How to Choose a Pace for a Long Run

Choose a Pace for a Long Run

In this article, you will learn how to choose the right pace for a long run. The long run is an increased endurance workout. This run helps:

  • An increase in the number of mitochondria and capillaries in muscle cells
  • increase in aerobic power
  • increase the efficiency of the cardiovascular system
  • increase in glycogen stored in muscles and liver
  • development of the musculoskeletal complex

There is an opinion among experienced trainers that long-distance running should be 20-25% of your weekly volume. According to this formula, a person running 37 mi a week will focus on a long run of 7-9 mi. Accordingly, for a runner with a volume of 120 km, this figure will increase to 15-18 mi.

Long running teaches you to maintain a set pace and gives confidence in passing a distance, especially a marathon.

Running pace is just as important as mileage as it affects the amount of stress you put on your body.

The traditional long run lays a solid aerobic foundation for all runners, but this kind of running can be a bit monotonous.

Training running for long distances can be roughly divided into three categories.

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Progressive long run

Conversation running, the most fundamental of the three categories, serves several important purposes in a training program:

  • for beginners, it is useful for developing endurance and strengthening the musculoskeletal system.
  • for marathon runners, conversational running provides an opportunity to teach the body to use fat as fuel.
  • For experienced runners, conversational running is a part of running volume that does not interfere with other training processes.

The intensity of such a run should allow the runner to talk comfortably, as well as maintain the usual running stride. It is very important that the pace does not drop to the level of a recovery run, which will mitigate the psychological effect and affect the dynamics of movement.

Progressive running starts at conversational speed, but gradually speeds up in the second half. Often this happens naturally: many experienced runners finish faster than they started, even if the effort level remains the same.

Training long run

Training long runs to include fast intervals as part of a long run, which allows you to develop tired-legged running – a key success factor in racing.

An approximate scheme of such training run for 35 km:

  • 10 km warm-up
  • 8km/6km/4km/2km at marathon pace with 1km rest
  • 2 km cool down

This run mimics a race day in terms of volume and intensity, but distributes the load well so you can recover quickly.

Almost any type of workout can be inserted into a long run: fartleks, marathon pace segments, tempo sections, even mile-long reps. What and where you include in a long run depends on the goal you are pursuing.

A marathon runner can perform an intense fartlek at the beginning of a long run to load the muscles and continue to run at the same pace for the second half. A 5K runner might include a 3-4K tempo section at the end of a long run to practice running on tired legs. A qualitatively new load on the body can be very effective.

Long and moderate distances

The task can be complicated by doing a training long run on one of the days. Which day depends on your goal. If the quality and pace of your workout are important to you, then do the workout on the first day. If you want to work on the quality of your fatigued workout, such as running a marathon pace with tired feet, then add a workout on the second day.

Long runs one after the other are very tiring for the body, and therefore they should not be performed more than two or three times per training cycle.

There is, however, an abbreviated version – moderately long runs (15-25% shorter than long ones), run at a conversational or slightly progressive pace. The trick is that a moderate-long run is run in the middle of the week, after a tempo or speed workout.

To get the most out of your workouts, long, intense weekend runs alone are not enough. Success lies not only in tempo or long runs but in the balance between them.

Marathon runners should increase both the distance and the intensity of their long runs as race day approaches.

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