I don’t think you’ll lose much.
If you’re training for an ultra, then “durability training” (via long sessions) is an important part. But if you’re training for a shorter event, then there won’t be much downside.
Occasionally, I don’t have the time to make it out to local trails and get in the required 50% of weekly totals in a single session as required by the training plan. When this happens, I’ll split it into two medium long runs where I’ll do 30% on Saturday and 20% on Sunday or even do it all in a single day by splitting it into an early morning and another evening session. I know it’s not ideal, but am curious as to how much I’m losing when doing this?
Posted In: General Training Discussion
From which source do you have the information that the long run should be 50 % of weekly totals? In the book “up to 40 %” is the highest I can find.
Also, in the example plans it looks like you should rather do the shorter run first and then do the longer run.
Ha! Good point. I should have been clearer. What I meant is that there’s no magic number. You can never be too fit or have too much aerobic capacity. So calling it quits at 40% just because a plan says so may not be the best approach if you can do more. (But don’t force it if you can’t.)
I think you’ll be fine. This is one of the “art of coaching” pieces. It’s still important to get a handful of long runs so you can practice fueling and get used to the impact over long bouts of time, but if you can’t get it in each week you can certainly do what you’re doing. There’s a good training effect no matter which approach you use, but it’s helpful to know the goal. If you have shorter runs you could use the first one as a faster workout, and then do a second moderate run either later in the day or the next day. I’ll generally go that route if the athlete can’t get one long run in, so that they start the second run with some fatigue in their legs, and they can get a quality workout in as well.