Distance or duration?
Here is a funny thing about running:
Some of the best training plans are prescribed nearly entirely in terms of duration.
But, we only race according to distances. (i.e. Hardly anyone does a one-hour race.)
Why should we train according to duration but race according to distance?
Well, first, a duration-based race would not be much fun to watch.
There would be a lot less drama because there is no finish line to gather around.
So, we won't see any duration-based races anytime soon.
Training according to duration is still optimal.
Training is all about methodically stressing the body and then recovering from that stress.
Let's consider a scenario.
Early in your training block you may run 10 easy miles in 90 minutes.
Later in your training, you are much fitter but you want to run the same workout.
What should you do?
1. Run for 10 miles at an easy intensity?
2. Run for more than 10 miles at an easy intensity?
3. Or, run for 90 minutes at an easy intensity?
The correct choice is option #3.
Why is this?
As you become fitter, your thresholds increase.
You will be running faster at that point but you will be accumulating the same amount of stress per minute of running.
The 90 minute run at the same easy intensity will produce the same amount of stress.
You may or may not cover more distance.
If the course is particularly windy or hilly, you may cover less distance than before, even though you would be running at a higher intensity for the same duration.
It is tempting to always think in terms of distance because we race according to distance, our watches report distance, and we take a lot of pride in the mileage we can run.
However, you should never try to exceed a certain distance or match a certain distance in training just because you ran it before.
You only need to run at the correct intensity for the correct duration to get the most of your training time.
Stryd makes it easy to measure stress with our Running Stress Score.
Our stress score considers your intensity, duration, and threshold.
Running power considers the extra demands of winds and hills so you can reach the right intensity in any running condition.
Plus, our stress score considers your changing fitness so you run at the right intensity for your current fitness.
When you combine these three factors, you can always reach your desired training stimulus.
If you want to start collecting running power data, you can order Stryd at the link below.