Are you putting too much emphasis on your "peak" long run?

October 17, 2022
Nick Hancock

One of the most common questions I get from prospective and current clients, especially those who are time-crunched, is how long their longest run will be in training for an ultra

Many people are surprised when I say likely to be no longer than 20-22 miles!

Now, I do recommend a tune up race, however this is not a prerequisite

I often see off the shelf plans with 30-50 mile “peak” long runs that stick out like such a sore thumb that the runner puts a MASSIVE emphasis on the importance of this one particular run, and wrongly so. The important things to look at are:

- How much volume over the course of their plan have they done?.

Given that a good race training block should be done over multiple weeks and months, what significance does an extra 10 miles have in the grand scheme of hundreds of miles over the course of the training plan? Not much!

- Overall fitness trumps everything.

If you have been skipping runs here there and everywhere, a massive singular long run will not bail you out of jail

- The point of diminishing returns (or even detrimental returns) could be reached.

Running a long way takes a lot for most people to recover from and you could find that this exorbitantly long run, actually takes more out of you and you don’t have enough time to recover properly from it by race day

So don’t put so much emphasis on a singular long run in your training plan. Turn your focus to being consistent, spreading your volume out across the week and getting really fit!

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