Philosopher’s stone of any long distance runner. The pillars of any challenge. Funding miles as a visa for glory days, when our legs are sharpened and a bib hangs from our chest. A must for anyone who aims to defeat Philippides, so consider them as top priority prior to claim your bib in Wings For Life World Run, a battle in which you know when you will start gathering steps but there’s no way to know the exact moment where the finish line will catch you and hold your breath. It’s about running, running and running. And then, a little more run. So on until our Catcher Car whispers you in the calves, pointing party’s over. And, my friends, there’s no other way that scheduling long runs on your agenda.
This kind of session, long runs, or ‘LSD’, “long, slow, distance”, for athletics connaisseurs, should be programmed on days with spare time, so usually training groups, running clubs and friends run long on weekends. As you should expect, there’s no fixed length or distance. Au contrair, each athlete is different and “long” shows many options depending the runner. Breakfast should not be loaded equal for a beginner or an experienced runner with lots of mileage on his legs. Each one, depending on his capabilities, should try to make their run a little longer from their “easy run”. Should that be an answer?
Once the concept is set, let’s join enemies of the loneliness of long distance runner. Not in the poetic or motivational way (how many pictures have you seen of a runner in the middle of an idilic forest landscape?). Long runs will fix your strenght. It’s an unlimited credit of patience. Witness of our discipline. Although it’s good to train hard on your own, entering on the purest aerobic activity alone is a sports suicide (and, sometimes, literally); so find a coach.
Your trainer, boss, your coach, whatever… will be always by your side, correcting you step by step, feeding your dreams with the reality of your attitude and fitness. Find a real one, not your typical wise friend. With experience, diploma and background. Let him take care of your body (there’s only one for a life). It will be your best investment (and also a stress test), better than brand new shoes, jackets, tees, tights or GPS…
We talked to one of the best European coaches to assess us about long runs. Juan Carlos Granados, trainer of some of the best Spanish atletes, as middle-distance runners Mayte Martínez, Sergio Gallardo or marathoners Rafa Iglesias and José Carlos Hernández. On his words, “long runs should last 90 to 120 minutes, maybe longer for marathoners. Once a week is enough, maybe one every other week, depending time of the season. Your goal is getting your cardiovascular system working aerobic during long periods, which it’s basis for success in athletes of distance 800m and up. It’s important to run long in a group to be relaxed and enjoy as much as possible. Also you should try to run in quiet zones, soft surfaces and slight hills (they will build up your strength and your heart without running faster). Uphill and downhill hit different muscle groups. We should make first half of our long runs easy but making sure our glycogen deposits are empty so our metabolic system reacts to be ready for tue future. A couple of days after our long runs aerobic performance gets a boost”.
Wings For Life World Run is a ticket for the unknown. It’s impossible to know if we’ll run for minutes or hours, so let’s be cautious, include long runs in our training plan before heading to Valencia.