Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Long Run

You can go the distance
We'll find out in the long run

The long run: a staple of marathon training. You can't go 26.2 on marathon day if you haven't gone long before marathon day. It's just that simple. You have to build the aerobic endurance, the muscular endurance, and the mental endurance to cover the distance. You have to build bone density. You have to strengthen the soft tissues - cartiledge and tendons. You have to know how your shoes, socks, shorts and everything else are going to feel after 12, 18, 20 miles. If you want to run a marathon, you have to do your long runs.

When it all comes down
We will
still come through in the long run

Going long means building miles for progressively longer runs, generally by adding a mile or two to your longer run each week. And that's the tricky part. Add too much mileage, too quickly, and you risk injury, like stress fractures in the feet and legs, or tendonitis. Most people max out at a 20-mile training run. But the longer you stay long - the more long runs you do beyond your normal distances, the more you risk injury. With that in mind, most normal people don't go much beyond 20 miles before marathon day.

Who is gonna make it?
We'll find out in the long run

The long run is as much about mental endurance as physical. Just about everything that's going to happen in the marathon, happens on the long runs. Tired feet, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, lower ab pain, lower back pain. Rocks in your shoe. Cold, rainy days. Scorching hot days. Dehydration. Fuel that doesn't. Do your long runs, and you're going to deal with plenty of pain, inconvenience, lousy conditions. And you learn how to deal with them, how to survive and keep going. You learn what it takes to push yourself to go farther than you have in a while, or maybe ever.

Kinda bent, but we ain't breakin'
in the long run

The long run prepares you to manage the marathon miles. Even though most people max at 20, once you make it to that point in a marathon, you're counting down a mere 10k. And a 10k is such an easy distance. You know you can cover that. Ten-k is so short compared to your long runs. Of course, it's 10k longer than your longest run. And you're tired, sore, and probably hurting. But it's only 10k.

Ooh, I want to tell you, it's a long run

(Long Run lyrics by the Eagles)

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