Workout Wednesday – 5 Tips for Better Long Runs

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)


Long runs are the bedrock of all running programs. Long runs help you to build endurance through time on your feet. Also, through low instensity training, your body learns to use more fat as fuel. Even though long runs are included in most training plans, many athletes perform these workouts incorrectly. They focus too much on the challenge of a new distance or speed, and turn a lower intensity effort into a death march.

Here’s some tips to help you get the most out of your long runs:

1. No PRs on long days – No Pain, No Gain right? Wrong. Watch your pace. Long runs should be run at a conversation pace. Keep your heart rate low enough, where you can complain about ever rising race entry fees.  Try and resist the urge to keep up with others around you and maintain your own effort.

*Tip – Turn off your pace alerts on your watch or running app. 

2. Don’t fall off the distance cliff – I know its fun to post to your epic weekend run to Facebook, but don’t get carried away. To stave of injury, increase your long run distances intelligently. The old rule of thumb is no more than 20% a week. An effective training plan should progress your distances for a weeks, then back off to build again. Also, don’t try and be sneaky and make up missed miles from the week.

*Tip – Have a well planned training plan, and stick to it.

3. You’re not a camel – You need water. If you are going to be out more than an hour in mild conditions, or 30 minutes in warm conditions, have a plan to get some water. As you get dehydrated, your heart rate will drift up, and your body will become less efficient. Staying hydrated will increase the effectiveness of the workout, and speed your recovery.

*Tip- Bring a few bucks, and plan your route where you pass a convenience store. Just beware of the bakery section.

4. Go on a quest – Life’s supposed to be an adventure right? Don’t run the same routes for your long runs every time. Mix it up. Try running on some trails, or through the city. If you can keep your mind distracted, the miles seem to go much quicker.

*Tip – Check the web for routes other people have already posted. Or you could try some run route art.  

5. Trust the watch, not the map – On long runs, focus on the time spend running, versus the distance. Time is a better measure for low intensity training. I know most plans are written for distance. If that distance keeps you on your feet longer than you are ready, then you are at a higher risk for injury.

*Tip – Choose a loop of out and back course. This way you can cut it short, if your run is taking longer than expected. 

I hope these tips make your next long run more enjoyable. Now get out there and run! (at a conversational pace.)

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

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