3.The long run – the why and the how
Over the next few weeks of training, you will gradually build up mileage in your long runs.
The purpose of the long run is to increase your aerobic capacity and build endurance in your muscles and joints.
Early in training, runners will often say ‘I struggled on my 5-8km this morning, I don’t know how I am going to manage 21.1km’. This is where the long run comes in, by gradually building your mileage week by week, before you know it, that 5-8km will be your ‘easy’ session!
There are a few key points to follow to get the most out of your long run:
- Don’t run too fast. For the most part, long runs should be done slower than your intended race pace. Your pace for your long runs should be about 30 seconds to 1 minute/km slower than you plan to go on race day. Long run pace is often referred to as ‘conversational pace’ – this means you should be able to easily have a conversation while you are running.
- Use your long run to practice what you will be doing on race day – what you eat and drink beforehand or during the run, right down to what clothes you wear (to make sure they are comfortable and don’t chafe).
- Make your long run enjoyable. You will be spending a lot of time out there on long runs, so do everything you can to make them a fun and enriching experience. Bringing a friend (or two or three) is a great way to maintain ‘conversational pace’. Find a nice place to run and celebrate at the end – you deserve it!
Well done on your training so far.
Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing you out on the road!
Content by Shena Dale. Scarborough Physio & Health.