What Else Besides the Long Weekend Run?

Date: September 23, 2012

Mid-way up Emigration Canyon–one of my favorite long run locations.

Distance: 8 miles

Time: 1:26:43

Fall weather is perfect for those long weekend runs. Not too hot, not too cold, and still a reasonable amount of sunlight.

Every long distance training plan I’ve seen places a lot of importance on the long weekend run. Of course, runners can adjust the actual day they do the long run based on personal schedules, but if you are looking to build mileage or train for a full or half marathon, it’s important to schedule in that LSD (long, slow distance) once a week. Simply put, regular long runs prepare your body physically and psychologically for the longer distance you plan to ultimately run.

Beyond the long run, though, training plans vary quite a bit–with some advocating running five or even six days a week and others suggesting only three runs per week.

After running for about six years now, I’ve settled into a routine that seems to work pretty well for me–and I’m in the “three runs per week” camp. My training week includes a short run (2-4 miles), a medium run (4-6 miles), and the long run (5-12 miles), all supplemented with core & strength work (usually Pilates or yoga) two to five times per week. Also thrown in there are walks with my dog, an occasional hike, and rest days when I feel like I need them or when life gets in the way.

Anyone who talks to me about running knows within the first five minutes that I’m a big fan of cross-training and building a strong core. A training plan that has runners doing other types of activities such as biking, walking, swimming, yoga, or weight training is most likely to prevent running-induced injuries and create a better overall level of fitness. Perhaps equally important to me is my own personal experience of finding out first-hand that when I do a variety of workouts in support of my running, my running efforts are more likely to be maintained long-term.

You see, what we are going for here is long term.

I recently came across a great quote from one of my favorite running gurus, Hal Higdon. He observes, “It’s not that I started running, it’s that I continued.” Love it. We all know it’s easy to start almost anything but much harder to continue. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect example of that.

So far, my 2006  New Year’s resolution to walk a half marathon has turned into a way of life that I have happily continued. With luck and a bit of continued cross-training, I hope to enjoy running for many years to come.

I’m certain I will if I:

  • stay injury free.
  • keep signing up for races.
  • continue to surround myself with friends who motivate me with their own running and workout stories.
  • keep enjoying those long weekend runs where I get to escape for one or two hours and simply meditate, contemplate, and rejuvenate.

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