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Thoughts on Training for Long Distance Running

Published on February 14, 2014 by in Trail-Run

SchuheI am no running expert, but I have picked up some tips and tricks over the last years. Following these recommendations will help you on your journey becoming a long distance runner.

Training plans: Find a training plan that suits you. Do not overestimate your fitness level and pick one that seems easy and doable. You can always increase the intensity or number of repeats, if you are fit for it. I made very good experiences with plans from Higdon and McMillan.

Find an achievable goal: It is much easier to train hard if you have a set goal/race date. Find one with your friends and train together.

Build your distance: When starting a new training cycle try to increase your distance gradually. Most training plans will increase the weekly mileage by 10%, with a recovery week with less mileage during week 4.

Recovery: Many people are not aware that the training gain happens in recovery, when the body is producing new muscle cell components. After a hard workout try to get 20g of protein within 30 minutes. When combined with carbohydrates in a 4carb : 1prot ratio it will boost recovery.

Sleep: Running puts extra strain on your body. You will notice that during training you will need more sleep (30-60 min per night). Don’t expect to sleep well on the night before the event, everyone is nervous. Therefore, try to get a get plenty of sleep during the last week before the event.

Equipment: You can get as fancy as you want. Most important are your running shoes. A good rule of thumb is, that you need one pair for every workout you do per week. So if you train 4 times per week get 3 pairs of road running shoes and one pair of trail shoes.

Injury: Almost all runners will suffer some sort of running injury during a year of training. Pay special attention during interval or fast-pace trainings, this is where injury strikes. Adequate warm-up is highly recommended. When injured, cut back on running and use cross-trainer and bike for the next trainings.

Music: Running with music will give you a boost, science is indicating up to 5%. Put together a fast pace play list and see how you react.  Always stay aware of your surrounding! I am currently only using headphones that allow environmental noise to come through.

Carbohydrates on-the-go: For an average adult 40g of carbohydrates per hour is fine. You can use gels, sport drinks or chewables.  I use gels and water only.  Using water allows me to pore it over my head, soak my shirt if the temperature is high or wash my hands. You will have to experiment what brand you like. Caution; too much gels will force you to visit the loo more often than you like.

Fluid intake: During running you loose water though transpiration and breathing. Do the experiment and stand on a scale before and after a run to calculate the loss over time. Temperature does have a significant impact; however, do not underestimate the loss of water during low temperature runs (very low humidity).

Pre-race meal: You will have to experiment with what your stomach is able to hold. My recommendation is to start with the last meal 4 hours before the event and then try to shorten the time. You can also use sport drinks or sport bars to bridge the gap. Many of us chose white bread with honey and a large cup of coffee (supporting the last bowel movement before the race).

Taper and carboloading: During the last days before the event cut down on mileage and do only short and fast workouts. For races longer than a half marathon fill up your carbohydrate storage by arranging your meals around carbohydrates. Try not to eat more calories, just exchange fats, proteins and fiber with easy digestible carbohydrates.

Be visible – safety fist: Sometimes you have to run along streets, even in the dark. Always try to run on the side facing traffic and be visible. A head light and reflective vest are great accessories for winter training.

 
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