Long Run Specificity
I’ve been talking a lot about Boston Marathon training lately. A colleague who is also running the race said this:
“My husband and I are always wondering why we don’t, or aren’t supposed to run all our long runs at marathon race pace. Why is this? Why run our long runs slow?”
It’s a great question. One that, even 2 years ago, would have never even been asked.
In my opinion there are a few reasons why every long run is not run at marathon race pace. Before I go in to those reasons, I first want to clarify that – IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO RUN SOME LONG RUNS AT OR NEAR RACE PACE.
I’ll even say it again – PLEASE RUN LONG RUNS AT RACE PACE DURING TRAINING!
It’s important – as I’ve said in the past – to get a stimulus as close to the race as possible so that your body has an idea on how it will respond, and how to tolerate specific loads.
But not every long run should be race pace. There are two main reasons for this.
1 - You’ll be over trained, and burn out.
2 - You really only have 6 (+/- 4) weeks to reach a peak for a specific race, and after you’ve reached it, you’ll likely get flat.
Let’s start with the first issue – OVERTRAINING. That leads into how to avoid flattening out.
The marathon is an intense event! And it’s fast, which many novices don’t realize. Your body takes a while to recover from the race. So while you want to stimulate your body to tolerate and perform well for the race, you don’t want to do too much because you’ll break down. So if you’re running long and fast runs, week after week, then you’ll show up stale to the starting line.
If we look at the super compensation model of training we are reminded that we actually improve from RECOVERING from hard training. If we continually ramp up, up, up, then we will never benefit from the training stimulus. Yet if we do some hard work and then recover we will increase our capacity to do work and manage fatigue. This is training!
So we want some race like stimulus, but not too much. And not for too long. This is something we see in track very often. Coaches who have their kids jump out early season and only run their one event often end up missing the championships. Especially young runners. They need a variety of stimuli in order to then narrow down the focus and peak.
If all they get is one race stimulus then their bodies stop adapting. The same is true of the long run. You want enough race like stimulus to adapt, but not too much so that you plateau.
This balance can be difficult to find. Most often people don’t include enough race simulation in their programs. But 2 long runs per month that are very challenging is likely plenty for most people. Hell, even if you do just one per month and the other long runs are easy that would probably suffice without risking injury and getting flat.
and just an FYI- now is the time for those of you running Boston in 6 weeks!
Drew Deppen, D.C. Licensed Chiropractor
As your Boston Back Bay Chiropractor, Dr. Deppen takes pride in the diversity of his practice. He has worked with a wide variety of patients from Olympic medalists to the everyday active person, Dr. Deppen’s Boston practice uses the most current evidence-based treatment protocols. He has a deep interest in Rehabilitation strategies, Vojta Therapy or Dynamic Neuromusclar Stabilization, McKenzie Method Protocol, Active Release Technique, Strength and Conditioning, and Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Deppen is also the only Chiropractor in Boston Back Bay with McKenzie certification credentials. Additionally, Dr. Deppen is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a USA Track and Field Certified Coach. Research has proven that both chiropractic manipulation and exercise are the gold standard for spine pain. Dr. Deppen's combination of Chiropractic, McKenzie Method, and Strength Coach experience is a powerful combination for patients.
Dr. Deppen grew up in Chicago, Illinois. As a young athlete, Dr. Deppen was fortunate enough to work with a local chiropractor for many years while in high school. From there, Drew went to Eckerd College, graduating with Honors with a degree in Biology and Chemisty. While at Eckerd, Dr. Deppen played volleyball and captained the team under Coach Dexter Rodgers, a former silver medalist.
Dr. Deppen then attended Palmer College of Chiropractic and graduated magna cum laude. Palmer is the oldest and most prestigious chiropractic school in the world. While at Palmer, Dr. Deppen developed a love for endurance sports: running, cycling, and triathlons. Since then, Dr. Deppen has completed multiple Ironman events, and every distance from a 10K through 100-mile road races.
As a way to couple Dr. Deppen’s love of running and desire to help out in the community, he started coaching and working with a local high school while in Chicago. He had the pleasure to coach high school athletes in both Cross Country and Track and Field for three years and in this time frame, helped coach and develop three NCAA Division I and four NCAA Division III athletes, as well as six Illinois All-State athletes.
During this same time, Dr. Deppen also worked with many beginner and amateur runners, both high school age and adults looking to participate in road running. Often times, Dr. Deppen’s patients have asked him to help them learn how to run or train for a marathon. Some of Dr. Deppen's most memorable moments from running lie in this arena: helping others find the love and joy of running and chiropractic to change their lives.
Dr. Deppen truly values the integrative approach offered at OMBE Integrative Health Center. He has seen how multiple disciplines together can create a unique approach to health and overall wellness. He looks forward to answering any questions you may have for him about chiropractic in a complimentary consult. Book online for any chiropractic service at our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.