So what is a long run? It is considered a distance of to be 10 miles or longer and lasting over 1 hour 30 minutes. You should be running around one minute slower than the pace or your marathon race or stated another way, one to 1 to half minutes per mile slower than your present 10K race pace. If your training schedule calls for a long run of 18 miles, the distance must be run at one time rather than splitting the distance, for example, 9-mile in the morning and 9-mile in the evening.
The long run is very important in the marathon training because it teaches the body to both mentally and physically to take the challenge to complete 26.2 miles. Physiologically, the body must learn to utilize energy reserves from fat storage sites after the glycogen (fuel stores in the muscles, converted over from carbohydrate food sources) have been depleted. Through long distances training, the capacity to store more glycogen within the muscles increases. An increase in glycogen stores translates into the ability to maintain one’s pace during the marathon and delay the onset of fatigue.
The long run also gives you an opportunity to experiment with a variety of issues and concerns (e.g., shoes, nutrition, pacing, etc.).
You must also get used to running for very long periods of time, during the training it may be tough and not easy, but it really pays off when you run an actual marathon.
Above all, marathon training schedules must be designed so that runners are adequately rested prior to undertaking their long runs. One who completes at least two long runs of 20 miles or longer prior to his or her marathon will no doubt reduce the possibility of hitting the wall (is the point when glycogen stores within the muscles have been depleted, you will feel like there is no energy left, your pace slows down, mostly to a walking pace). It is important that you know yourself and you know when you can take some power gels or bars to get your energy back.
In short, the majority of runners who experience difficulty in completing their long training runs fail to prepare adequately for these critical workouts. In short, remember that both long runs and the marathon don’t have to be painful experiences. The key is to plan ahead.
Benefits of the Long Run
- Teaches the body to burn fat as fuel.
- Increased number and size of mitochondria and increased myoglobin concentration in muscle fibers.
- Increases your overall speed, short or long races.
- Increase your endurance to complete the marathon.
- Strengthens the leg muscles and ligaments, thus improving your endurance and prevent from getting injuries easily.
- Recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers to help with slow-twitch tasks (like running a marathon).
- Develops your mental toughness and coping skills, thus increasing/enhancing your confidence level that you can go the full marathon distance on race day.
- Strengthens your heart (increases stoke volume) and opens up the capillaries, both sending energy to working muscles and flushing waste products from fatigued muscles.
If you have any comments or question, do drop me a comment below. Happy training