Read on to get tips on how to run faster and longer. Learn how to practice long distances with varying intensity to become a faster and more enduring runner.
Run long to become a faster runner
Exercising long distances can help you become a more enduring and faster runner. By alternating between easy and fast long runs, you get the maximum effect from the long runs.
Why long runs?
Long runs are essential for training your aerobic endurance, which means improving your muscles’ ability to absorb oxygen. Solid aerobic endurance allows you to run for a long time without exceeding your aerobic capacity and switch to anaerobic combustion. If you train anaerobically, the muscles do not get enough oxygen, and as a result, you will get an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. You have to slow down, and if it gets bad enough, you will have to stop completely.
The long runs increase your fat-burning, contributing to the body becoming more energy-efficient in storage and burning glycogen, which is the body’s fuel. When you run long distances, the glycogen stores are gradually depleted, and you switch to burning more fat.
The easy long runs help to build both your physical and mental capacity. Running long distances challenges your physical ability at the strain for your legs to run for several hours. This exercise is a habit for the muscles so that it gradually withstands more and more.
Long runs are also a great exercise in coping mentally with running long distances. You have to focus on a more extended period, not least on taking it easy on these runs. Running for a long time can sometimes also be a test of your patience.
Running easy long runs is essential training for all types of distances. Build up your aerobic endurance regardless of whether you train to 400 meters or a marathon. Your aerobic capacity is the foundation of your running form. You lay the other foundation on this base, depending on whether you will be good at running 800 meters, 5000 meters, or marathons.
Run long distances with varying intensity to become a faster runner
You will complete the main emphasis of your long runs with low intensity. If you alternate long-running runs with low, moderate, and hard intensity, you will have the optimal effect. As we have mentioned before, the easy long runs will increase fat burning and accustom the legs to increased training load. In contrast, extended runs with moderate to hard intensity can build up speed and the ability to run longer distances at a higher pace. Hard finishes can make you better able to finish a race at a high pace.
Fast long runs
Alternate between long-distance running, where you do parts of the runs with moderate to hard intensity, or the entire long run with medium intensity, after an easy warm-up. Exercising long distances in this way will both stimulate the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your muscles, and at the same time, get your body used to running at a higher pace over a more extended period. Training fast long distances at a pace you plan to keep during the race will be excellent training to simulate the speed you will run at. You will also get a valuable test on whether you can keep this pace over time.
Long runs with a fast finish
Long runs with faster finishes can be effective training to complete better finishes when you compete. Increase the pace in the last 5-10 minutes of a long run so that you run with hard intensity.
How often you should train fast long distances
How often you should train long fast runs will depend on what intensity you train and how far you run with higher intensity. If you complete the entire long run of 13-5 miles with moderate to hard intensity, you should not do it more often than every three or four weeks. Exercising in this way will be a heavy strain on the body and somewhat reminiscent of the stress of running a marathon. The body will therefore need much longer to recover. Exercising long distances with this intensity can mean not getting enough recovery, leading to injuries. If you practice long runs where you alternate more or less equally between running with low and moderate intensity, you can carry out such long runs every fortnight, but this presupposes that the long runs are not too long. Long runs with hard finishes, where you run the last 5-10 minutes with hard intensity, can also be done every other week because the load is over a limited period, and you will be able to recover relatively quickly afterward.
Easy long runs to become a faster runner
Running at low intensity for a long time may not be the first thing you associate with becoming a faster runner. Still, easy long runs will help make your body more energy efficient. The long runs increase fat burning and make the body more efficient in storing and metabolizing glycogen. You will benefit from these qualities when you compete, and you can run faster without using more energy.
Long runs to become a faster runner
Long distances are running training that should be included in any training program, regardless of the distance you prepare for. You take good advantage of the long runs even if they are run exclusively with low intensity, but you achieve full effect if you vary with what intensity you train long runs. You are guaranteed to become a more robust, faster, and more enduring runner.