Long hard runs
by Ryan Camire
What is the deal with long hard runs vs long easy runs ?
I was curious about the difficulty of the long runs and came across this article on your site-
You mention that the "best way" to train for the marathon and not hit the wall is to alternate a hard long run with an easy long run. However, this is contradicting to your written plan where you only schedule easy long runs.
Quite honestly I would love to do harder long runs because I am worried that only doing easy long runs won't get the right amount of mileage in and prepare me correctly for the pace of the races. Your advise here sounds more preferable to me, but I also don't want to go outside your training plan.
So which is it? what should I do? Can I alternate between hard and easy long runs? Thank you for your time. Ryan"
Answer: Hi Ryan, if you look at the different schedules, you'll see that the faster schdules (3:15, 3:00 and 2:45) have several very hard long runs at a variation of paces in the marathon specific weeks of the program (2+ hours of very intense running)
The reason for not adding these type of runs to the slower programs is simple : I've seen it too many times that in-experienced runners "break" while doing these long-hard runs, even though they are highly effective. The risk of injuries, especially long distance knee problems is usually not worth it for this group. So when I sat down and planned everything I had to take this into account.
Having said that, if you ARE an experienced runner on any of these programs, you CAN steal a few of these hard long runs from the faster programs. Just run them by Effort and substitute the hardest run that week with one of them. In addition to that, you only want to do these in the marathon specific weeks, which is important!
I wish you all the best,
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