Long runs are the primary preparation tool for distances longer than a half marathon and the foundation for all other distances. It is used by runners of almost all specs, and at least once every 2 weeks.
Long workouts always morally boost self-confidence and teach you to persevere even against the backdrop of fatigue.
In this article, Artyom Kuftyrev will tell you which workouts can be considered long, how to achieve a large amount of incursion at once, and why sometimes a long one needs to be canceled.
What workouts are considered long
This is usually a continuous cycle lasting 1.5 to 3 hours. This is due to the fact that such a duration depletes the body’s resources, which is the purpose of such training.
A duration longer than three hours is only typical for high-level ultramarathoners, it is already considered a heavy load, so it is not suitable for most amateur runners.
Why long workouts are necessary
The long term allows you to:
- increase muscle glycogen stores;
- “teaching” muscles to use fat as a source of energy;
- develop a high-level economy;
- strengthen the musculoskeletal system and prepare it for a long load;
- build psycho-emotional stability
How to increase mileage
The progression of the amount of long-term training must be adapted to the level of the runner.
Thus, runners who have been training for less than a year can increase the volume of long-term exercises no more than once a month by 5-10%, since it is necessary to carefully dose the load on the musculoskeletal system -skeletal the first year of training.
For more experienced athletes, those who have been running for more than two years, it is acceptable to increase mileage by 5-10% each week. And experienced marathon runners can afford to increase long-term volume by 10-20% per week.
It would be better to make it a long-term one, which is 20% of the total weekly volume. Gradually it will be possible to bring it up to 40% at the top of the form.
A separate recommendation for those who run no more than three times a week. In this case, a long workout can be 1.5-2 times larger than a regular run.
When to cancel or shorten a long duration
The task of a long workout is to simulate the last kilometers of a marathon. This is why it is carried out against a background of fatigue at the end of the microcycle.
If you feel excessively exhausted or lethargic, it’s best to avoid heavy lifting and do a light workout for up to an hour. Or do not play at all if a pain syndrome appears.
Read more: Can I run when I’m tired?
If your health is combative, but the weather conditions increase the risk of increased load, it is worth reducing your training by at least a third. This is especially true for summer days, when the intense heat can make adjustments to training plans.
How to settle down for a long time
The best remedy is to add an exploratory function. Choose an interesting new route, explore the surroundings, run where you always wanted to go.
You can prepare interesting content with you on the road: podcasts, audiobooks, music. But it is better to clear your head of outside noise and be alone with yourself. You will be surprised how many interesting discoveries and thoughts will come to you during a long, monotonous run.
Examples of long workouts
For those who run less than 40 km per week, long runs will be around 14 to 18 km.
If the weekly mileage is 40-60 km, then the following options are possible:
- long continuous run at an easy pace of 18-28 km;
- long race with an overrun on the last third of 16 to 24 km;
- long race with short speed variations from 16 to 21 km (20 km moderately with 8 accelerations of 1 minute each).
With a weekly volume of 60-80 km per week:
- long continuous run at an easy pace of 20-32 km;
- long progressive run of 18 to 28 km;
- long race variable from 18 to 30 km (4 km easy + 5 km marathon pace; do 3 sets).
If the volume traveled exceeds 80 km:
- long continuous run at an easy pace of 20-35 km;
- double long 2-3 days in a row with various variations from the previous section.
To prepare for a half marathon, you can run a long distance longer than the target distance – from 15 to 30 km (in exceptional cases).
In a marathon training plan, the longs are usually 18 to 32 km. A larger single volume will create too much metabolic stress, which will take a long time to digest.
The long run for ultramarathoners is usually within 60% of the target distance, but a series of several shorter long runs 2-3 days in a row works much better.
Long running is a very important way to achieve high results over long and very long distances, but at the same time it is considered a rather serious type of load and carries certain risks. Therefore, use this tool with your head, do not chase “naked” numbers and always consider your current state of health.
Useful material: Long duration: tasks and characteristics of long training