I want to do a long- distance running event. What’s the best way to train? ‘Running long distance is about commitment, focus and time. It takes dedication and will test you mentally and physically. Throughout, you’ll have some serious self-doubts. Consistently testing your physical boundaries and getting used to the feeling of being uncomfortable will ultimately build your confidence, preparing you mentally for the challenge ahead. Physically, the secret to successful long-distance running is to build your stamina and aerobic endurance.
Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer Tee Von Zitzewitz Answers This Month’s Query Photo Gallery
A well-designed intermittent exercise programme (HIIT) will help with this. Alternating timed intervals of high intensity with periods of active or passive rest will allow you to sustain higher-intensity intervals for longer. Resistance training (for instance, working with free weights or a TRX) strengthens your muscles, which helps you develop endurance and improves your running economy. Beware of over-training – two to three lower-intensity running sessions a week is optimal because endurance running encourages fat and muscle loss, and could reduce your gains in strength training. Most runners push too hard too soon, increasing the risk of injury.
Running long distances isn’t something you can do every day, and long distances need to be built up over a series of planned sessions allowing for recovery. Consistency is key, too. For example, you could aim to build up distance over three to four months, using a programme that allows for a lower-mileage week every three to four weeks. Try, for instance, week one: 11 miles; week two: 13 miles; week three: 18 miles; week four: 15 miles, and so on.
Try these drills pre-run to help single-leg and core strength, too. 1. Do squats (45 secs). 2. Speed skaters: hop sideways, landing on your outer foot with a soft knee as your other leg goes behind you. Switch legs (30 secs). 3. Do a plank on your elbows. Lift one heel up towards the ceiling and squeeze your butt. Switch legs and alternate (45 secs). 4. Lie on your back, legs in table-top position. Extend your opposite arm and leg away from the centre of your body. Continue, alternating limbs (one min).