Long runs can help you run better from 10K to marathons and beyond. In contrast with other training sessions, such as hill or interval running, the long run is if fairly straightforward – put one foot in front of the other and stop when you reach 15-20 to miles per session – but its simplicity is elusive. In fact, the long run is the most critical single workout you can do. And here is why.
Long Runs Benefits
Long runs do several things:
– They give you endurance, thus you can run further with less fatigue;
– They help you burn fat as fuel. This is essential whether you’re trying to lose weight or to improve your long distance runs;
– Help you improve running economy;
– They give you ample time to work on honing your perfect running form;
– Reduce stress;
– They add a boost to your confidence. Stomaching a 15-mile long run before breakfast gives the sense that you can take on the world, business or health wise.
The length of the long run depends, for most part, on your fitness level, age, and the competitive distance you’re training for. The duration of the run can vary from 40 minutes for a novice runner to three hours for an elite athlete. Nevertheless, the general rule is ‘time is better measure than distance’; this means that the goal of the long run is not distance, but quality of time spent on your feet.
To do it right, your first long run should about one and a half to two times your normal run, then build it steadily by increasing time by no more than 10 minutes at a time. For instance, if the longest you’re running for is 30 minutes, aim for 45-minute run and gradually build it up to an hour. Every fourth week, recover by reducing the length of the run by 40-50 percent, then up the ante again the following week.
Take Walk Breaks
You don’t need to be afraid of taking walk breaks. In fact, doing so can help you build your endurance level without running the risk of injury or burnout. Continuing to run with discomfort or fatigue can lead to more agony, even worse, injury. As a result, add walking breaks into your workout in times of need. Your body is your best coach; listen to it and readjust your training approach accordingly.
When it comes to picking the right long distance speed, abiding to a conversational pace is the way to go – that is a speed at which you can talk and run without much huffing and puffing. There is no point in pushing too hard. Running long and fast can lead to a myriad of health problems, such as injury and overtraining. No need for that.
It’s simple. Don’t run long for more than once a week. Long runs are taxing to the body, thus requiring more recovery and rest days; otherwise expect injury, fatigue and burnouts. And always remember to take ample recovery.
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