Originally Posted by mprevost
Very, very few people are that time limited. How much TV do most people watch? It does not take much time to run reasonably high mileage. You could run nearly 40 miles per week on 4 weekly runs of 1 hour and a long run on the weekend. Easy. And if you are moderately fast, 40+ in that same time frame. Too many people use the "I don't have time" excuse and end up training sub-optimally. Of course, correlation does not equal causation but we would all be fools to dismiss what successful runners are doing. A volume based approach works well, especially for beginners.
In the unusual and unlikely circumstance that someone only has 30 minutes, 3 times per week to train, then I agree, they should run HARD but they should not kid themselves by thinking that this is just as good as a higher volume program.
High volume is "optimal" only if you're doing it right. And by "optimal" I mean it can give you the extra few % gain.
You can get 95% of the gains with less volume. Diminishing returns. My main point was that what is most important is that whatever you are doing, you do it with intention and methodically push yourself and progress. if you can systematically increase your pace while running for 1 hour, go for it. Personally, its easier for me systematically progress when I'm monitoring myself doing 6 min intervals and 20-30 min race pace runs. Then the third day, I run longer, but I'm not at race pace because I wouldn't be able to sustain that week to week (freaking painful). Just too annoying.
The person that progresses on shorter runs will be stronger than the person who runs more volume but with less intention all the time.
On the amount of time, for most people it is simply more sustainable in the long term to prescribe a program that takes up less time. If most people just want to run a great (not "optimal") 10K time, they can get it without high volume. They should add more if they want, but why tell them it can't be done without volume? That's false.
And most people on this forum are pretty into weights, which sucks up time. People can't figure out how to program both. Frankly, I just try to get the best of both worlds by being efficient. And my efficiency has brought results that are pretty darn good, better than most high volume runners and high volume weightlifters.