Runners often have a love and hate relationship with the long run. We love the sense of accomplishment we feel when it’s over but we hate to think that there is a long way to go until the end. However the satisfaction is greater than who runs according to the race time not with the distance, for example reaching the first 5k.
“The long run builds endurance and strength and teaches you how to deal with fatigue,” says Maria Simone, a USA Triathlon
Indeed, extending the distance you normally cover triggers several lasting changes in your body. Capillaries in your muscle fibers increase in number, which enables more energizing oxygen to reach your muscles. Your mitochondria, the aerobic powerhouses of your cells, also grow in number and size, which helps you sustain energy. There are psychological benefits, too: Long runs build mental toughness to help you manage discomfort. They also serve as a dress rehearsal, giving you an opportunity to test gear and fueling options so when race day comes, you know what works best.
Long runs aren’t easy, but they don’t have to be death marches, either. There are a number of ways to make going the distance comfortable—enjoyable, even. A few tips can help you get on a larger mileage or prioritize some techniques for those who are already accustomed.
Run listening to music
Running with music can stop your brain from getting overwhelmed with anxiety about the distance you have to cover. “It’s a dissociative strategy; it keeps your focus off what’s ahead,” Simone says. It can also distract you from tired, achy legs. Research from Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., a leading authority on music and exercise shows that music can reduce perception of exertion and increase endurance by 10 to 15 percent. But you also have to be careful, if you run in streets where it is common to pass car, music can be a distraction, so keep the volume low enough so you can hear yourself talking over what’s coming out of your earbuds.
Another cool tip is to listen to appropriate playlist for your running. If you listen a slow song the tendency is that your body slows down, which ends up harming the performance of your steps. The ideal is to listen to zippy songs that keep you in the same rhythm. There are apps like Spotify that exist playlist already prepared for this.
Create a racing company
Running with a training partner can turn a long run into a social hour (or two or three), says Colleen Tindall, a USATF-certified running coach in Moorestown, New Jersey. “It’s more fun, it’s safer, and it makes you accountable,” she says. “You’re less likely to cut a run short if you’re with someone else.” Also, beginners who might find a large training group intimidating can benefit from hooking up with an experienced running friend who can provide one-on-one support.
The biggest difficulty in this case is finding a partner who has the same pace as you. For beginners it is a good tip to call someone you identify with and who can evolve with you during long run. For those who already reach long distances and want to stop running alone, talk to friends who already run and who will be within the idea, but remember to understand the limits of your running partner, if there is no one, you can connect in Groups of races in social networks or sites like buddyup.com, is also a great way to make new friendships.
Be a Groupie
Signing up to train with a large club or training organization (like Team in Training or Joints in Motion) gives you a real sense of commitment—you’re less likely to skip your runs if you’re paying membership dues or pledging to fund-raise. Many large groups break off into smaller subsets, so you’ll find runners that match your pace. They may offer coaching—helpful if you need pacing, fueling, or stretching advice. Plus, organized long runs often follow premeasured routes with water and sports drinks provided—all you have to do is show up and run!
Mix group runs with solo ones so you have the best of both worlds. Stick with the gang when you’re going really long and need the support and companionship. But sometimes, practice alone, everyone needs some time and you never know how long you will keep in touch, it is ideal that you can once or twice a month, run in peace for yourself.
Run in Circles
Breaking a long run into several smaller loops makes a daunting distance more manageable. Instead of focusing on running 15 miles, for instance, you can just take it one five-mile segment at a time. Looping also allows you to create your own aid station. “You can stash water and fuel at a set location you know you’ll be hitting several times,” Simone says. Loops from your house are especially helpful if the weather changes or you need a pit stop. The only bad thing is: Looping again and again…and again with no variety in scenery can be boring. Very boring.
Stretch and moisturize.
You are already tired of knowing that you should lengthen your body before any physical activity. Usually in long runs the body suffers more. At the end of the race you tend to feel the heavier body and the more painful muscles, especially the feet, so in addition to wearing quality shoes, you should keep your body warm before you start. Starting a marathon with jogging is a good tip and then increasing the speed gradually.
You should also always stay hydrated, drinking water before the race is a basic point, but over the distance you should continue. This type of race lasts longer, it is ideal not to drink everything at once, because the urge to use the bathroom will arrive sooner.
Source: Runner's World (www.runnersworld.com)