Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sporty Sunday: RLRF Long Runs

The RLRF’s weekly long runs improve endurance by raising aerobic metabolism. They should be run at a pace slower than marathon pace and range from 13 to 20 miles. I think every marathon training plan contains one long run per week. Run Less, Run Faster is no exception. The difference, though, is in the “ramp up” timeframe and the number of long runs. At 16 weeks out, the first long run was 13 miles. The first 20 mile run was scheduled for week 13 (in the 4th week of the program). Most marathon training plans don’t reach the 20 miler until 3 weeks before the race.

During last year’s marathon, I felt like I didn’t have enough mental or physical practice with long runs. I looked forward to the extra mileage the RLRF method offers. I wasn’t entirely successful in sticking to the plan, though.

Week 16
Planned: 13 mile run
Actual: Cancelled due to icy conditions
Week 15
Planned: 15 miles
Actual: Ran the previous week’s 13 mile run
Week 14
Planned: 17 miles
Actual: Ran the previous week’s 15 mile run
Week 13
Planned: 20 miles
Actual: Attempted the previous week’s 17 mile run, but stopped after 12 miles due to wind chill
Week 12
Planned: 18 miles
Actual: Attempted the previous week’s 20 mile run, but stopped after 18 miles due to fatigue
Week 11
Planned: 20 miles
Actual: Ran the previous week’s 18 mile run
Week 10
Planned: 13 miles
Actual: No running at all due to the norovirus
Week 9
Planned: 18 miles
Actual: Ran 10 miles (the first running I’d done in over a week)
Week 8
Planned: 20 miles
Actual: Ran 13.1 miles in the Heart Mini Marathon
Week 7
Planned: 15 miles
Actual: 15 miles
Week 6
Planned: 20 miles
Actual: 20 miles
Week 5
Planned: 15 miles
Actual: 14 miles
Week 4
Planned: 20 miles
Actual: 20 miles
Week 3
Planned: 13 miles
Actual: 13 miles
Week 2
Planned 10 miles
Actual: TBD – my final long run is next week, a week before the marathon!

Total planned long run mileage of 247 miles.

Actual long run mileage of 181.1 miles (through week 3). If I run 10 miles next week (as planned), I will have run 191.1 miles or 77% of the prescribed mileage. (Last year, I ran a total of 174.1 miles on my Sunday long runs.)

A specific pace was specified for each of the runs. They were generally at the Marathon Pace (10:24 minutes/mile) plus 30 – 45 seconds per mile. For the first 9 weeks, I completely ignored the paces. I just ran whatever felt comfortable, which was usually around 9:50 minute/miles at the start of each run. My Sunday runs were nearly always followed by Sunday rehearsal, so I felt pressure to get the run over with as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next agenda item. Running too fast may have contributed to my failure to complete some of the early long runs. Shortly after the Heart Mini, I started following the prescribed, slower, paces for the rest of my runs and, for the most part, completed the distances.

I just have to remember the “slow and steady” mantra for race day.

Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!


Lisa said...


I'll be at the flying pig, only running the 10k. I find your Sporty Sunday posts both fun and informative. I like looking good even when running. Hope I see you at the Pig!

Lisa said...


I want to thank you for your Sporty Sunday posts. As a newbie runner, I am always looking for new info, and your tips on how to not look awful during running are great! I'll be running the Flying Pig 10k, I hope to see you there!

Jenna said...

Thank you for the RLRF posts, they've been really interesting. I ordered the book this morning and look forward to finding out more. It will be interesting to see what difference it makes to my running.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if your schedule will ever permit it, but it would be better for your recovery after long runs if you spend the day lounging around drinking lots of water and eating. The rehearsal is like a double workout, in theory, because you are physically and mentally working yourself with the theater stuff (I am guessing). I always did my long runs on either Sat or Sun, but I was useless afterwards. Here's another trick to long runs - break them into two or three sections by using a partner (if you have someone who runs your pace). When I was training for a marathon, I did my 20 miler by parking at work (I teach HS), running 7 miles to a friend's house, meeting up with her and running 13 miles, then had her drive me back to my car. For some of my shorter long runs (15 and 18) I ran to meet another friend, ran a large portion of the run with him, then ran home. I think I only did 2 of my "long" runs (13+) alone. It definitely made it easier. Also, by meeting them at their houses I was able to do a short water/food break.

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I know how tempting it is to run strong on a long run when you feel fine but I think there is a reason they need to be slowed down. My target rates are similar to yours. I find 10.30 is my natural pace that I usually fall into easily. It can be harder to run at 11. 15 which I should be doing long runs at.