A building without a solid foundation will crumble from lack of stability and strength. Just like a building, the runner needs to be anchored on a solid foundation or they too will crumble. The long run is an athlete’s solid foundation of strength and endurance. Distance running provides numerous benefits such as cardiovascular development, increase in respiratory muscles, and running endurance. The common training paradigm for a long run is to engage in a long slow distance. Not only distance runners need to perform long runs, the fact is that every runner should have the weekly long run on their agenda to build endurance.
The Broad Street Run distance is ten miles. So it just makes sense to lean on the distance of ten miles to prepare. The ultimate goal for the BSR is to become comfortable with the 10-mile distance. Further in the training process, it is important to include sessions longer than ten miles. A run which is further than 10-miles will secure endurance and confidence. So let’s define what a long run is and some of its benefits, then research a few training examples.
The Long Run
The long run is a workout that is approximately 50% longer than your normal weekly run. For example, if your average weekly run is five to seven miles then your long run should start at 10-miles. Start the distance runs at an easy pace, then closer to the race increase the pace with tempo sections. The benefits of the long run are increased endurance, improved aerobic capacity, increased musculoskeletal strength, and weight loss. For best results the long run should be performed two to four times a month.
The typical place for a long run is one day a week usually on the weekend allowing more time to invest in the run. The average training level should be performed at an easy pace promoting a longer distance. The goal is to run longer than your normal weekly run which promotes endurance. Eventually, the runner can introduce tempo and race pace sessions to their long run workouts.
The goal for Broad Street is to acquire a comfort level at the 10-mile distance. In order to accomplish this, we need to record 10-mile runs and beyond on a weekly basis leading up to the race. Once the 10-mile distance is established, increase your next run to 12-miles. Once 12-miles is accomplished the next and final long run goal in the training plan should be 15-miles. The 15-mile run should be your last long run ending one to two weeks before the race to allow for proper recovery.
The long run is responsible for creating a foundation of endurance. This foundation provides the strength and fuel to go the distance. The long run is race insurance. The very concrete foundation in which to place your small timbers of speed. Then you can add the trim-work of finesse and precision balance to accomplish the definite major purpose of the goal. Victory is yours as long as you invest in the very foundation of the run, which is the magic outcome of continual labor in the utmost principle of the long run.
The main focus is on distance and less on speed, which means we usually run at an easy pace or a long slow distance. The distance runs should be considered a progression workout, which means that the weekly mileage should only increase by one-two miles. For example if five-miles is your longest run at present, then next week’s long run can be increased to six or seven miles. This progression should keep increasing to the desired distance that mimics the race distance. The closer we get to the race we need to mimic the race by adding tempo pace and then eventually our race pace to the run. The desired goal is to run 10-miles at your race pace as a result of a steady pace and mileage increase week by week.
Examples of Long Runs
LSD- Long slow distance, run the distance nice and easy (slow pace). Usually 50 percent slower than your 5k pace. Example- if you run a six-minute 5k pace than your long run pace should be at nine minutes.
Progressive- Run the last two miles of your long run at race pace (high intensity). Example- 10-mile long run should be a nine-minute pace for eight miles then the last two miles at six minutes simulating the high-intensity finish of a race. NOTE- do not just stop when finished! Please cool down with some slow jogging and then walk for 10 minutes.
Tempo (threshold) – This training is especially for competitive runners. Find your race pace and hold that pace for 1/3 of the run. Example- For a 10-mile run, three miles at nine-minute pace (warm-up), four miles at tempo(6:40 pace), then cool down at nine-minute pace for the last three miles. Final progressive goal: Slowly increase the race pace distance up to 10-miles.
Steadfast plus patience with action equals success, go out and put your long runs in!
John K Carlson