What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

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What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Darcy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:11 am

So, I began running a few weeks ago! I.e. I'm very new to this... My general fitness level is pretty high from other activities but I've never been a runner.

I signed up for a 10k on November 6th to have something to aim/train for.

The programmes that tell you how to do this tend to have 1 long, 1 short, and 1 speed or hill work run per week.

On Saturday I accidentally ran 7.5k and found it to be very pleasant and do-able! Now I just want to go for (what are for me) 'long' runs. So I did 5k this morning even though my programme says 2k. 5k was more fun! Also, it's easiest to find people to run with for around 5-6k and I like the company.

SO I am wondering what is the point in that shorter run? Is it kind of like an active recovery/rest? Do I need to do them? I'm guessing yes because ALL programmes have them... but why? Or maybe it only really matters when I get to tougher distances?
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Konstantin » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:31 am

Not too sure about that run, but I'm less convinced by it. I think the idea is active rest and extra mileage, but I'm thinking it's not important.

Recently the demands on my time changed and I now have less oportunity to get out during the week. I'm doing one long run at the weekend, one speed session midweek, and I think it works really well. I have plenty of energy so am pushing the speed up on the long runs and giving it plenty on the speedwork. I cross train upper body sometimes, but that's it on the legs.

Give it a try, I think everyone is different and things don't always work the same for each of us. If you feel happier on two runs, just do two runs. Other people will run a mileage far in excess of my weekly one, over 5-6 runs per week, that would never work for me.
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Darcy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:46 pm

Hmm thanks Konstantin!

I think 'do what makes you happy' is good advice - after all, that's why I'm doing it, right?

On the other hand what I like about running is how precisely you can measure your progress/compete with yourself, so I do want to do some of the right things ;-)
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby fredrikw » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:49 pm

Now I'm not a runner, but can't it have something to do with keeping up a frequency in training? Training two times a week compared to three times a week might make a big difference, but in an early stage of training, doing three focused runs (long distance or interval) a week might be too much?
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Darcy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:37 pm

Thanks fredrikw 8) I imagine training for cycling must be similar in many ways to training for distance running?

I'm happy with the three runs a week - I'm just wondering if one has to be a shorter/easier run to maximise improvement?

I do see the benefits of the speed work (although I struggle to make myself go out and do it!).
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Konstantin » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:03 pm

[quote="fredrikw"]in an early stage of training, doing three focused runs (long distance or interval) a week might be too much?


Yes. Overdoing it is easily done.

[quote="Darcy"]
I do see the benefits of the speed work (although I struggle to make myself go out and do it!).


Stick with the speedwork and learn to enjoy it. It's essential. Mix it up, with short and long rests and long and short intervals, eg

10 x 100m off a 30 sec rest
10 x 100m off a 1 min rest
5 x 800m off a 50 s rest
5 x 800m off a 2:30 rest.

Write down your times, so you can see progress. Maybe try different things to make it more fun, like training with a partner or club. Failing that using an ipod and getting to certain points before the track ends.

I devised a random running work out dependent on 2 dice, which I never used (yet). Partway down here (viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16086&start=15) I listed a load of different speed methods, dunno if they're helpful.
You can see my training log if you're really bored: [url]www.veganfitness.net/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16086&start=360[/url]
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby MikayP » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:00 am

was the shorter run one of the 3 runs of your week? unless it was a recovery week, it may have been wasted. if it was however a short run in between two days of harder runs, then its ok.

that 3 runs a week method you talked about is kinda what i go for during good training. gets the speed, strength, and endurance very effectively without junk
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Darcy » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:24 am

Thanks all!

Konstantin, I will definitely take a look at your speed work link.

I'm sure the sooner I start doing it regularly the sooner I will start to enjoy it.

I don't have any way of measuring distance and usually do time - perhaps I could run tree to tree in the park ;-)
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby skoptic » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:17 am

Good work Darcy ... glad you're enjoying it :-)

Sorry to chime in late and agree with what was said above. It sound like you know what you're doing and yes those 3 main runs are the basis of most training plans (but I'd call them long, speed & tempo).

Yeah sounds like a couple of K is to short, probably the plan might have that for starter runners who need their muscles & tendons to get used to running (a lot of injuries are from people overdoing it early on because their aerobic fitness increases quicker than muscle / tendon ability to deal with the miles).

But if you're going for a good time ... make sure you're burning in and out of your anaerobic threshold during your speedwork (increasing threshold), pushing hard "race tempo" for sections of your tempo run (speed endurance) & then getting the K in for the long run (aerobic development & strength). Although listen to your body and don't overdo it even if you are very fit.... it's the muscles/tendons rather than the heart than will need to be acclimatised. Have fun!
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Re: What's the point in short/'pull-back' runs?

Postby Darcy » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:01 am

[quote="skoptic"]Good work Darcy ... glad you're enjoying it :-)

Yeah sounds like a couple of K is to short, probably the plan might have that for starter runners who need their muscles & tendons to get used to running (a lot of injuries are from people overdoing it early on because their aerobic fitness increases quicker than muscle / tendon ability to deal with the miles).


Hmmmm yeah apparently I don't use my hip flexors in any other activity as these are where I'm sore!! I find this kind of surprising/funny.

Could someone explain a little more about the 'tempo run'? What sort of distance would you run at race-tempo in comparison to your actual race?

Thanks!
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