The long run is an important element of training but we can often get obsessed with it, especially when training for a full or half marathon. At first, your aim should simply be to concentrate on increasing the time you spend on your feet rather than worrying about the pace or distance. The key is working at a conversational pace that is at a perceived effort level of 6.5-7 out of 10 (65-70% of range of your HRR). This may be a brisk walk, a run/walk or a run depending on your current fitness and level of experience and you shouldn’t worry if you need to walk. These runs improve your muscular endurance, running efficiency and your ability to burn fat as its primary fuel source.
Some of you may see some walking as part of your long run, we do this for a number of reasons:
• to manage your effort level
• to reduce impact forces
• to allow you to be on your feet for longer
There’s many different ways to run/walk, you can do big blocks of running (20 minutes) followed by blocks of walking (5 minutes) or do smaller blocks of each (4 minutes running, 1 minute walking). Each of us are different and it’s important to follow a method that works for you. Walking isn’t cheating, indeed one of our athletes has run a 3.30 marathon using the above methods.