Long runs are a staple of almost all training plans for runners, whether you’re training for a 5K or a marathon. They improve your stamina and aerobic endurance, which are the building blocks for a runner who wants to learn to run faster over longer distances.
What is considered a “long run”?
A “long run” is relative: what one person may consider a long run may be an easy run for another. It’s usually one and a half to two times longer than your average weekly run. The distance and duration also depend on what you’re training for, so it may vary from 60 minutes to over 120 minutes when training for a marathon.
Here are some important tips that can help you run long distance…
6 LONG-DISTANCE RUNNING TIPS
1. START WITH YOUR MIND
Preparation for a long run begins in your head. It’s ok to be anxious when you see a distance you’ve never run before, or just a really long distance, on your training plan. You can make it easier by preparing mentally for the distance you’re going to cover.
Visualize the route you will run and picture yourself running well and finishing strong. Trust your training: take it slow and tell yourself you can do it. A positive mindset will go a long way when the going gets tough. If you tell yourself it’s hard and you can’t do it, then you’ll only make it harder for yourself and you’ll actually find it harder.
And this works the other way around, too — the mental toughness you get from running can help you fight stress in your daily life.
2. FOCUS ON HYDRATION & NUTRITION
You need to carbo-load for your long run, as carbs provide your body with energy — so make sure to get enough carbs before your long run!
Oatmeal is a great choice of carbs, as it’s easy on the stomach and you can increase portion sizes as your workout demands. Check out other great foods for runners.
The carb requirements of someone running for 30 minutes will vary greatly from someone running for 3 hours. It’s best to play around here and see what works for you.
As long as your stomach feels ok during the run and you can complete it, you’re on the right track. If you feel like you can’t finish your run feeling strong, then start increasing how much you eat. If you’re struggling to perfect your “long run” meal, use 7-10 g of carbs per kg of body weight as a daily guideline and work from there. If you’re training for a race, then the nutrition and hydration on your long run should reflect what you plan to do on race day.
Related Post : Perfect 15 Minute Strength Workout for Runners
3. IT’S NOT A RACE, PACE YOURSELF
Your long run pace should be a slow pace you can hold for the duration of the run. You should run your long run at a slow and conversational pace.
Long runs are more about the effort and simply covering the distance. If you have a specific race and goal in mind for a half marathon or marathon, then this is when you can begin to think about hitting certain paces.
Aim for 1 minute to 90 seconds slower than your planned race pace. It’s easy to overdo it in training and run too hard when you’re feeling good. Then you give everything you’ve got in training and having nothing left for the race. It’s better to arrive at the start slightly undertrained than even as little as 1% overtrained.