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RE: Mr. Renato Canova: Could You Please Answer a Question About Effective Ways to Improve the Lactate Threshold?
I'm not married to the long run, I just prefer athletes to do them from the standpoint of commitement more than the actual fitness gains if that makes any sense. The athletes I get fresh from wherever they come from usually fear certain aspects of training whether it's a double day, a tempo run, mile reps, hill reps, halves or a long run. Just having them run the darn thing consistently get's them over another mental hurdle. Usually after they get used to running them for a while we can get them running not quite so far, but have them finishing the last few miles or maybe even the last half at a decent clip, same for the mid week longer run. Just a run of 70-90 minutes where they are moving along pretty well. The easy long run, well that's just a prep for down the road when they start hammering for 10 miles of a 12-14, maybe 16 miler which is my goal for them. So early on we're doing 90-120, then we go to roughly 90 min, then keep it to say 75 min but each time we shorten the distance we monitor the pace to emphasize that we want to increase the pace on these runs.
Also, we usually aren't hammering workouts at the time we're running longer and slower (January, February) so we need to compensate a bit which we do by running more weekly miles and ideally more of it during the week in the 75-90% of 5k range and not really the slow easy miles most do when they slog through a 2 hour long run. Running modest weekly mileages in the 75-90% of 5k range seems to pay bigger dividends for milers than does heavy miles but at a jogging pace.
If I had guys doing what Silva does, which is pretty hard workouts year round or nearly all year, the long run over 90 minutes would be gone from my program too for a miler. It's just not needed, it's better to expend the mental and physical energy elsewhere. I don't think Hesch did much beyond 10 miles when he was at his 1500 best. But that 10 miles was usually done in the 54 minute or so range most weeks and there were 2 other workouts on top of that of a very solid nature.
If anything I would listen to what Antonio is saying. Problems happen when you've got an athlete running 2-3 very good quality sessions each week and try to pile a 18 miler on top of that. It's just too much for most and the potential benefirt from a weekly 18 miler doesn't offset the potential injury that may happen from overuse and if not injury, then falling into the valley of fatigue never to be seen again that season.
To try and avoid something even close to this happening again this year, we have a 90-120 minute easy run in the early months, but we cut it to 90 at a decent clip in the 2 months following when the intensity rises. When we get to the super hard stuff, well it's maybe a 12 miler. This is what Vigil has in his book too if you want to reference that and get another perspective on the issue.
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