New to running? Then slow, long runs are the only kind of runs you should do. You’ll strengthen your leg muscles, your heart, improve your fat burning capability and your body’s efficiency in using oxygen, says Sam Ng, a personal trainer and endurance athlete. Best of all, you hone your mental ability to cope with hours of pavement pounding.
Build Up Slowly
Slow and steady is the name of the game here. “Build your mileage gradually with plenty of rest mixed in between,” advises Ng. A long run should comprise around 20 to 30 per cent of your weekly mileage – so if you run 50km a week, your long run should be around 15km in length. Regardless of the distance, try consuming a little more carbohydrates a few days before the attempt and prepare adequate hydration options to tide you along.
Put In Some Effort
For long runs, aim for around 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate, says Ng, as it shouldn’t feel that easy to complete. Alternatively, doing the run according to time instead of distance can be a nice change. Try this: If you can run for an hour without stopping, use that hour to explore a running route around your workplace or home that you’ve never been to before. Don’t be afraid of getting lost. Jab your stopwatch timer and head out – it’s a fantastic break from the monotony of a fixed routine.
Mix Up Your Routine
“Progression is the key for endurance runs,” says Adrian Mok, endurance athlete and general manager of Polar Electro. “Begin your endurance runs with a slow pace but don’t be afraid to include tempo sessions within these runs when you feel ready.” Such tempo-endurance sessions are perfect for stimulating the pace you’ll adopt during an actual race. Once you reach a particular level of fitness, you’ll notice that you can maintain a certain heart rate while you’re able to run faster at the same time. Gradually increase the intensity when you get fitter.