Distance running question.


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Distance running question.

Postby lovetorun » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:25 pm

It was interesting to read about the rest breaks that Bernard Lagat and others take at the end of the season. Lagat takes a 5 week break, others 2 weeks and some say they are afraid to take much time off for fear of getting too far "out of shape".

So that brings up a question: How long does it take to substanially get "out of shape", and what are the merits of a season end resting period versus not?

I would argue that it takes quite a long time for runners who have been training consistently for years to lose their conditioning and that probably most distance runners hurt themselves by not resting enough...whether it be a break at the end of the season or a day off each week (as Ryan Hall does). I suspect a lot of injuries occur due to overtraining/lack of rest.
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Re: Distance running question.

Postby Bruce Kritzler » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:24 pm

Yeah, it's worked out good for Ryan Hall.
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Re: Distance running question.

Postby cladthin » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:24 pm

lovetorun wrote:It was interesting to read about the rest breaks that Bernard Lagat and others take at the end of the season. Lagat takes a 5 week break, others 2 weeks and some say they are afraid to take much time off for fear of getting too far "out of shape".

So that brings up a question: How long does it take to substanially get "out of shape", and what are the merits of a season end resting period versus not?

I would argue that it takes quite a long time for runners who have been training consistently for years to lose their conditioning and that probably most distance runners hurt themselves by not resting enough...whether it be a break at the end of the season or a day off each week (as Ryan Hall does). I suspect a lot of injuries occur due to overtraining/lack of rest.


I agree with your comments. As a general statement, the greater the number of years of background training one has done, the more time (within reason) they can take off with no ill effects. All the years of training allows them to retain many qualities that someone with only a year or so will not hold onto. Also, an athlete with more years of training behind them has likely achieved a higher qualification as an athlete (not always but usually) which means a greater percentage of all of the work they do relative to the newbie or even a novice is of higher intensity-due to training they can get more out of themselves. For this reason, the experienced athlete will also require more rest for that individual than would be necessary for someone with only a year or two of training/competing.
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Re: Distance running question.

Postby aaronk » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:40 am

Two stories about opposite ends of the spectrum:

From 1973 through 1977, I'd trained very steadily.
Not every day, but 5 or 6 days a week, many times all 7.
Did anywhere from 3 or 4 miles a day to 20 or more!!
In December of 1977, I ran a 40 mile race over two mountains in my fastest time. (I'd run the same race 3 years earlier.)
Then, for some reason, I practically stopped running for about 3 months, my highest mileage being about 30 miles in a week!!
But, wanting to run the Avenue of the Giants marathon that May (of 1978), I BEGAN heavy training in April!!!
My first week "back", I did 39 miles.
Second week, I did my only 100+ mile week EVER (101.6 miles!!).
My third week ended with 62 miles, INCLUDING the marathon!!
My time??
Fastest EVER, and only sub-3:00, time of 2:56:02!!

Second story concerns Chuck Smead.
Anybody remember him??
He was a national class runner in the 70's, with a 6 mile of around 28 minutes, and a marathon best of around 2:13.
He was FANATICAL about not missing a day of training!!
He'd run EVERY day for several years!!
So one day (I heard this story from someone who knew him well.....I knew him too, but not closely.), sick as a dog, with the flu and a 102 degree temperature, he had not yet run that day, and it was after 11 p.m.!!!
So his housemate woke him up out of a stupor,and told him what time it was.
Chuck, 102 degree temp and all, somehow got his shorts and shirt on, got his shoes on, dragged himself out the door, jogged (about 8 or 9 minute mile pace!!) a half mile down the street, then a half mile back, crawled in the door, and passed out!!
BUT...his consecutive day streak continued!!
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Re: Distance running question.

Postby j-a-m » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:43 am

lovetorun wrote:I suspect a lot of injuries occur due to overtraining/lack of rest.

Yeah, I also think most distance runners err on the side of overtraining/not enough recovery; then again, that's just a guess on my part.
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