Long Runs: Time vs. Distance

by - Friday, September 16, 2011

One of the big things that is different about my training plan this year compared to any of my previous training plans is that my long runs are a set amount of time, rather than a set number of miles.

Most training plans I've used have started with 8 miles, 9 miles and then 10 miles followed by a cutback week, with a shorter distance run or race.

On this plan my long runs looks like this:

Week 1: 90 minutes
Week 2: 90 minutes
Week 3: 5K Race
Week 4: 90 minutes (3/1)*
Week 5: 90 minutes
Week 6: 10K Race
Week 7: 1:45 run (3/1)
Week 8: 1:45 run
Week 9: 15K Race
Week 10: 2:00 run (3/1)
Week 11: 2:00 run
Week 12: Half marathon

*The 3/1 runs are supposed to start easy and then finish fast to get my legs used to working hard even when their fatigued.

Running by time instead of by distance has been interesting so far. It's definitely a different frame of mind knowing that no matter how fast or slow I run, I will be out there for a certain amount of time.

So far I've only done one long run and I'm not sure if I like running by time or by distance better.

Have you ever used a training plan where your long runs were based on time rather than miles? Did you love or hate it? And did it leave you feeling prepared for your race?

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