It took me till the absolute last day of December, but I was able to keep my long run streak alive. I now have done a run of at least 20 miles in 38 straight months. Here’s my favorite chart updated through 2022.
My simplistic theory on ultrarunning is that in order to be good at running long distances then you need to run long distances. I settled on 20 miles as a “long distance” to track and it works well as a base long training run. It typically takes me 3-4 hours depending on whether I’m running roads or trails and how much I’m pushing the effort. Overall, it’s a good workout, but not something that takes me more than a day or so to recover from.
Standard advise is to match up the training to the race surface so trail for trail and road for road. There are times where I’ll follow this (i.e. prepping for Eastern States), however most of the time I’ll just run what I feel like running. Twenty miles is twenty miles after all.
This streak started organically. It wasn’t until I was about 2 years into that I even realized I had a monthly streak of long runs going. November was probably the first month that I kinda forced a long run to keep the streak going. I had decided not to run Mason Dixon Shortest Day so didn’t really need to log one from a training standpoint. I had plenty of time over the Thanksgiving weekend though so headed out for a 3+ hour run.
2022 ended up being tied for the fewest number of 20 milers since I started running. I don’t sit down and plan these out at the beginning of the year. At this point, they’re more a function of the time available during the training blocks between races. Last year seemed to have a race every month or so resulting in minimal or nonexistent training blocks. There were months were I barely had time to recover from my last race before my next one was upon me. And I’m not going to go do a 20 mile run just to do a 20 mile run. The benefit of racing as frequently as I do is that the races themselves are good training for my next race.
This year will likely be back up to the 20-23 range as I have a couple extended periods between races. This should give me the opportunity to string together multiple consecutive weeks with long runs. That is if I want to take advantage of my schedule. There’s an equal likelihood that I end up only doing a couple here and there. It’ll all depend on what I want to do. If I get motivated to ramp up my training, then I’ll do a couple extra 20 milers. And if I’m not in the mood, then I’ll just do my normal 7-8 milers instead.