General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Minimum Running Distance to be of any value Rss Feed  
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2013-07-29 2:43 PM

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Subject: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value

So I'm trying to increase my run frequency from 3x to 4x or 5x a week by spreading out the mileage.  Question:  how long does a run have to be for it to provide any training benefit?  Let's assume the WU and CD aren't part of the equation.

Yeah, I know.  "Too much thinky, not enough runny." -Scout7



2013-07-29 2:47 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Any training benefit for who? For an untrained runner, pretty much anything. For someone who typically runs 80 mpw, a 1mi run isn't going to do much.

How much are you running now? How often?
2013-07-29 3:27 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
I have no science to back it, but my min is 30min.

This is only based on the fact I did the ST 100 day/100 run challenge and made huge improvements. The minimum for the challenge was 30min.

So 30 min works. Maybe shorter would work also.
2013-07-29 3:30 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Stan Musial said run a mile every day.  He looked pretty good at 90.
2013-07-29 3:33 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value

As JohnnyKay said, it kind of depends where you're starting from.  From looking at your logs, it looks like you're averaging less than ten miles per week and have been somewhat inconsistent, which means you've got a lot of upside opportunity.

Personally I like to do at least a couple of miles to make it worthwhile from the standpoint of having to change clothes, take a shower afterwards, etc.

I applaud your efforts.  Best advice I can offer at this point is to build your mileage gradually and be consistent.

Mark

2013-07-29 3:37 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
It depends where you're starting from. On the comeback trail from injury I've had periods when my short runs are only 10 minutes.

If you're adding frequency then I'm sure that anything that is long enough to get you warmed up would contribute. So that might be just a mile or two. But if extending that to 3 or 4 miles would still have you feeling that the run was really straightforward, then no reason not to go that long.

I really like the ratios of runs in the BarryP 1-2-3 plan, where the shortest runs are generally around 1/3 of the longest run.


2013-07-29 8:38 PM
in reply to: #4816095

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
It also depends on your goals. Basic improvement in fitness? To complete a sprint? To PR at the half marathon?

On the one hand, I believe in the philosophy of "anything is better than nothing," if you have ten minutes to run, run for ten minutes vs. sitting on your butt.

On the other hand, only running ten minutes a day is unlikely to be sufficient to help you run a ten mile race.

I'd say that if you're running enough in your key workouts to make your race goals, then adding a few 1-2 mile runs in an attempt to safely build milage or tune up efficiency, or just because you want to stretch the legs would be constructive.
2013-07-30 5:38 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Spreading out 10 miles across 5 days isn't worth much in my opinion. I think there's great value in having one of your runs be closer to 10 miles, and slicing that into the BarryP 123 ratios means your weekly mileage would be over 30, which you aren't ready to do. To go from 10 to 30 safely should take a few months of adding 10% a week,. When you get to the 16 mile per week point, you can slice it into 5 days at 3 2 milers, 1 4 miler and 1 6 miler, which will put you in the mental groove of running five days a week. Tweak your way up til the recovery run is 3 or 4 miles and you're on your way. I pick 30 because in my experience, that's where you need to be to make improvements. Much less than that, or less frequency, and it's not enough.

Oh and promise us you won't try to run fast, or even close to race pace for any of those miles, please. Use the Macmillan pace calculator or something like it to determine where you should be at, but it's a lot slower than you would think. A lot. Check pride at the door! Grandma should be able to pass you comfortably.
2013-07-30 6:25 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Originally posted by jmhpsu93

So I'm trying to increase my run frequency from 3x to 4x or 5x a week by spreading out the mileage.  Question:  how long does a run have to be for it to provide any training benefit?  Let's assume the WU and CD aren't part of the equation.

Yeah, I know.  "Too much thinky, not enough runny." -Scout7




rather than mileage, I do time during the week in the lead-up to my HIM in October. the plan I am using calls for 3x a week (T, Th and Sat) - I adapted that to a 5x a week - adding the time together, and then I do 2 short runs, 2 medium runs and 1 long run

my shortest run at the beginning of the plan was like 10 minutes; now its about 18 and then I use a pace/interval trainer - set to 1min walk/3 min run - which right now comes out to about 10 minute miles, so far so good on my end

just another alternative you might consider
2013-07-30 6:43 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Any running will benefit the muscle groups but to be any benefit to your cardiovascular system, you need to have your heart beating relatively hard for at least 20 min.
2013-07-30 7:31 AM
in reply to: b2run

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value

Originally posted by b2run Any running will benefit the muscle groups but to be any benefit to your cardiovascular system, you need to have your heart beating relatively hard for at least 20 min.

What exactly does that mean?  If you're doing aerobic endurance training in Z2 (75% of LTHR) I wouldn't exactly call that "relatively hard".   And what's so special about 20 minutes? Don't recall ever hearing that before.

Mark

 



2013-07-30 8:37 AM
in reply to: RedCorvette

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
I've read too that running for less than 20 minutes has little endurance value. I believe it has to do with the adrenaline spike related to the fight or flight reaction. Once you get to about 20 minutes, the spike subsides and the run begins to have endurance value. It was a long time ago though, so I may be incorrect on the reasoning. I know I don't feel like I'm "running" or in a rhythm until about 15 minutes (1-2 miles) into a run.

I was running back from a little knee pain earlier in the year and I would run 1/2 mile to a mile to start with. They didn't have much endurance value, but they were helpful for building the muscle and joint back up again. Shorter runs have their place, but about 20 mins is the minimum time for any "endurance" training value. I would also add that running 10 minutes or 15 minutes is much better than not running at all, so I guess the minimum distance is really none. :-)

I have just Googled for the study, but I can't find it now. I'll post it later if I do.
2013-07-30 8:57 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
3 miles or about 30 minutes would be my opinion. That said, it really does depend on your running goals. For example, if you are looking at a longer distance race such as a marathon, then running 3 miles several times a week would probably be less effective than running once or twice at a greater distance. If you are concentrating on 5k's or sprint distance triathlons, then 3 miles might be more sufficient.
2013-07-30 8:59 AM
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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
this doesn't exactly play into what we are talking about, but I came across it while trying to find an article about the minimum 20 minutes

it talks about the run stage of the triathlon and doing the first km 5% slower than overall pace actually improved performance over the longer distance - admittedly it was a small sample group - 10 male well-trained triathletes...I'm going to try and get my hands on the full article

ETA - http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-009-1322-0(helps if I post the link...)

Edited by austhokie 2013-07-30 9:00 AM
2013-07-30 9:46 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value

Maintaining fitness is akin to blowing up a balloon with a hole in it.

 

 

hmmm.  i may change my sig to that line.  

2013-07-30 9:51 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value

I restarted training earlier this year with 10 miles per week but tried my best to run 6x per week using the BarryP 3-2-1 plan.  The 1+ mile run was short but I usually coupled it with something else such as swimming, warm up for bike trainer, or even walking the dog. What I found running more per week is that the pesky calf issues I usually have stopped being an issue.

Now that the family vacation is over, and found out I cannot do the local fall tri due to business trip, I'm going to focus on a Century ride in Nov but want would like to keep running about 15 miles per week.  I broke down the 6x vs. 5x vs. 4x per week runs as follows. I'm looking at doing 4x or 5x per week and use the short run as a warm up for the trainer rides and mid runs as trail runs with the dog (which he loves!).

Type6x (3-2-1)5x4x
mid3.0

3.3 (22%)

3.75 (25%)

short1.51.5 (10%)2.25 (15%)
long4.55.0 (33%)5.25 (35%)
short1.51.5 (10%) 
mid3.0

3.75 (25%)

3.75 (25%)

short1.5  
 totals15.015.015.0


2013-07-30 11:06 AM
in reply to: b2run

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
I'll echo the 20 minutes statement. Coming from a science background I will also mention that it is good to do some short builds says 2-8x15-60 seconds of building efforts, or sustained efforts at threshold. This helps stimulate your nervous system, and also covers all three energy systems that you body draws upon, although unless you are sprinting for a 100-200 meters all out you are still really only utilizing portions of your oxidative system, they key really is to stimulate your nervous system.
2013-07-30 11:06 AM
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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value


Edited by bcagle25 2013-07-30 11:06 AM
2013-07-30 11:24 AM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Originally posted by bcagle25

I'll echo the 20 minutes statement. Coming from a science background I will also mention that it is good to do some short builds says 2-8x15-60 seconds of building efforts, or sustained efforts at threshold. This helps stimulate your nervous system, and also covers all three energy systems that you body draws upon, although unless you are sprinting for a 100-200 meters all out you are still really only utilizing portions of your oxidative system, they key really is to stimulate your nervous system.


out of curiosity - do you have any research articles to expland on this/explain it - i'm curious and not finding anything in my searches
2013-07-30 12:22 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
This is exactly what I do six days a week, at least 20min running around in the dark w/ a bag of papers over my shoulder. When long longs fit into my week, I do not struggle, recover quickly and feel great. It is building a big base of running time.....better then driving my car, parking my car deliver a paper, driving my car, parking my car, delivering a paper..

My distance is not the goal, time running , saving my car, having alittle fun while getting paid.

pb
2013-07-30 12:24 PM
in reply to: Paper Boy

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value

I believe all running distances have value, you just need to define the purpose.

If the purpose is just simply recovery, often a very short easy jog is enough.

If the purpose is race prep, getting your legs ready for fast turnover, a few bouts of 200 meter strides are enough.



2013-07-30 12:34 PM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Originally posted by bcagle25

I'll echo the 20 minutes statement. Coming from a science background I will also mention that it is good to do some short builds says 2-8x15-60 seconds of building efforts, or sustained efforts at threshold. This helps stimulate your nervous system, and also covers all three energy systems that you body draws upon, although unless you are sprinting for a 100-200 meters all out you are still really only utilizing portions of your oxidative system, they key really is to stimulate your nervous system.


Yes, please provide the science behind this. I think we'd like the science that shows how anything measured in seconds builds our running ability and fitness, not something that shows comparable glucose levels in lab rats.
2013-07-30 3:36 PM
in reply to: austhokie

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
Originally posted by austhokie

Originally posted by bcagle25

I'll echo the 20 minutes statement. Coming from a science background I will also mention that it is good to do some short builds says 2-8x15-60 seconds of building efforts, or sustained efforts at threshold. This helps stimulate your nervous system, and also covers all three energy systems that you body draws upon, although unless you are sprinting for a 100-200 meters all out you are still really only utilizing portions of your oxidative system, they key really is to stimulate your nervous system.


out of curiosity - do you have any research articles to expland on this/explain it - i'm curious and not finding anything in my searches


Go to your local library and check out any book on exercise physiology, strength and conditioning, or refer to any running coach with a bit of experience.

But what would I know I only spent 3 years at university studying this stuff, working in the human performance lab, working as a personal trainer and having spent the past 4-5 years training with several elite/pro triathletes.
2013-07-30 3:44 PM
in reply to: fisherman76

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Subject: RE: Minimum Running Distance to be of any value
"Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning" Vol 3. Pages 499-500, Chapter 18: Aerobic Endurance Exercise Training
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