Running Slowly Will Get You There Faster
The long run is a significant part of training in order to increase endurance in preparation for any long distance race. Despite it’s low intensity, it’s one of the toughest and most basic training components in the program of an endurance runner. Long runs help the body use energy more efficiently enabling muscles to burn fat and produce energy. This is very useful in endurance runners since this reduces the consumption of glycogen from the muscles enabling them to use it later when energy levels are low.
The long run which is performed at a lower pace simultaneously helps to transfer energy and oxygen to the working muscles while removing the substances such lactic acid. It also increases the number and size of mitochondria (micro organisms responsible for aerobic energy production cells).
Here are a few simple tips on how to integrate long runs into your training schedule without jeopardizing injuries
Start with a distance that is comfortable for you. Gradually increase the duration by up to 10 minutes every time. This will help your body to become accustomed to the changes. For non marathon runners we suggest that the duration should not exceed 90 minutes.
Select your Running Buddies
Choose running partners that run at your pace. Listen to your body, the goal here is not to increase your speed, rather it’s to build endurance. Running with partners who are much faster than you can lead to injuries in some cases even fatigue syndrome.
Plan your Long Run
More experienced runners can do the long run every 7 to 10 days, less experienced every 2 weeks. It’s important not to do a long run too close to an event. We suggest an interval of at least two weeks before and 5 days after the race, even if you’re a regular runner.
Heart Rate while Running
The proper intensity for a long run should be the one in which your body works with purely aerobic adjustments. Your heart rate should be between 65% to 80% of your max HR (heart rate). If you’re into gadgets, you can use a heart rate monitor as you run.
For optimum performance you should get used to drinking fluids while you run. A dehydration rate of only 2% can result in up to 20% decrease in your performance so make sure that you're taking something in!
The most misunderstood part of the training. Dedicate 10 to 15 minutes after your long run to do some strides (medium intensity) for example 6 x 60 metres & and of course stretching. Insufficient recovery can lead to injuries, stress, even fatigue. This can make all the difference.
Be sure to eat a meal consisting of proteins & carbohydrates the night before a morning or on the day of the run if you’re running later in the day. As part of your recovery, you should consume sugars and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of completing your run, for example bananas, or your favorite bar.
This article was written by the Wolves Running Camp team. The Wolves Running Camp offers an all inclusive running retreat in the most beautiful & untouched of all the Greek islands guided by professional ultra runner Dimitris Kehayioglou. Find more about them at http://www.wolvesrunningcamp.com/.