Meb for Mortals (Part 2): Training

As promised, here is the next installment of my ‘Meb for Mortals’ summary … Training.


There was a lot of good information in this chapter and I tried to pick out things that really stuck out to me (i.e., things that I probably don’t always do or needed to be reminded of or just things that I thought were interesting).

  • It is better to be undertrained than overtrained. We have to learn to tell the difference between acceptable short-term fatigue and the lingering fatigue that can lead to performance decreases and injury. One of the most challenging things about marathon training can definitely be getting to the start line healthy.
  • You should leave a workout being able to do more. Save the racing for race day. Any guys out there reading this? That one is for you 🙂
  • Always based your training goals on where you are now. Don’t try to mimic what you read or hear others are doing – you don’t know how long it took them to get to that level. By regularly aiming a little higher, you can keep progressing. This one is definitely tough. It is so easy to compare yourself to others or to where you were at a different time or stage in life, but that won’t change where you are now. All you can do now is keep putting in the hard work and be your best self today.
  • Perhaps more than any other sport, running rewards regularity. Implicit in patiently making small amounts of progress is training consistently. If you struggle with consistency, get some training partners. Making yourself accountable to others is a sign of commitment. I highly, highly recommend training with other people! Running with other people has totally transformed my running.
  • Most elite runners run twice a day most days of the week. Doing so is a better way to run high mileage than aiming for the same volume one run a week, because you space out the pounding and can get more of a training effect. You lower your injury risk because you are spreading out the pounding over the course of the day. Another good day for doubling is a recovery day. In a situation where you are doing a track workout on a Tuesday night after work, and then getting up early the next morning to run 10 miles before work. That’s cramming a lot of work into a short period of time.
  • If you are getting ready for a longer race, such as a half or a marathon, then he doesn’t suggest doing a lot of doubles until you are running at least 55 miles per week, because for those type of races you want the strength that comes from longer once-a-day runs.
  • You’ll make greater gains in fitness by mixing things up, with different days having different emphases, as opposed to running the same distance and same pace every run. Variety in how far and how hard you run keeps things interesting, meaning that you’ll be more motivated to be consistent. Running faster some days and slower will mean that you will run with slightly different form. Running longer some days and shorter others will mean that on some days you will have less pounding. Running hilly courses some days and flatter courses others, or on hard surfaces some days and soft surfaces others, will cause you to use different muscles. Reducing the repeated stress is the key to reducing injury.
  • The various types of runs that he does (or has done at some point over the course of his career) are the following: long runs, tempo runs, interval workouts, recovery runs, fartleks, striders, hill repeats and altitude training.
  • In a good marathon training cycle, he recommends getting several runs of more than 20 miles and building your long run by a couple of miles each week so that by race day, you’ve gone longer than 20 miles a few times.
  • Long runs are primarily about covering the distance and should leave you pleasantly tired, but not exhausted. You shouldn’t feel beat up the day after your long run. He recommends taking at least 1 recovery day after, where you run easy without a lot of soreness or stiffness. Long runs are important even if you’re not training for a marathon. All runners benefit from improving their endurance.
  • Key workouts aren’t assigned a specific day of the week. They should be done on the days that make the most sense in conjunction with the rest of your schedule. The important thing is to allow recovery days between them – don’t follow a long run with an interval workout, or a tempo run with a long run.

Good stuff! Hopefully you learned something or read something that you needed to be reminded of.

Gotta run!

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