The workout for today was our long run. As part of most endurance programs, it is customary to have a long run once a week of 1 hour + and usually a distance of 7+ miles. This extended run helps to get the brain and body conditioned for long stretches of aerobic activity. You will naturally build on your time and distances during your training, till you reach a peak of about 80-90% of your target distance (i.e. 10-11 miles if your goal is a half marathon). Today we chose to run on a treadmill versus running outside due to the heat and humidity.
While it is preferable to do your training outside on the roads, we find it not beneficial, when the temperature exceeds 75 degrees. Most of the running we do is in colder temps, so training in the heat brings us diminishing returns on our performance and unnecessary wear and tear from pounding the pavement. You should be familiar with your own individual strengths and weaknesses and put your energy into what gives you the best results for your time.
Along with being greater in distance and time, your approach to long runs should be to maintain an overall slower pace and be methodical about your form. Your gauge for success should be the amount of uninterrupted running you can maintain versus overall distance; even though you will start each workout with a target mileage in mind. Track workouts or a one/two-mile time trial can be used to improve overall speed instead. Long runs should increase at about half a mile to a whole mile every week over the previous week. So, from week to week your time and distance will go up. If you are diligent about doing your speed training and strength training, than you’ll be able to both increase duration and get more miles completed into roughly the same amount of time.
Additionally, recovery after a long run is mission critical. All of the positives of doing a long run will be erased if you don’t give your body a chance to bounce back and stay on your training schedule. One common recovery practice is the RICE routine (rest, ice, compression, elevation). The idea is that you immediately rest for an hour or so, coupled with icing down through ice baths, BioFreeze, etc. You should then incorporate compression technology such as CEP compression socks to help speed up recovery. Lastly you elevate your legs on pillows or something similar to help level out the blood flow through your legs and rest of your body.
Lastly, getting the right amount of protein from any source is also important right after a workout. You’ll need it to rebuild all the muscles in your legs you just destroyed. The day you decide to do your long run also plays a part in your recovery. Most people take on their long run early Saturday mornings. Doing so gives you as much time between your run and the start of the work week on Monday to recuperate. We enjoyed our long runs today and were diligent about taking care of our recovery afterwards. I wanted to take a picture of myself doing a barefoot 1 mile recovery run after my main run but forgot. So, all you get today is a picture of the vegan brownie and coffee I enjoyed at San Francisco Coffee Company while writing this up. It’s off to cycle tomorrow. Also, here is a link to a marathon and half marathon training guide if anyone is looking for a good one.