From Steve McNealy Arena 80 Coach
The longer run for most runners takes place at the weekend and can vary in distance by ability, when thinking of increasing mileage this should not be more than 10% of your previous long run to avoid injury.
The pace that you should be running longer distances is normally 20% slower than your normal pace, it is always good to throw into your run a couple of the miles at your race pace too, as this will give you an indication as to how your training is going.
You should do your long runs on the flat or if you want to test yourself throw in a few hills if you feel you can manage it as you progress.
Over many weeks the number of race pace miles can be increased if desired.
Tips to remember:-
1. Don’t tie your laces too tight as your feet will swell over longer distances
2. Wear technical apparel
3. Apply Vaseline to areas that will rub/chaff
4. Make sure you’re hydrated
Below is some general information for you to aid in your preparation for your long run
Long runs are a staple of almost all training plans for runners, whether you’re training for a 5K or a marathon. They improve your stamina and aerobic endurance, which are the building blocks for a runner who wants to learn to run faster over longer distances
What is considered a “long run”?
A “long run” is relative: what one person may consider a long run may be an easy run for another. It’s usually one and a half to two times longer than your average weekly run. The distance and duration also depend on what you’re training for, so it may vary from 60 minutes to over 120 minutes when training for a marathon.
6 LONG-DISTANCE RUNNING TIPS
1. START WITH YOUR MIND
Preparation for a long run begins in your head. It’s ok to be anxious when you see a distance you’ve never run before, or just a really long distance, on your training plan. You can make it easier by preparing mentally for the distance you’re going to cover.
Visualise the route you will run and picture yourself running well and finishing strong. Trust your training: take it slow and tell yourself you can do it. A positive mindset will go a long way when the going gets tough. If you tell yourself it’s hard and you can’t do it, then you’ll only make it harder for yourself and you’ll actually find it harder.
2. FOCUS ON HYDRATION & NUTRITION
You need to carbo-load for your long run, as carbs provide your body with energy — so make sure to get enough carbs before your long run!
The carb requirements of someone running for 30 minutes will vary greatly from someone running for 3 hours. It’s best to play around here and see what works for you.
As long as your stomach feels ok during the run and you can complete it, you’re on the right track. If you feel like you can’t finish your run feeling strong, then start increasing how much you eat. If you’re struggling to perfect your “long run” meal, use 7-10 g of carbs per kg of body weight as a daily guideline and work from there.
3. IT’S NOT A RACE, PACE YOURSELF
Your long run pace should be a slow pace you can hold for the duration of the run. You should run your long run at a slow and conversational pace.
Long runs are more about the effort and simply covering the distance.
Aim for 1 minute to 90 seconds slower than your planned race pace.
4. BREAK IT INTO SECTIONS
A long run can seem scary, but it can help if you break up the distance mentally.
Instead of telling yourself you have to run 15 km (for example), tell yourself it’s 3 slow 5 km runs or 2 x 7 km with 1 km more added on — go with whatever combination works best for you. It’s also ok to take a break during a long run! If you’re doing 15 km and feel the need to walk or take a couple of minutes break between 5 kilometre stretches, then go for it.
5. CONSIDER REFUELLING MID-RUN
If you’re running over an hour, then it may be time to start taking on calories during your run in the form of gels.
Hydration during a long run is also necessary as you start to cover longer distances. You may need to take water with you during a run either in a bottle or in a hydration backpack, or plan your route so you pass water fountains along the way. Hydration and fuelling during a long run requires a lot of experimentation, but a rough guide would be to drink roughly every 20 minutes and take on calories every 40 minutes.
6. DON’T SKIP POST-RUN RECOVERY
It’s also important to eat soon after your long run to provide your body with the energy it needs to recover. It’s easy to skip this step and forget about recovery, but you just ran a long way, so be sure to recover and give your body what it needs!