Sprucing Up The Looong Run!
Every week it looms on your triathlon training schedule.
It is the gorilla on your back: grappling, scratching and
dragging you down. It is the best medicine to keep you in
bed. The loooong run! Why must we burden ourselves with
the long run? It is boring, mentally draining and it takes
a large chunk of our day. Oh, but It doesnt
have to be like this!
For us to enjoy the long run, we must understand its purpose.
Almost every coach as well as the running material you read
preaches that a long run every week or two can help improve
your running performance. The long run strengthens tendons
and coordinates muscles, preparing the body for more strenuous
faster paced running. More importantly, it mentally prepares
you for the running segment of a triathlon which is usually
shorter in distance than your long runs. I am much more
confident going into the 10k segment of a triathlon knowing
that I have run two to three times that distance while training.
If I run for two hours in training, there is no reason why
I cant run for 35 minutes in a race.
Now we know why we should do the long run, but lets
figure out how we can enjoy it. For starters, and to the
relief of us all, the rule of thumb is that you should be
able to have a conversation with someone or else you are
running too hard. The long run should be less than 70% of
your maximum heart rate. For instance, if you are 30, than
your maximum heart rate is somewhere around 190 (220 - your
age). Your heart rate should stay below 133. I prefer the
unscientific method of talk rate. If you can
talk to someone without having to gasp between sentences,
than you are in your target zone. Talk to yourself; recite
the alphabet, National Anthem, Bill of Rights. People may
stare at you, but not as long as if you were running naked.
The long run varies between individuals from one hour
to three hours. The time depends on the distances in which
you are racing and your running history. To get my butt
out the door, I have several methods which make the long
run enjoyable. The key behind these methods is to get your
mind off of what you are doing, running. Dont worry
about how many miles you run, but base it on time. By doing
so, you dont strain yourself to reach certain mile
marks in a specified time.
* Run with a friend or group of friends - Conversation
passes time. If you are breathing too hard to talk, than
its adios amigos to your running partners. The long run
stresses the body in different ways than shorter, more intense
runs. You are probably already running hard two times a
week and running hard during your long run will more likely
cause injury than enhance performance. The gossip conscious
love the long run because the longer you run with someone,
the less trivial the conversation (ie. whats the weather
going to be like?) and you get to learn more about the person
such as does he wear boxers or tighty whities?
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