I've read many articles on this subject (most notably one from Pfitzinger in Running Times) and have disussed the issue with a few coaches and competetive distance runners. It was been a long held belief that long runs should be done at 65 - 80% of maxHR pace to efficiently stimulate aerobic development with minimal stress on the body.
However, some of you may have noticed that Khannouchi, one of the greatest marathoners who has ever lived, doen't seem to follow this mantra. He runs much of his long run at close to marathon pace and even finishes them off at much faster than marathon pace. This seems to fly in the face of conventional training regimens.
I had intended on going a little more in depth into this subject, but as I did a little research to get my facts straight, I came across a nice article that does a really nice job explaining the concept of the faster long run. To continue would become nothing short of plagarism on my part.
The only additions I'll make is to always keep in mind what the focus of your workout is. For most triathletes, a 20 mile run with 10 of it a MP will be counter productive, much like a Khannouchi long run would be for us mere mortals. They're often too stressfull and require too much recovery time. However, a 14 miler with the last 4 at MP might be realistic. However, you might be running that in place of an 18 mile easy run. Based on your level of fitness and you racing goals, you will need to determine for yourself which is more important for you on a given weekend and what you think your body is going to respond to more at the time.
Much like The Zatopek Paradox where I suggested examining phenoms of the past but to use caution when looking into their training, I aslo suggest the same when looking at today's top elites. Many of the same concepts the elites use do apply to us, but rarely in the quantities, proportions, or speeds. It's not as simple as just evenly scaling down one of their programs. In my opinion, certain foundations need to be established in newer runners before moving on to more advanced workouts, though there is nothing wrong with a little experimentation.
Anyway, check out the link and hopefully we can open a training discussion on the subject.
Constructive comments are always welcome. ; ^ )
Being a dick isn't! >= (
-----------------------------Baron Von Speedypants
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