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Question of the Week: Fast or Long?

Posted Mar 15 2009 3:15pm

Seems to be two trains of thought when it comes to running: being fast or going the distance.

Many runners can’t do both. Unless you are an Olympic marathoner like Paula Radcliffe, chances are you are either running long distances at a regular pace or short distances pretty quickly.

I like to say, “I can’t run far but I sure go slowly!”

All kidding aside, my strength seems to be my ability to run distances, but I have been working on the ability to go quickly and the efforts have paid off. I’ve been able to shave at least a minute and a half off of my time since starting after the birth of my second daughter. Race day I’m going about two minutes faster per mile. I’m happy with those results, but I don’t think I could keep up an 8:20 pace for 26.2 miles. My body would drop at about mile 8.

I think we all have our preferences, too. While I have always loved the distance, I’m getting more infatuated with the speed. Still, I can’t go fast for a long time, so I have to say my preference is still a longer run. But in longer, I’m finding that 10-13 miles is best for me; not 20. I enjoy marathons, love training, and will do more of them, but it is hard work for me to go that far. Right now it is a matter of lack of training time - going out for an hour and a half run is much easier than going out for a three hour run.

So my question of the week for you is: Are you a distance runner or a speedster?

This week I’ll talk a little about developing your body for speed and/or distance, depending on where you are now and where you want to be. Oftentimes those running shorter distances want to go longer and those going longer want to go longer faster.

My run today will consist of going with my daughter in the stroller since husband has an odd work schedule this week. I’ll head out as soon as we drop my other daughter off at school. I’m only planning to do four, since the stroller is heavy and not very comfortable. My running will be back on track after today, so I don’t mind doing a shorter one on a day that should be a bit longer.

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