Can you split your long runs up during the day?

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Hey! I’m training for my 8th mini marathon, and this year I am up against some timing obstacles during the weekdays. I can usually get a good three mile run in during my lunch break and have no problem getting the longer distances done on the weekends, but what about when the schedule calls for a six or seven miler on a weekday? Will I still get the same benefits if I spilt the mileage and do three in the afternoon and four on the evening?

Thanks in advance!

Replies

  • garystrickland357
    garystrickland357 Posts: 598 Member
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    I understand. This question gets asked occasionally. The general consensus is - no - it's not the same. Part of the point of the long run is the sustained time on your feet. Others with more knowledge than I have will chime in I'm sure.
    As to what to do... My solution is get up at 5:00AM. I refuse to do that daily, but I'll do it a couple of times a week when my mileage goes up like yours has. Your situation may not allow for that - that's just what works for me.
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
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    What distance is your mini marathon? Are you still getting in a double digit run on the weekends? The answer to this really depends on the distance of your race and your overall goal. The more consecutive miles you have the better, but as long as you are getting in at least one long run of double digits per week, you should be okay to finish the race. Splitting your daily runs up is not ideal, but if it's your only option, it's not the end of the world. You will still get the benefit of the overall cumulative miles and you will still feel the fatigue.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
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    sbro32 wrote: »
    Hey! I’m training for my 8th mini marathon, and this year I am up against some timing obstacles during the weekdays. I can usually get a good three mile run in during my lunch break and have no problem getting the longer distances done on the weekends, but what about when the schedule calls for a six or seven miler on a weekday? Will I still get the same benefits if I spilt the mileage and do three in the afternoon and four on the evening?

    Thanks in advance!

    How far is a mini marathon?
  • WickedPineapple
    WickedPineapple Posts: 701 Member
    edited January 2019
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    I've usually seen mini = half marathon.

    If you're having trouble with the timing, why don't you pick a different/less aggressive training plan? For example, the Hal Higdon novice half marathon plans don't have short/weekday runs over 5 miles.

    Edited to add: You don't have to follow your training plan to the letter either. I usually modify it, but as long as you're getting in and increasing the distance of those long runs and a doing a decent amount of shorter runs (even if a little shorter than your plan calls for), you should be good... depending on your goals of course.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,680 Member
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    There are physical adaptations that happen after 90 minutes or so of continuous running that can't be duplicated by splitting up a run. (ie. fat adaptation, building mitochondria, etc.) That's why the usual advice is to try to do your long runs in one piece, if at all possible. For a 60 minute run though, it shouldn't make any real difference if it is split in two. In any case, you do what you can. If splitting the runs means you get your miles done instead of skipping them, go for it. Just try to do your long runs in one effort if you can.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
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    Is it better than not running? Yes.

    Is it the same as running it all at once? No.


    So whether or not you should do it depends on your goals for the race and your current ability.
  • sbro32
    sbro32 Posts: 130 Member
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    Thanks, you guys. The distance is 13.1. And my goal was just to be a little better trained this year. The past couple of times I’ve ran one, I just felt a lot more sluggish and slow than I’d expected. I’m twenty pounds lighter now, so I’m expecting that to help, but I also thought I should maybe throw some more miles in the training. I had used Hal Higdon novice plan in the past, but I think I might have graduated to intermediate now. I run very consistently. I’m also very slow though.
    Anyhow, this was all very informative in regards to the difference a long run makes versus two shorter ones. I really appreciate the feedback and advice!
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,680 Member
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    One thought I had while I was running this afternoon is that a medium long run midweek makes the long run on the weekend feel easier. 13 miles seems like a very long way if your other runs top out at 5 miles. It isn't that bad when you are comfortable running 7 or 8 or more during the week. On my current marathon training, I have mid-week MLRs of 10-14 miles. Some weeks I have two MLRs. They make the 16-20 mile runs easier, since I know that at least the first half will feel comfortable.
  • fishgutzy
    fishgutzy Posts: 2,807 Member
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    I don't run. I swim. But I take a similar view.
    Split swings on days due to time available for total burn during that day.
    But I don't take breaks when I'm pushing for a new medical best distance swim on a weekend.
    Last was a 20km pool swim. 7 hours 9 minutes with a total break time of 5 minutes 20 seconds.
    Certainly not a fast enough place to compete. But that wasn't my goal.
  • collectingblues
    collectingblues Posts: 2,541 Member
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    For me, personally, that would not meet my goals -- because I know I can do 3 or 4 at a time. It's quite another to do 7, 10, or 13 without stopping.
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    edited January 2019
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    sbro32 wrote: »
    Hey! I’m training for my 8th mini marathon, and this year I am up against some timing obstacles during the weekdays. I can usually get a good three mile run in during my lunch break and have no problem getting the longer distances done on the weekends, but what about when the schedule calls for a six or seven miler on a weekday? Will I still get the same benefits if I spilt the mileage and do three in the afternoon and four on the evening?

    Thanks in advance!

    You will not get the same benefit by splitting the longer runs up, and the whole idea of the longer runs is to train your body to do longer runs.

    I am currently in week 8 of the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Novice 1 plan (scroll to bottom to see the schedule)...

    https://halhigdon.com/training-programs/half-marathon-training/novice-1-half-marathon/

    Starting this week my short run (Wednesday's) goes to 3 miles, my medium runs (Tuesday & Thursday) go to 4.5 miles, and my long run (Sunday) goes to 7 miles. The short run will remain 3 miles for the rest of the plan, and the medium runs will never go higher than 5 miles.

    I made an arrangement with my boss to work from home on Tuesday & Thursday, and to extend my lunch hour to how ever long it takes to do the runs, and work later in the evening and/or start earlier to make up the time. I go to the office on Wednesday and can easily do my 3 mile run during my lunch hour at work.

    My bosses power walk with my during the warm months and frequently ask me for advice on fitness, so they are pretty understanding of these types of things.

    Not sure what options you have, but would strongly recommend not splitting your runs up.
  • sbro32
    sbro32 Posts: 130 Member
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    Man, I love these forums! Okay, I’m not going to bother splitting them up. I’ll either have to commit to waking up hella early or making it work with my boss somehow. Thanks again, everyone!
  • sbro32
    sbro32 Posts: 130 Member
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    fishgutzy wrote: »
    I don't run. I swim. But I take a similar view.
    Split swings on days due to time available for total burn during that day.
    But I don't take breaks when I'm pushing for a new medical best distance swim on a weekend.
    Last was a 20km pool swim. 7 hours 9 minutes with a total break time of 5 minutes 20 seconds.
    Certainly not a fast enough place to compete. But that wasn't my goal.

    Amazing!!
  • dmkoenig
    dmkoenig Posts: 299 Member
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    Actually if you are feeling sluggish and slow your deficit may be more with a lack of interval workouts where you are pushing your tempo. Longer runs will build up your aerobic capacity so you can run efficiently for a 13.1 but you still will still likely not suddenly feel faster. Interval workouts 1-2 days week, 45 minutes max where you are going 80-90% max for 30 sec - 2 minutes will really help you improve speed and cadence. That said, what everyone else recommended for a 13.1 you still need to get that long run in each week...
  • Vladimirnapkin
    Vladimirnapkin Posts: 299 Member
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    I'm going to muddy the water now and argue that the long run needs to be run all at once (and other specific workouts), but otherwise the most important thing is to get the total volume of training. Two a day workouts, in fact, are a great way to sneak up on higher training volume without beating you up as much, and possibly reducing your risk of injury.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
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    sbro32 wrote: »
    Man, I love these forums! Okay, I’m not going to bother splitting them up. I’ll either have to commit to waking up hella early or making it work with my boss somehow. Thanks again, everyone!

    Your other option is designing your training to back to back at weekends. That's a fairly well established method for marathon and ultra training.
  • AudreyJDuke
    AudreyJDuke Posts: 1,092 Member
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    Great info!!