Hal Higdon

Got a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World and author of 34 books, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.

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Dividing Long Runs

QUESTION: I am training for my first marathon and was wondering if you can break up the long runs? For instance if I don't have time for 15 miles at once, can I do 10 miles in the morning and 5 miles at night? Does it matter if I run the miles continuously? Will this approach be less effective?

HAL’S ANSWER: The moment marathon race directors allow you to run 13.1 in the morning, then 13.1 in the afternoon after a lunch break, subtracting the delay from your finishing time, then sure, you can break your long runs in half. But seriously, it doesn’t work that way. Yes, there are some benefits to be had from the total mileage run in a single day, but not as much as if that mileage came in a single workout. The most important benefit is the ability to run for 15 or more miles without stop. Breaking the workout in half defeats that purpose. I might even suggest that the benefits in a four-hour run don’t come until after you have run three or more of those hours. Only then will you begin to experience the fatigue felt in the closing miles. Doing a long run of whatever distance conditions you for the physical challenge you will encounter in the marathon itself.

Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans. Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here or on his website

This is the new home of "Q&A with Hal Higdon"! This column was recently moved from its previous address at http://askhalhigdon.tumblr.com, where archived Q&A's can still be found.

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Reader Comments (1)

I knew in the back of my mind this was the answer and what the answer I would tell someone if asked but boy was I hoping you were going to say that double runs are close to the same as one long run.

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeff

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