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okay you training geeks...please share your thoughts on at what point a new runner or a person trying to get back in running shape should add speed or distance into their scheme?

For sake of argument is there a minimum long run or weekly mileage one should be at before adding speed work? (not necessarily LT work, but anaerobic kind)

Is there a weekly mileage mark that or long run that you would recommend a runner not go over without having some sort of speed work in their regimen (LT included)? (along the vein if you keep adding distance without working on speed - you'll be very good at running long distances slowly)....

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megawill

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it depends, is there NO CEILING on the amount of miles????? 60mpw....add speed
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If it's all about peak performance, then I think the point of it all has to be for aiming at a particular race somewhere down the road. I think most everyone pinpoints a race on their calendar 6-12 months away and starts a program really wanting to hit the nail for that single race. Races preceeding that are benchmarks and rust busters. So with that in mind, I think priority one is endurance. Bumping mileage from day one and working a base for all it's worth.
With that thought, I'd recommend something like a start of 25-mi weeks and a target race 6-months out. From there, work 4.5-months of base building, say to 50-mi weeks. Then maybe drop it back to 35-mi weeks for 4 or 5 weeks prior to race and get sharpened up with speedwork. You'll have the endurance to withstand the speed and only then is it going to be beneficial. And it'll be purposeful and intentional for the peak performance rather than hit-and-miss in a schedule with no target.
And then the coaching hope would be to take a couple recovery weeks, start the next base building and work it up toward a higher ceiling, say 60-mi weeks; repeating cycles and ultimately over time/years, the peak of peaks :twocents:
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recognizing that the question is somewhat flawed because i didn't propose any particular goal, but would your answer change if that goal race were a 5k vs say a 20k/half-marathon?
i guess what i'm trying to get at, is how do you know if you are adding too much mileage too quickly, rather than really trying to emphasize speed. I think the trap that new runners (and what I have fallen into in the past) is to aim to run long 'race' distances too quickly without ever learning how to run fast at shorter distances.
If my goal is to eventually be a much faster distance runner, is there a danger of running too far, without mastering leg turn at shorter distances...
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megawill
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I think typically it's better to start with distance just because of injury... when you plan weekly mileage but start to get some pain, you can just cut back on miles. Whereas with speed it's much harder to say hmm, I'm kinda hurting today, let me slack 15 seconds off of the pace. To me, it seems more logical to add distance first. I'd say 35-40mpw before speedwork. But again, that's just what I feel comfortable with.
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I think a flaw that we as running engineers tend to apply to runners as a whole is that runners in their teens, 20's and even early 30's can write the book on training for everyone based on what they do at collegiate races, Olympics or whatever. Reality is, and I'll get countered on it I'm sure, but I see it over and over, is age and come-lately to running kills speed and kills it quickly. I think the best/perhaps only alternative is distance. I don't know how much of the peak performance formula comes from endurance, but I gotta believe it's probably 80% of the equation and speedwork can sharpen up those remaining percents, but getting in overdistance for whatever the particular race distance (marathon's excluded) is going to be the way to go, regardless of shorter distance mastering. To put numbers on it.. I'd rather coach someone to a halfM by having them run 50-mi weeks with 16-mi long runs than 30-mi weeks with 10-mi long runs and great 5km times.
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Here's something interesting:
Distance was what Arthur Lydiard advocated when coaching his runners regardless of what race distances they ran (up to 100 mile weeks). Peter Snell (middle distance specialist), one of the runners coached by Lydiard regularly did 80-100 mile weeks w/ 2-3 hr long runs during base building...his mile PR was 3:54.
Jim Ryun (famous American middle distance specialist- 1500, mile) ran 110-120 mile weeks at his peak.

This suggests that there is no definite ceiling...it really depends on your level of fitness. It's progressive (jrjo said it right)...your body adapts to a certain level of mileage overtime...say once you're able to run 50-60 mpw comfortably, you can aim to build to a higher level of mileage on the next round of your macrocycle. You can also still maintain leg turnover via aerobic means while building base through strides, LT runs and such.
Regarding megawill's question, the overall training scheme is the same regardless of race distance (start with base and work up from there)... Base building is pretty much the same throughout...The runners mentioned above are not marathoners but their base building scheme does not differ much, if not at all, from a marathoner. The differences are in the race-specific training phase (when you are closer to your goal race) when the runner starts to address the individual physiological demands that the race distance imposes (5k-10k: VO2 max, lactate threshold, 1/2 marathon-marathon: lactate threshold, endurance)

Hope this helps and doesn't confuse you...
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I find leg turnover confusing. Your turnover should remain the same regardless of speed or distance. I still think adding distance is the way to go. There is so much more you can do with a big, solid base. If I had to do things all over again. It'd be a veryyyyyyyy long time before I found myself on a track, even as a 5k runner. I'd do tempo runs, progression runs, until my 5k times became stagnant and even then, I'd stay with interval type track workouts. Then you can work on pushing the envelope in one direction (improving vo2max), rather than trying to extend your base AND push your ceiling at the same time.
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How do you figure?
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How do you figure?
when you run fast, your stride should open longer, turnover should remain the same (minimum 180 footfalls per minute).
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when you run fast, your stride should open longer, turnover should remain the same (minimum 180 footfalls per minute).
i agree, i noticed that verbiage after i posted and was going to change it but didn't know how else to succintly get the same point across...
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megawill
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i agree, i noticed that verbiage after i posted and was going to change it but didn't know how else to succintly get the same point across...
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megawill
Ok, yeah. Sorry about that - I was more confused than usual... I understand your point.
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Just wanted to say this is a good post, and as usual...I'm pretty much with jrjo.

I also wanted to add that I like mech's take on injury too.

Distance and easy is harder to get hurt.

Phar made some great points as well.
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Good post and very good follow up advice.
It's already been said, but nothing beats a good base mileage. Anareobic conditioning is very important too but it depends on just how serious you are about achieving your race/time goal.

You need a goal Mega, I always ask anyone who runs in my stable (all abilities) why, when, who, where and how.

WHY - what do I want to achieve? What are the targets?

WHEN - when is the race/s and how much time do I have?

WHO - who am I ? What are my personal strengths and weaknesses and what is required in the way of development of these for my race

WHERE - what are my geographical and envioronmental parameters? e.g. How does your present situation affect your future plans?

HOW - how should you go about the preparation? - You'll get no end of advice here, base mileage is a good start.
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