of running and will use the Olympics to help kick-off the highly anticipated L.A. Marathon. It’s many LA officials’ hope that the trials will lend credibility to the city as an excellent race location, and result in boosting their annual marathon to the likes of Boston or Chicago’s.

The Olympic trials will be used to select three men and three women to compete for the U.S. team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The early February date was set to ensure that athletes who compete in the trails will have enough time to recover in the event that, if failing to make the Olympic Marathon team, runners might race for a place on the 10k Olympic team a few months later.

“By securing the Olympic Trials, Los Angeles is now set to deliver this city’s biggest running weekend since that iconic victory,” said Tracy Russell, CEO of L.A. MARATHON LLC. She and fellow marathon leaders are intent on “providing our L.A. Marathon participants and fans with a rare opportunity to be part of an Olympic Trials celebration.” Read More….

Google Buzz

How to transfer workout performance to race performance

“Hi Im a high school runner and I have a problem. I can stick with all the top guys at my school in practices and everything, in long runs, intervals, etc. But when it comes to races I cant seem to stick with them. I also ran 470 miles over the summer with my friend and hes the fastest on the team and im about the 7th or 8th at the moment but at practice im right behind him. I find that im always putting myself down and struggle with the mental aspect of running when it comes to races. Could I get some advice please? Thanks much! You’re Great!”

Hello High School Runner. It sounds to me like you have a lot of the qualities that I like to see in my athletes. You have a desire to be your best, and you are committed to working hard, yet you haven’t quite reached the level of runner that you want to be and that you know you can be. It can be very frustrating to be putting in all of the work, but not quite seeing the results in the performances.
My first advice to you is to stay patient with yourself. Not everyone progresses at the same rate and not everyone figures out the racing side of running with the same ease. It is very important to not be too hard on yourself. Don’t get discouraged from a bad race. Take something positive from each race, and move on to your next opportunity to prove yourself. Bad races are definitely not the end of the world – don’t let any one race feel like it is the most important thing in your running. And try not to compare yourself to your teammates – ask yourself if you are giving YOUR best effort. If you are, then stay positive. If you are not, then focus first on giving your all. Never stand at the starting line afraid of having a bad day. Bad days happen (all the time) but don’t waste your energy being afraid of them. You should be standing at the starting line knowing you are going to give your best effort – knowing you are going to race with all your heart – whether it is a good day or a bad day.
I hope you are taking confidence from your workouts. If you are working out with the top runners on your team, eventually you will be racing with them as well. Realize that you are a stronger runner than you are showing in your performances and believe that you will eventually be able to show that. Keep treating your workouts like races and start approaching the races the same way you approach a really good workout. Eventually you are going to figure out the racing. Read More….
Google Buzz

Running…More Mental or Physical?

Often times in marathons there are signs that are put along the course by supporters, usually for inspiration. One sign that I often remember was a two part series… the first sign said something like this “running is a mental game,” followed by a second sign stating “and we think you’re all crazy.”

As we are coming into the thick of race season and as our long runs are increasing, I wanted to address a topic that is applicable to all. I am reminded of a marathon I ran a few years back when I was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This was before Boston had lowered their qualifying times and the time for my age group was 3:10:00. At first this was more of just a dream or an idea, but as my training continued the dream became more of a goal and more of a reality.

My training runs during the week and my long runs on the weekends all started to lineup and land within the pace range I needed to keep in order to qualify. Still, however, I did not really think I was going to be able to make it. The race day came. I rode the bus to the starting line. As I got off the bus rain started to trickle. By the time the race started we were covered with water. I did have a garbage bag that covered my top, but I started the race with my shoes a little squishy. This was not going to stop me.

At the beginning of the race it was going well and at the midpoint I had met my goal of an hour and a half. As the race continued on, I started to get tired and my mind began to wander as is common during the later stages of a marathon. Read More….

Google Buzz

Life Lesson From My First Marathon

My passion for running has been over 10 years in the making, and I owe a great deal of my running passion to my Dad. He may not know this or take credit for this, but he is a big reason I ran my first marathon. I was once at a family gathering at my aunt’s house and happened to be looking at their family pictures. One of the pictures was a photo of my uncle running a marathon. I talked a little bit to my uncle about his running, and it started to spark my interest.  I later was speaking to my dad and jokingly mentioned that we should run a marathon, like my uncle. You have to understand at the time I did not do much running for fun, if I did run it usually involved a ball. I never had run a 5k, let alone a marathon.

Read More….

Google Buzz

Mental Toughness Running Tips

 

Last Saturday morning I laced up my shoes again for another 5K.  It was the Draper Days 5K and as I toed the line, and saw the many talented runners around me, I was struck with the realization that I was going to have to work hard to place well in this one.  This would be no “walk in the park”.  The race turned out to be one of those rare occasions where I felt like I was mentally tough and pushed through the pain to get to a new level.

Here are a few mental toughness strategies which may help you get to that next level in a workout or a race:

  1.  Relax – Your form can make an incredible difference in your time.  Focus on staying relaxed and you will be able to finish stronger and run faster because you will be running with less effort.  Relax your arms and shoulders, run upright (but not rigid) and stay light on your feet.  Think “smooth” and “fluid” in your movements.
  2. Maintain focus – There are lots of strategies to help you focus during a workout or a race; try these out at your next opportunity:  come up with a mantra to chant in your head, take a mental inventory of your body – focus on the moment and the work your body is doing,  spend some time visualizing your race and the course you’ll be running.
  3. Have confidence – Trust in your training.  You’ve done the work to lead up to that race or key workout, now trust your body.   Think about some good workouts you’ve done and use a little self-talk, “I ran this pace in my workout on Tuesday, I can do this today”.

Running really is a sport where being mentally tough makes a HUGE difference in your performance.

What do you do to be mentally tough in your workouts and/or races?

by Janae Richardson – Runner | USATF Certified Coach

Google Buzz
by on Jul.26, 2012, under Motivation, Racing, Training, Utah Running


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