Training Ideas: Long Run Fast-Outs

The long run primarily focuses on endurance and aerobic work. A lot of coaches hail by this type of run purely for that sake – it targets an area all runners need to have a strong background in to succeed and push into harder training. What if you’re already pushing into the harder training? Does the long run begin to feel less important relative to the “tougher” training? For some, yes. A common way to fix this is to continue slowly lengthening out the distance that you run after each session. This changes it up.

However, a long run day doesn’t have to focus entirely on aerobic work. You might still have gas left in the tank after you’re done. This is what leads to our running idea.

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Our Running Idea:

No matter what, the day after a long day will always be a recovery period. This is due to the amount of stress the body undergoes from such a lengthy run – it needs to rebuild. So rather than end a long run with gas still left in the tank, push harder at the end of the day. Do a few strides and short sprints to burn off the extra energy.

By doing this, you end a workout drained but with the best use of your time. You target both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, along with building mental willpower. In running, all of these factors are very important, especially willpower.

We call this the “Long Run Fast-Out”.

The Long Run Fast-Out:

Simply put, you get out of the training by finishing fast and hard. The few sprints you do will actually end up building more muscle than if you do them on a non-long run day. This is because of muscle fatigue and microtears – you’re already stressed, yet you’re continuing to push your body to the limits, leading to more tears. Ultimately, this means more growth after recovery.

Try this: run 10k, then before starting your cooldown run 3x100m at 95% effort. THEN cooldown.

Your slow twitch muscles will be exhausted, and so will your intermediate and fast twitch muscles. You don’t have to do many sprints for it to be effective – as said earlier you’re already fatigued.

Take Note:

You NEED to take a rest day after this type of exercise. Your body will be very torn and a gentle recovery is needed. Keep in mind that all growth happens in an athlete during the recovery and sleep periods.

It’s recommended that you stretch before you do the sprints to make sure your muscles aren’t too tight. Looser muscles have less risk of harmful damage when going through a full range of motion – and sprints need a full range of motion to go fast. Always make sure that you aren’t overstriding or pushing your body past your own limits. The chance of injury isn’t worth the potential gain from an exercise.

The long run fast-out is designed to push you to your limits, and make the most out of a workout. It’s not guaranteed to feel easy, but it’s effective. You can develop power where normally you would just be improving stamina.

Bonus Idea:

Find a hill, and instead of running sprints on a flat surface, run on an incline. This works different muscles. By training on a hill when you’re already tired, you prepare your body for hilly races. You’ll perform¬†stellar when normally you would be ready to slow down.

Incline training is very tough on the quads and calves, but a lot of driving power can be built up over time. Also, by practicing on a hill you’re forced onto your toes, helping you build better running form.

Another way to do the hill intervals is by running them downhill. Many runners struggle with the downhill – they practice uphill over and over until they are perfect, but they neglect the downhill. Running on a decline can exhaust the leg muscles if you’re not careful. The reason behind this? Braking. By trying to slow your descent to keep the same pace as you were on a flat, you end up forcing your quadriceps to use a lot of might and energy to slow yourself back down with each stride. Practicing declines with tired legs will help you develop strong downhill running form.

Final Notes:

The goal of the long run fast-out is to end with an empty tank of gas. Sprints on an incline or flat plane serve to push more muscles than you normally would in a long run. The idea of a long run is to take it slow an easy, which entirely trains your aerobic system. As long as you run the long run like normal, you will get a strong contrast between the two types of running.

Keep in mind that all growth happens in an athlete during the recovery and sleep periods.

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