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The way I see it, every athlete has different needs. For an athlete with incredible natural aerobic capacity, long runs are less important. For an athlete with plenty of footspeed but little endurance, long runs are crucial for middle-distance guys.

So, the necessity of a long run would depend on an athlete's natural talents. However, I don't think the split is near equal. I think most mid-distance guys have plenty of footspeed, and that their problem is endurance.

I would conclude that most mid-distance guys would benefit from doing long runs (90-120 min) in their conditioning phases and keep a weekly maintenance run of 75 minutes during race prep.

Think of how many 4:15 guys you know with 51 quarter speed. A 51 quarter miler should, with enough endurance, be able to go 4:04. But they don't, they're stuck at 4:10-4:15. A 4:12 miler with a 51 or 50 second quarter doesn't lack speed.

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