Long distance run training

When it comes to training for the long distance races, there is perhaps nothing more important than developing aerobic capacity and the anaerobic threshold. If you know how to effectively do that, then you have basically 90% of the map. This is because there is a strong causational relationship between anaerobic threshold and performance in long distance races, meaning that having a high threshold speed causes you to do well in the 5k, 10k and half-marathon. It is no secret that in order to do well in these races, one will have to run a lot of distance in training and have a high weekly volume of kilometers. This is because developing your aerobic capacity to the max takes many many years of consistent and right training.

All the milage might get boring if you run alone. Try to squad up your training

All the milage might get boring if you run alone. Try to squad up your training

Now let’s get down to business..

Just like when training for the 800m, some periodisation is normal when training for long distance races. But because milage is much more important there is an even bigger emphasis on base training and quantity. Most long distance runner’s start of their base with a lot of LSD (long slow distance), running once or twice a day. Just your basic 45-90 minute aerobic runs. Along with these it is beneficial to have 1-3 or even more workouts that specifically targets the anaerobic threshold, and maybe another workout to target max VO2 to get some power in there. Church of the Sunday long run is also a key part of most long distance training programs, meaning Sunday is dedicated to a 90-150++ minute long aerobic run. Below is an example of a pretty basic, but nevertheless effective long distance base training week:

Typical training week of British long distance runner Mo Farah

British long distance runner Mo Farah’s training week. Not for beginners!

Monday: Aerobic run

Tuesday: Threshold workout

Wednesday: Aerobic run

Thursday Threshold workout

Friday: Aerobic run

Saturday: Max-VO2 workout or intervals at race pace

Sunday: Long run

It is of course possible to get a lot fancier than this, and as mentioned in other articles, just because you’re training for a long race does not mean you should neglect speed training. Always keep those fast twitch fibers ticking, 4 x 100m striders at the end of a run is enough. Basic strength training and core training will also be beneficial.

A lot of running means burning a lot of calories which means eating a lot between workouts

A lot of running means burning a lot of calories which means eating a lot between workouts

During the preparation period long distance runners cut milage a little bit, but not too much, and start adding some anaerobic stuff; doing more speed work, hill workouts, and workouts done at race pace (VO2-max). A sample week here can be:

Monday: 20x300m hill workout, jog back rest

Tuesday: Threshold workout + speed 10x100m

Wednesday: Aerobic run

Thursday: Threshold or VO2-max workout

Friday: Aerobic run

Saturday: Max-VO2 workout or intervals at race pace or hill workout

Sunday: Long run

And as you can see, more quality workouts are being introduced while milage still remains pretty high.

When race day comes it is important to be well rested and light on your feet, therefore you should start “de-training” a week in advance, cutting milage and searching for that feeling of excess energy.

Got any questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as fast as I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *