The long run is the staple to any training program. In fact it is one of the most important runs of the week. The benefits of the long run are both mental and physical as your prepare for race day.
From a mental standpoint, the long run helps build confidence. Confidence in yourself, your running and your ability to get to that finish line. You also learn to handle discomfort and while finding out what you are capable of if you keep going.
Physically the long run forces your body to adapt to the training. It’s about the time spent on your feet and building endurance. Some training plans will incorporate tempo work at goal race pace but for the most part, your long run should be done at the sub-maximal level. Think about conversation pace—or anywhere from 30-90 seconds slower than your normal running pace. When you slow down, you’re training aerobically and the body relies less on burning carbohydrates and relies more on burning fat for energy. Running at conversation pace, we can train our bodies to stay in that aerobic zone longer before crossing over to anaerobic where no oxygen is available and we start to build lactic acid.
5 Tips to Help You Survive the Long Run:
- Map out a route ahead of time.
- Bring hydration and fuel.
- Find a buddy.
- If you’re having a bad day, accept that you’re having a bad day.
- Patience is key. Pace yourself and take it one mile at a time.
Good luck out there! Happy running!
Blog post by Jen Skiba.
About Coach Jen Skiba
Jen began her running career as a middle-distance runner for Falmouth High School and has been involved with the sport for over 12 years as a runner, official, race management, and coach. A Mashpee Fitness trainer and Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Jen enjoys working with runners in the gym and on the roads. “Whether you are a beginner looking to get started running or at the intermediate level hoping to improve your times or tackle new distances, I can help you reach your goals!”