Go long…even if you’re training to go short.
Sounds crazy right? It’s not.
The long runs groom your body into running as effortlessly as possible…even for those shorter distance races.
Check this out…
In November of 1961, legendary coach Arthur Lydiard told the 1960 800m gold medalist, Peter Snell, to go run a marathon. Before that, Lydiard had Snell incorporating the Waiatarua circuit, a grueling, 22-mile long run up and down the Waitakere Ranges in New Zealand, as part of his 100-mile training week. What was a man who would race for less than 2 minutes doing running for 2 hours? This type of training was completely unheard of for middle-distance runners back in those days.
But it paid off.
Only two months after his Lydiard-mandated marathon, Snell ran a world-record mile (3:54). And in the 1964 Olympics, he won gold in the 800 and 1500m events.
The long run has been popular ever since.
Why is this? What are the physiological changes long runs produce that are beneficial to someone who is racing for a short period of time? According to Running Times columnist and coach, Greg McMillan, there are three key physiological adaptations that occur in the body during a long run: enzymatic, capillary and musculoskeletal. When you run long, you increase enzymes in your muscle cells and grow capillaries, which are the small vessels that surround the cells. These important changes allow more oxygen to be delivered to working muscles. You also strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments. “These adaptations help you in shorter races like the 5K because it’s still primarily an aerobic activity,” McMillan says. “The more oxygen that you can deliver to the working muscles, the better your performance will be. And the stronger your muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments become, the more you are capable to conduct better race-specific training like intervals.”
Read the rest of the Runner’s World article “Why Non-Marathoners Still Need Long Runs” here.
How Far Is Far Enough? If you are not accustomed to running long, McMillan advises working up to 90 minutes to properly stimulate the body’s adaptations then suggests that athletes increase the duration of their long runs up to 2 hours.
What does this mean for us? Even if we are training for shorter distance races, or are just working up to longer runs….we still need to fit long runs into our routine. Running for 90 minutes might seem crazy to those who are running 2-3 miles…but instead of thinking about miles…think time. If you are running 2-3 miles in 30-40 minutes…slow your pace and go out for a 50-60 minute run this weekend. Don’t think about your pace…or the distance. Check the time when you leave…then set out to run for about an hour. Go slow, looks at your surroundings, enjoy nature…whatever keeps you going…but just go out and do it. If you have yet to experience that “runner’s high” you’ll be feeling it after your first long run!
Day 16 exercises: Go long (minimum 50-90 minutes) + Planks (:30-1 min 2X) + 7 Key Stretches for Runners
Day 17 exercises: Remember you can switch it up and do Day 17 on Saturday if you are running long on Sunday. In case you need them…here are the how to videos for these exercises.
- 50 Jumping Jacks
- Stability Ball Crunch – 3 sets of 15
- Lying Leg Raise – 3 sets of 15
- Dumbbell Side Bends – 3 sets of 15
- Plank – :30 – 1 min (2X)
- 75 Crunches
- Ab Stretches! – see below
Weekend Bonus: Back to Back Runs
Yes…we need time to recover…but recovering doesn’t mean you can’t run. Keep your 2nd run of the weekend short. 30-40 minutes. Take it slow and just shake out those legs. I’m not talking about 2 a days here…I’m saying run both days. Back to Back runs will train your body to get used to running when you are tired. Don’t be afraid…think of the freedom you will experience when you find out you can do it!
Virtual Race: If you haven’t signed up yet but want too…here are the links to our first virtual race, Make it Count, and the FB event for our group. Remember to join the event so we know who’s in and can cheer each other on.
Long runs, stretching, abs, more stretching, 2nd run. That’s what’s on the menu this weekend Core Crew. Have fun and make it great! 🙂