The Long Run
The Long Run
As we travel up and down the country giving training advice to runners at workshops and seminars, I find us talking about the long run time and time again.
You see, its half and full marathon season and many of you are getting ready to run either or both of these distances over the next few months. For some of you it is a new journey and for others you are chasing a pb or landmark such as sub 4 hours.
So there is lots of talk of am I running far enough? What pace? Should I be on the road or in the park?
The reality actually is that we all need one of our runs a week to be longer than the others. This is the one where we look to gain confidence by being able to run further. Many will make the mistake of thinking you should try to run further each week and also always at your planned race pace.
Some (particularly the men I see if I’m honest) will also start these runs far too fast and gradually slow down due to fatigue; this is another mistake that isn’t making the long runs much fun.
So here are some top tips for the long run…and as the legendary Bill Squires once said ‘its the long run that puts the tiger in the cat’… but only if you run them correctly we say.
- Only increase your long run by 10-15 minutes each week.
- Make sure every 3rd or 4th week your long run is much less and part of an easier week. Your body needs to recover!
- If running a half or full marathon make sure you add some race pace practice into your long runs in the final 6-8 weeks of training.
- An example might be 75 minutes easy then 45 minutes @ marathon pace to make up a 2 hour run.
- Practice drinks and gels on the long runs once they are more than 90 minutes long. Consider taking a gel every 45 mins and sipping a drink every 5km.
- The rest of your long runs should be a minute a mile slower (at least) than your planned race pace in the early days. Make sure they are fully conversational and relaxed.
- Vary the surface and run some parts off road or on good trails. Only get onto the road if you have to or its really muddy.
- Use some races as long run race pace rehearsals. These can be great fun and a lovely way to nail a top training session without pressure. The time will fly by!
- Try to run with others if you get bored or lonely. Find a group that works for you and offers paces that fit.
- Have fun……and choose some inspiring routes. There really is nothing better than getting back from a long run as the world wakes up and struggles into its day. You are alive and have already run miles and miles.
Have fun and enjoy those miles.