07 Sep 11 Tips To Improve Your Long Runs
We love short runs. Fast and easy, these days are the best! And we also love long runs……do we? we also say yes. Those days where we put ourselves to the test, and where getting to the finish line feels like pure glory are simply fulfilling, and this when runners feel runners.
Sometimes the thinking of long runs is just scary and exhausting. Right before the run we’re already feeling the miles kicking in. Maybe there is still something to calibrate in how we approach long distances.
There is always something to improve.
Long runs deserve special attention as it is a completely different game to running short distances. Your body goes through different situations physically, physiologically, and mentally.
Are you struggling with long distances? Paying attention to details can make the difference. There are many factors that should be taken into account when taking long runs and this is why we give 1o tips that can improve your long runs.
1. Fuel up the run
Getting enough [carb] fuel before the run is essential so you don’t run into energy depletion states while you are running. Taking your longs with an empty stomach or a poor carb intake is a ticket for failure, and it can even end up in injury. When doing long runs, your body needs the glycogen (energy reservoirs) as much as you need air to live. Check these 5 carb loading quick meals
2. Re-fuel the run
Your body will quickly use and consume glycogen to produce the energy it needs, and long runs require your body to produce energy for longer periods of time. This is why you need additional energy boosters than just your pre-run carb loads. A good way to tackle this is by using Carb gels every 60 minutes or when fatigue kicks in. This will help keep your energy up for longer periods of time in your long runs.
3. Warm up the run
Flexible muscles will allow you to perform better specially in long distances. On the other hand, stiff muscles will become a deterrent and can end up in injury. Make sure to do mild stretching after a slight warm up before your long runs. Don’t do too much and don’t do cold static stretching. A slight warm up and proceeding to stretching softly will be enough.
4. Recover properly
Not recovering as you should could be impacting your ability to perform at peak levels. Every time you do long runs, recovery is key for the next run. Long runs impact your muscle fibers significantly by causing micro tearing, which needs to properly heal for the next run.
Make sure your protein intake is sufficient after your long run. Protein will help repair and rebuild damaged muscles.
You can also include a cold session (cold shower or cold tub) after your long runs. Cold will help manage inflammatory responses and will help your muscles heal and recover faster.
5. Hydrate properly
Fluids are essential in long runs. You should drink at least 500ml of fluids for every 60 minutes of running. Don’t forget that hydration belt. Proper hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise as it regulates your body temperature and help transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy.
6. Don’t start too fast
Starting too fast will exhaust your legs right at the beginning and will not allow you withstand long distances. Preferably start slow and build pace steadily throughout the run until your body is naturally into it.
7. Don’t force drastic changes in pace
Long runs require more of steady pace and not drastic changes in pace. Remember that long runs are a endurance regime, not a race. Drastic changes in pace can drive unnecessary energy consumption and muscle exhaustion that can reduce the ability to withstand long distances.
8. Don’t run the same location every time
Running the same route every day can slowly turn down your drive for running, and specially long runs. Changing locations, landscapes and terrain every so often can boost your motivation.
9. Train your mind for the long run
Long runs are more of a mental challenge than anything else. The minute your mind tells your body that it can’t continue, your body will pleasantly listen. You need to defeat self sabotage thinking in your long runs. You need to train your mind for success.
10. Deal with friction
Deal with friction on your long runs so it does not become a deterrent of performance. Make sure to get friendly on Vaseline and apply on nipped, groin, and toes before your longs. Small details like this one can make a huge difference, specially on your long runs.
11. Don’t sprint at the end of the run
Even if you have the energy at the end of a long, don’t use it to sprint. Sometimes thinking that a sprint will boost the workout in a long run will only cause your legs to accumulate additional lactic acid and will make your recovery longer for the next run.
You need to be smart in long runs. They require more from your body and mind than the average run. Stay healthy, be proactive, recover fast, watch your nutrition, Build pace steadily from the start, don’t start too fast and don’t finish too fast.
Enjoy the run!