A great article by Runners World on the benefits of long slow distance (LSD) runs no matter your distance goal. LSD runs should be considered your most important run of the week and done one half to one minute slower per kilometre slower then your race pace, so that you can easily hold up a conversation. LSD runs assist in developing stamina, build strength and pace judgement, and teach our body to burn fat effectively. LSD also it improves your cardiovascular system, strengthens the heart and increases the blood supply in the muscles; it therefore enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to your muscles (VO2 Max).
Question: I never race more than 5K. Why should I do long runs?
Answer: Long runs are for every runner, not just marathoners. The runners I coach in college run a weekly 13- to 15-mile long run even though some seldom race over a mile. The long run increases aerobic base, improves running economy, and boosts confidence.
Enjoy weekly long runs provided you:
- Follow your long run with a recovery day of very easy running, cross-training, or rest.
- Start your long run well hydrated and consume sports drinks and gels en route. This is excellent practice for the marathon and will keep you from getting overly fatigued.
- Limit your long run to 1:45 or less (unless you’re training for a marathon–see number 5, below).
- Consume 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight daily to make sure carbo stores stay loaded.
- Alternate long runs with very long runs when training for a marathon. For example: 2 hours one week, 2:45 the following week, then back down to 2 hours the week after that.
- Run with someone of comparable ability. Otherwise your long run may turn into a tempo run or a Sunday stroll.
- Ease back into training if you’ve missed a long run due to illness or injury. Going long as soon as you feel better can overtax an already battered immune system. Instead, do half or three-quarters of your scheduled long-run distance, then resume your normal schedule the following week.ring on the long run!
Read the complete article here.