Runners all over DC are starting to come out of their houses and hit the trails. The Washington & Old Dominion trail is full of people carrying their fuel belts and preparing their bodies for their future long-distance races. They are athletes that are training smart by incorporating the long, steady-distance (LSD) run into their training program. But, just what is the LSD run and how can it help you with your long-distance races?
What is the LSD run:
- For the sake of this article, the distance of a long run will be considered 10 continuous miles (not two smaller runs broken up by time) or longer as well as runs that last for 90 minutes or more.
- A run that is 60 – 90 seconds slower than your 10k race pace.
Some of the benefits of the LSD run:
- Teaches the body to physically and mentally tackle challenges presented in completing a long distance race such as a marathon or ultra marathon.
- Teaches the body to use fat as fuel
- Increases the ability to store glycogen in the muscles which will help you maintain pace on race day and delay the onset of fatigue.
- Allows for the opportunity to test race-day nutrition, clothes, shoes, pacing, etc.
- Strengthens the heart, leg muscles and ligaments
- Increases your overall speed
Day before your run:
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before your run
- Have a complete day of rest for your legs the night before your run. If you train the day before, make sure it is a very light workout on the legs.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water the day before your run – better yet, every day!
- Don’t carbo-load incorrectly!
Morning of your run:
- Eat a light snack the morning of your long run – be sure to note how you feel during the run to see if this snack provides you with energy, works with your digestive system, etc. so you can determine if this is a good snack for race day.
- Drink 8-16 oz of water
- Try to run at the same time of day you will race
- Apply sunscreen
During your run:
- Drink lots of fluids; particularly in hot weather.
- Consider gels, energy bars, etc. and try them out on your run to see which product works best for you.
- Force yourself to start your run slow then run at a “conversation pace” and cool down at the end by walking.
- Use positive self talk, imagery, etc. to develop mental toughness.
After your run:
- Continue to drink fluids
- Within 15 minutes of your run, eat a small snack.
Signs that you might have gone too fast on your long run:
- You must hit the couch or bed and rest for an hour or longer
- Muscle soreness or leg fatigue that lasts more than two days
- Aches/pains that last for more than four days
- Struggling during the last 2-3 miles to maintain pace, slowing down or being unable to hold a conversation
- Increase in nausea and irritation at the end of the run
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