This is a new feature to my training I've started and I love it. It is simply an extra long run once per week or every second week if running isn't a major part of your training. I started this after reading about the training routines of many elite runners. They said the extra long run should be a key element of any good running training.
If my normal basic training runs are 45mins-1hr, then the long run will be a good 90 minutes. So, unless you are training for running events specifically then 90 minutes is a the mark to aim for.
If you are only running 20 minutes now, then shoot for 45 minutes as your long run. You get the idea. Slowly try and build to the 90 minute mark.
This kind of running is at a steady pace. You should just be able to talk while your running. If you are too out of breath to make any conversation sense then slow-it-down.
It's not fancy, it's not easy, it's not all technical, it's not glamorous. It is totally Spartan, simple and tough and effective.
Doing this kind of long run week after week, then month after month and year after year builds truly awesome endurance and body conditioning. It will work to build the foundation to a great aerobic system. More importantly this kind of running will help keep you injury free when you start to try other more intense training because it helps to build that foundation of structural strength I was talking about.
Another benefit of running in general that is emphasized in the long run is the building of new blood vessels and capillaries in the muscles of your body. You become more efficient at pumping blood to them. Your heart and lungs will increase in size and your body becomes more efficient at storing extra glycogen used for energy.
NOTE: If you are new to a lot of running or need to lose a lot of fat then stick with the above basic training and work up to the weekly/fortnight long run. Running is now a part of your life for ever. . . so there is no great rush. Give your body time to get fitter and structurally stronger.
The following sections are all good ways to boost your fitness and improve your conditioning further. Unlike Roadwork/Marching, the following should be trained at high levels of intensity. For this reason they should be trained only every few days and for short periods of time.
The best way to increase your fitness is to train hard, then rest and let your body recover and adapt.
If you try to train at a high level every day you will just run yourself down and end up injured or sick. That's why a lot of the Iron-Men/Triathletes who train hard, constantly always have a flu or cold (or maybe it's because they actually eat the sugary breakfast cereal junk they promote).
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