The long run should be the anchor to every runner’s weekly training plan. This is because it helps to condition the muscles to delay the onset of muscle fatigue, something very important to the long distance runner.
During the long run, the number of mitochondria and capillaries in active muscles increases, therefore improving those muscles’ ability to remove and utilise available oxygen. On top of this, the long run recruits muscle fibres that would otherwise sit unused. By recruiting these fibres, you ensure a greater pool of conditioned fibres that may be called upon in the later stages of a long race.
When done at a suitable intensity, the long run forms the much-needed base that will condition your body and allow it to handle greater training loads and to recover more efficiently.
Tips To Train For Long Distance Runs
With this in mind, here are some things to take note of when you are training for an endurance event.
Never miss your long run. The long run is the anchor of your weekly training plan and should not be missed. If you do miss your long run, it is recommended that you replace the next shorter run with it.
Run at a steady intensity. Steady intensity (conversational pace) running keeps you in a better state for burning fat and also conserves your much needed glycogen stores. These stores are used immediately for recovery and immune system balance. If you find that you are unable to breathe easily or talk freely during your long run, make it a point to slow down to a comfortable level.
Do your long runs based on time rather than distance. The purpose of a long run is to show your body time on your feet. The conditioning effect is similar whether you run low or high intensity, so it would be a better choice to run it at a lower intensity to not over-fatigue yourself. With over-fatigue you will take longer to recover and lose quality in your subsequent workouts.
It’s All About Balance
We stand on the shoulders of some brilliant researchers and past running greats, who through their own research and practical experience have given us a very good idea how volume and intensity of training should be manipulated to bring out the best in any endurance athlete.
It’s all about balance, and in the long run, as an endurance athlete, you will definitely feel the benefit of dedicating time to long runs at a steady pace.
Training for the upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012? Watch this space as Journey Fitness Company will be delivering more tips to help you train to reach your target. To register for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012, please visit www.marathonsingapore.com