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DISTANCE WORKOUTS: Cumulative distance is the the foundation for peak run fitness, while long runs are the key to a successful marathon race day. Keep in mind that they are two quite different training techniques that shouldn't be confused. The goal of cumulative distance is fitness through frequency of workouts; long runs are about building tolerance for one very long race day.

The training load for both types of distance must be increased carefully. Unfortunately cumulative run distance is very taxing to your body over the long-term. While intensity work tends to stress muscles and tendons, the repetition involved with distance can cause wear and tear to joints.

Frequency of runs is without a doubt the way to find your best as a runner. Elite distance runners put in a lot of training time, typically at least 10-miles a day with two runs. The Kenyan runners who live nearby run hard in the morning, and jog in the afternoon for recovery.

Clearly for most of us two runs a day is impractical. Many years ago I tried two run days for a couple weeks and in the duathlon following my runs were the best ever. Eventually my body said no more and I had to back off. If you're a triathlete training for three sports, inevitably there will be plenty of days where you do two workouts. Another aerobic workout in addition to a run has much the same beneficial effect as second run.

Preparing for a marathon (or IronMan) requires long nonstop runs at or near expected time for your race, but at a lower effort level. The long runs need build distance gradually.

Training is all about stressing your body then adapting to the stress. The process is linear, so you must go through each step before moving on to the next. For new runners there's an initial period where your body toughens-up for the movement. Then the goal is to build weekly distance, and with each increase you need to re-assess how your body is holding up before moving to the next. Somewhere during the distance build process you should have added speedwork.

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