Planning for the long run

My ego wants to do fifteen miles today, and my brain is rationalizing twelve, while the stomach is hankering for eggs and cheese and sausage. The rest of the body wants to know why in the name of Sam Houston we're moving before dark.

It's long run day.

Once upon a time, that was twenty or thirty miles as I prepped for marathons or ultras. Today will be shorter, much shorter, the kind of distance that you don't brag about. It's not that I can't run further-I can, but long runs, essential for some types of training, are mostly overrated for someone who's looking to achieve fitness.

More important is consistency of effort, adding one more day of training into the log, everyday or nearly so. If I went fifteen miles today, tomorrow would be wiped out. Maybe Tuesday as well. In effect, I might average five miles a day but at lower intensity (and higher risk of injury.) That was a decision that I made early this year when I didn't have time to prepare for the Turkey Trail Marathon in Pagosa Springs. It was a survival mode of training.

The next race I hope to run is an ultra next summer. I have plenty of time to build if I remain consistent. The rule of thumb from the Daniel's Running Formula is the long run should comprise no more than 25 percent of your total weekly mileage. (Daniel's is the running bible, btw - if you wan to race, you need this book in your home library.)

To approach that standard, I need to up my mileage from it's current piddling amount to at least 70 miles a week which would match my peak in the past. I'd like to see if my legs would handle more but time becomes a factor and, until the books sell at a rate that allows me give up regular employment, going to work is a priority, as is time with wife, daughters, and grandkids. Throw in the writing and squeezed is the word that comes to mind.

So the focus, both for fitness and to get to the next brass ring, is consistency. I don't need big runs at this point, but I need steady, daily mileage with a dash of speed work. Then, grow the daily runs until I get back to ten miles a day, every day.

Then start adding in the long runs.

It's a progression, and requires lots of patience, something I'm particularly bad at. It beats broken and cranky, though, so I'll try.