Go the Distance Making Strides Towards Life Goals
One adaptation is that we will trigger the muscle to store more glycogen to try and avoid that situation again. The second is that we can train the body to utilize more fat across the pace spectrum. In other words, you have to recover really well from these runs in order to reap the benefit. Another risk you run is a compromised immune system.
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Given that, I think the level of runner and the timing of the run are really important. For the beginner, I am hesitant to prescribe these types of long runs for a few reasons. The first is that if this is their first marathon or are used to pretty low weekly volume and low intensity, then they are already going to make really great strides with the adaptations we talked about through the increased training.
There is no need to add another source of stress to the body and risk running well past the point of hard training and into overtraining. The second is that the beginner runner needs to make sure that their general endurance is there before they are worried about eeking out a couple more percentage points in potential performance.
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Furthermore, the beginner runner needs to practice with fueling, dealing with contents in their stomach, and having the fuel to cover the distance. The more advanced runner may utilize this run, but I think the timing has to be right.
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Some people like to do these later in a training cycle, but I tend to disagree. I actually think that these make more sense in the earlier part of the segment. I will discuss other types of faster long runs in another post, but the basic premise of any training is to be doing the most specific work during the last stage of your training cycle. To me, that means we transition from general training to specific training. In this case, that means from doing long runs at a slower pace that would occur with fasted runs, to being fueled and covering the long runs faster even down to MP for significant portions of time.
When you do the early long runs in a fasted state, I feel you set yourself up better. One, the long runs are shorter. This means that they are long enough to deplete your glycogen stores, but not so much that you greatly increase the risk of illness. Remember, the fuel afterwards is what allows the body to adapt.
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If you want to try these, I say early on is ok. Anything in the last weeks of a marathon cycle should be fueled and performance based. One final point I wanted to make about these types of runs is the idea of doing these types of runs without even trying. What I mean is that how many of you go to sleep, wake up, and head out the door to get your run in without having food? A lot of us do. Say the last thing you ate was at 9 PM, then you got up at 6 am to go run.
I know, a lot of you are laughing and wishing you could sleep in until 6 am! But, that would 9 hours without eating.
Then you go for a 60 minute run. For some of you, that might be over 12 hours. The point is, that you are already depleted, then deplete even further during your run. It might not be at the dose that a long run would be, but if you do that times per week, the overall stimulus is pretty high. So, consider that as you look into mapping out how you want your long runs may look.
Now, I feel like this really deserves its own section because it is often overlooked. A fueled long run is simply that, running the long run fueled. To me, that also includes practicing the fueling during the long run.
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I think that all levels need these in their schedule, even if it is simply to become accustomed to taking in fuel during your runs, which will play huge dividends on race day. It has been shown that the stomach can adapt to handling fuel if it is consistently exposed to having fuel during exercise.
By fueling a little before and during the long run, you limit the amount of carbohydrate that you have to make up for during the rest of the day. This can go a long way in giving your body the right amount of fuel that is needed for optimal recovery. When I recommend carbohydrate requirements for workout days, they often balk at the idea of eating that much.
If you make a dent in that number before and during the long run, you take away a pretty decent amount from what you then have to make up for from doing the long run. That number then seems to be a lot more manageable. That makes a big difference. Then, if you can get them to be on point with recovery, they will actually take in over half of that total of grams within an hour or two of waking up and completing the long run.
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Workout nutrition can go a long way in making sure you are getting in what you need to replace. In the next discussion, I will go into more advanced long runs that you can build into as you increase your training expertise. As always, thank you so much for your support! If you need a training plan, please check out our hundreds of options from 5k to Miles. If you need support from a coach, take a look at the Online Run Club. Luke Humphrey Running- Long Runs. Select options. Add to cart Show Details. Previous Next. Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
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