Sometimes life gets in the way of training and workouts, and something has to give. Yesterday was one of those days! I had 8 miles on the plan with a 1 mile warm up, 6 miles at 8:41, and a 1 mile cool down. With my husband working late, I had to squeeze the workout in at a different time of day. My awesome mother in law offered to come over and babysit so I could squeeze in a run.
That being said, I only had about an hour to get in my run at the gym. I knew that going to the gym and doing 8 miles and being back in time to pick up my oldest after school wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t move the workout to tomorrow because I have my long run on Saturday morning. Solution: I decided to run 5 yesterday and 3 today.
While I was mulling over splitting up the workout, I decided to do some research to solve this age-old problem among runners! Clearly my mid-week 8 miler isn’t exactly a long run, and the inability to get it in was an issue of time not other factors. However, there are some times that you may consider splitting up a long run, since they can be a time drain!
So, what’s the verdict– is splitting up a workout good or bad? The answer is it depends. Most often it’s the long runs that people thing about splitting. While it’s tempting to split up a long run, I think it’s important to recognize that it prepares you not only physically for a longer race, but also mentally. In my opinion, most of distance running is mental. Of course you have to be in shape, but it’s your mind that conquers your body telling you to stop after a certain time period. There comes a time in a long run when you really just feel like packing it in, but it’s your mental toughness that prevents your from quitting early.
However, the time you spend out on a long run can obviously vary tremendously when we consider pace. For example, a person running a 10 minute mile would take 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete a 20 mile run, while a person running 8 minute miles would take 2 hours and 40 minutes. A 40 minute difference is pretty large when we are talking about being on your feet on a long run! There’s much debate on how long long runs should last in terms of the risk for overuse injuries and physical stress on the body. This article gives you some great advice on when you should consider splitting a long run based on your experience and projected finish times. I think Rick Morris does a good job laying out the pros and cons of splitting up a run and how to split it if you do.
I have personally not split up long runs, but I have only gone up to 16 miles. Have you ever split up your long runs? How did it work out for your training plan and race finish?