Getting there from here: The Long Run
|September 28, 2016||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
My biggest revelations come when I’m pursuing something BIG. It clarifies and makes me notice the small things that I’ve missed forever.
Here’s another lesson learned training for 100 miles:
- Long runs during training are not tempo runs (or at race pace) where you leave everything on the line. Why? Because then you are not recovered enough to do your next scheduled work out.
Ever heard of LSD? Long SLOW distance?
Doing race distance at race pace is highly depleting – one that requires rest before an effort of that scale is attempted again. That is NOT good training.
I realized at my 50k race last weekend that I have been DOING LONG RUNS WRONG all these years. I’m not running my long runs as hard as a race, but I’m still arriving at the finish with way less in my tank than I should have. Coming off of a long run in training I should feel like I could have gone another hour or 2. Instead, I have maybe another 20-30 min – much more in line with a tempo run pace. (Have I been doing the same thing to my horses?)
Doing these runs at close to race effort/pace isn’t benefiting me. It’s taking me long enough to recover after these efforts that I’m rarely able to continue my training consistently in the week afterwards. Instead several days to a week are spent healing up little niggling aches and pains, or just feeling so tired and unmotivated that I spend a lot more time sleeping than training.
That my readers, is the WRONG way.
Is it highly confidence boosting to have a series of long runs completed this way (and quite a bit of pride of posting long runs at a decent pace)? YES.
It is helping me get from here to 100 miles? NO
LSD is not a new concept. If you ask any endurance rider or runner what the foundation of their training program is, a vast majority will say “long slow distance” and that is the correct answer in theory.
In practice a lot of us are doing it wrong.
I think it stems from ignorance of exactly what it takes to get from here to there.
How do you run or ride 50 miles? 100 miles?
It’s not working up to 45 or 50 miles at race pace in training.
It’s about doing other work outs that support your effort so that it all comes together on race day.
This is true even at shorter distances with mileage is that you can achieve in training, such as LD’s or marathons (and shorter). You don’t go out and run at your race pace over the race distance over and over in order to get better and faster.
That’s just ludicrous.
And yet in the endurance world I feel like that’s exactly what people suggest? It’s not smart in running, and it’s not smart to do with our horses.
There are lots of different pieces, it’s complicated. The long run is a piece in training just like shorter faster efforts, rest days, cross training, and race specific training.
In running it’s common to have a coach to help put all the pieces together so that it all adds up to the performance on ride/race day that you want. In endurance it seems like experience is our coach. In the beginning we try to do way too many pieces and the wrong pieces. We burn out horses, ourselves, and if we are lucky we don’t override our horses to the point of irreparable injury.
Here’s the bottom line
Long Slow Distance is not a race. Even if it’s being performed at a race for convenience sakes. It’s not race pace over race distance. That’s saved for the race. That type of effort performed too often is what breaks us (and our horses) down.
So how do you get from here to there?
You work on the pieces. The longer slower runs, the shorter faster runs, and the race specific training where you prepare for specific elements of race. You get a coach to help you or you learn from experience which pieces work.
On RACE day you combine them.
Not on a stupid long run in training.
I would love to hear more about your thoughts on this. I’ve been involved in endurance since 1998, mostly conditioning for other people who did 50/100 FEI or travelled to other states to compete. The few that do LDs also ride 20 or so miles every week to keep their horses “in shape” and the more mileage ones do 35+ a week. I finally got my own and am struggling with how many miles to do as he had a leg injury(DDFT) right after I bought him in the trailer.
Rehabbing him from the injury is foremost. After that when he’s cleared for real work I think a combination of 1-2x a week dressage of under thirty min a session, a shorter (under and hour) faster ride weekly OR an hour of race specific terrain work, then every other weekend of 3 to 3 1/2 hours saddle time walk trot is sufficient for many horses to finish. I don’t know about being competitive at the higher levels so best to go to some one else for that kind of advice.
However, the point is not to discuss overall weekly mileage requirements or recommendations for horses, The point here is that the long ride piece shouldn’t be done too fast, or at too high of an effort level.
Btw – Farley had a SDFT injury right after I bought her and it turned out fine. So good luck! 🙂
This actually makes a lot of sense. It’s a little contrary to what is typically recommended in the endurance circles (add distance or speed, not both; train how you want to race, etc) but in some ways makes more sense in terms of not over conditioning (which I think may be more common than under conditioning). As long as you’ve done some conditioning, a race should be (inherently is) different. good post.
I agree completely on the point of overconditioning being more common than underconditioning. The problem snowballs because when a horse doesn’t perform well it’s easy to assume that MORE speed and miles is needed – not less. And so more and more is piled on.
Thanks for the info! Mag