*Note: a change/correction has been made to this post from what was originally written. I misunderstood what my client had told me. My apologies. What is written below is now accurate.
I met with a coaching client this week. She is running the Boston Marathon in 2012 and wanted to process her thoughts about her marathon training plan. In early 2011 she completed the Colorado Marathon and got her BQ. During her training cycle, however, she suffered from shin splints and saw a local PT.
During our coffee/marathon planning date, this friend told me that her PT thought her shin splints might be related to her weekly long runs. He told her that the 40+ year old athletes he works with do better in terms of recovery and fewer incidents of injury when they do long runs once every 10 days versus once every week.
Most cookie cutter training plans (Smart Coach @ Runner’s World, etc.) have runners doing one long run per week. RRCA trains coaches in plans that have one long run per week (after the base building phase). Team in Training coaches its participants this way as well. Most of these plans incorporate recovery weeks every 4-6 weeks.
On that note, here is a long run guide from Running Planet that was interesting food for thought:
Yet, at Marathon Training Tips, we are told (regardless of experience), “The long runs have to occur every week and they cannot be skipped no matter what. These runs are what actually train your body to store up the glucose needed to accomplish a marathon long run schedule.”
Spacing out long runs seems logical, but like with anything, this depends on the individual. I think most people would agree that one long run per week is standard, but there are always exceptions. I don’t believe you can say, as this PT did, that “everyone must do a long run only once every ten days.” IMHO, nothing applies to every.single.person across the board.
How often do you do long runs while training for a marathon?
Have you ever done/heard of a marathon training plan that does not have weekly long runs (not including recovery weeks)?