Long Run Laps

Having skipped my long run on Sunday after a few hard runs Thursday to Saturday I set off in trepidation after work tonight with the intention of catching up. This would be one of my last long runs prior to my marathon on the 3rd of July.


Running after work hasn’t gone well for me in the past and I was nursing a mild dose of man flu so I resigned myself to splitting my long run (22 miles) in two this week. The thinking is that by running twice within a relatively short timeframe (ideally less than 12 hours) I’d be getting a similar benefit to one continuous long run. This is something I’ve experimented with a couple of times during my training for the Orkney marathon. For me:


  1. It works better for my schedule in that I don’t have to be out for 3 hours
  2. It is preparing me better for my ultra at the end of the year – long run back to backs seem to be the done thing


The proof will really be in the pudding so to speak as my two longest runs have followed this pattern meaning my longest continuos run sits at around 19 miles rather than the 22 my plan recommended.


Tonight I headed out from work with the idea of trying something new – laps instead of my conventional out and back or loop. Inspired by Steve Way, one of the UK’s top ultra runners, who thinks nothing of completing the marathon distance around a 400 metre track the plan was to run somewhere between 12 and 22 miles around Queens Park. 22 would obviously mean I’d reached my long goal target and would not need to run in the morning. Anything less and I’d have to make up the shortfall tomorrow.


It is approx 3 miles to the park from work – these downhill miles allowed me to settle into a nice early sub 8 minute mile pace prior to my planned lap route. I was unsure of the exact distance around the park but at the end of lap 1 (around the full perimeter) I calculated the distance at around 1.6miles. The plan was to do somewhere between 4 and 12 (the latter being extremely unlikely).


As each lap passed I became more and more conscious that people were probably wondering what the heck I was doing but I was surprised to see a good number of runners on more than one occasion – including one guy on at least four laps 🙂


The outcome of the experiment – I managed 6.5 laps to come in at a little over 15 miles tonight meaning I need to tick off another 7 miles in the morning. All in the laps worked well – it was nice to be close to home in the event that I needed to break off the run early if the man flu flared up and it helped clocking off the laps and having target points to check off. Definitely something to think about in the future. I took on a small amount of water (couple of gulps) every two laps or 5 km which is something I’d consider replicating on the marathon. The laps helped to monitor my fluid intake and the gradual undulation around the park sets me up for a hillier than anticipated course in Orkney.


On the downside when it got tough I was able to just stop close to home rather than being 6 miles away and being forced to run home. Overall though I was pleased to get 15 miles in and stick at approx 8 minute mile pace.


Onwards to my next experiment. I’m planning to run close to home again and change trainers half way through my run. One of the random thoughts that kept me going tonight. I’d like to run part of the marathon in my racing shoes as these are the comfiest trainers I own but I’d be less keen to run a full marathon in them as they don’t offer a great amount of support. Has anyone got experience of a tyre change for their feet during a run?



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