I have an 18-mile trail race coming up on November 19th. Right now I know that I can cover that distance... if I'm not injured.
So what I have been doing is trying to run 3 miles every Tuesday and Thursday, and throw in a longish run on the weekend depending on how I feel. The 3 mile runs are run at whatever speed I feel. I do encourage myself to run them a little faster though.
The long runs are slow. The perfect average pace for me on them is somewhere between 10:30 to 11:00 minutes per mile.
"If you undertrain, you may not finish, but if you overtrain, you may not start." - Stan Jenson
Is this safe? How am I supposed to run 18 miles if I haven't trained for it? My marathon-running-junkie friend Mitch printed me out this article in which the coach encouraged his athlete to do more short runs and less-frequent long runs. The result? A PR in a marathon and no injuries.
This minimalist(in thought and running) training program seems to be working well for me and I am going to stick to it until the race.