Long Term Running Training

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  • #5542
    Jeremy Ray

    When reading the Lore of Running by Tim Noakes, one thing I found to be interesting is that he repeatedly said that if you want to train to run a fast marathon, you need to first start by training for shorter distance races such as a 5K or 10K. Only once you had completed this training did he advocate for moving on to longer distances, because the shorter distance training would give a good speed base, as well as condition your legs to withstand the rigors of longer distances. My question is that in terms of training for alpinism is it better for the long term to start off by training for a 10K (more hills and intervals) and then transition into marathon style training (almost entirely easy runs), or to just go straight into the long marathon training? I’m 20 years old, so what I’m interested in is how to train effectively for long term results, as I still have many years of climbing ahead of me. Thanks.

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    Anonymous on #5550


    You need to decide if you want to train to run a fast marathon or to be fast on alpine climbs. Despite the fact that these two events share some common ground when it comes to having a good aerobic base; one is a relatively high speed event that for fast marathoners lasts for less than 2.5 hours while the other is much slower, longer and hence lower average intensity. Noakes is right that building leg speed and the specific running strength and economy with shorter events will probably make your transition to marathon training easier later. He’s basing this comment largely off his observation that while many middle distance (1500m) runners have made very successful transitions to 5-10km and finally the half and full marathoner no one has every moved down from the marathon to the 1500 or even the 10k and had high level success. Speed and economy are best developed while young.

    You need to ask yourself if you want spend the next several years working with a coach on running form and speed. Where are you now with your running? What are your running goals? How will you integrate them with your alpine goals.

    Alpinism is a high skill sport requiring a great many years of practice to achieve mastery off. Do this while training to break 15 min in the 5km will present you with many major challenges.

    I hope this helps,

    sambedell on #5563

    Hey Jeremy,

    I wonder if you’re asking how Noakes’ concept can/should be applied to an Alpinist in training? Based on what you and Scott said it seems like the Noakes concept would advocate climbing shorter and harder routes first and then progressing to longer climbs, like the runner building up to a marathon. Maybe the alpinist version of the runner example Scott gave would be that most people who start climbing by doing walk-up routes on Rainier and Denali are unlikely to eventually do cutting edge routes on technical faces. However, someone who starts by pushing their climbing grade at crags (i.e. using Anderson bros. Rock Climbers Training Manual) and then pushes their endurance is more likely to climb a futuristic mixed line on the Eiger North Face. Seems to me like both would need to train their weaknesses a lot if they were going to do a moderately technical route on a 7000m peak.

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