Fitness Style – Why Slow Long Runs are Important?

Jody Hollis

/ Fitness

Words from the coach about running…Jason Ball


Here is some information about why we do the long runs in preparation for any races (10k, half marathon, full marathon)

It is very important to know the reason behind the long slow run. I had lunch today with a good friend and we were talking about his last marathon. In our talk it came out that he had pushed himself hard through all the training, even on the Sunday runs, when it came to the race he got to about 32k and just had nothing left. This is not the first time that I have heard this from participants about their races. When we talk about the training, it seems the common factor is that they all pushed hard on their Sunday runs. The Sunday runs are not the race, it is to get you ready for the race. This why I have included information about how the Sunday run should be done. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Nutrition is also a big part of running, this goes from what to eat before, during and after a run. We are definitely going to talk about this a lot in the upcoming weeks. We are going to have a nutritionist come in and do a talk with you all. I have included some good articles about nutrition for you to read. Check them out, and again, if you have any questions please ask.

The long, slow distance (LSD). 

The long, slow distance run, LSD is the cornerstone of any long distance runner’s training programme. (One reason why the term “LSD run” is so appropriate is that it is one of the most reliable ways of getting the “runner’s high”).

Why does one do long slow distance runs?

The LSD run has many benefits. First, it helps to adapt your joints and muscles to give them the endurance for long runs. Second, it improves your cardiovascular system, strengthens the heart and increases the blood supply in the muscles; it therefore enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Third, it enhances your body’s ability to burn fat as a source of energy. Fourth, it teaches your body to store more energy as glycogen in your muscles. And finally, long slow runs teach the body to run efficiently, minimizing the energy expenditure needed to move you along. Even if you are not training for a marathon, the long slow distance run is a key element in your overall fitness programme.

How to do long slow distance runs. 

The LSD run should be run slowly to ensure that you are developing the fat-burning metabolic pathway, and to minimize the effect of fatigue and risk of injury. It should be around 20% slower than your marathon pace; or 25-30% slower than your half marathon pace. You may be surprised at first how slow this seems. If you use a heart rate monitor, try to keep your heart rate within 60-80% of the working heart rate zone, or 70-85% of your maximal heart rate.

The distance of the long slow distance run depends on the length of the race for which you are training. For a 5km race, the LSD need not be more than 5-10 miles; but for marathon runners, it needs to be more like 20 miles (or longer for advanced runners).
For many runners, one morning of each weekend is set aside for the long run; and running clubs often organise Sunday morning long runs. If you are training for a half marathon or marathon, you can use your long run to practise some key elements of the big day.

Nutrition Articles:


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