Components of Race Training

Running is one of the most favorite sports in the world. However, training for long distance running does not happen immediately. You should understand the basics of race training before you actually proceed with the running. Long slow distance running requires constant and regular practice. Let us become familiar with the ground rules in race training.


Long Slow Distance Running

You should mix walking with running in the initial stages. For example, you should run for about 30 seconds and walk for the next 90 seconds. You could practice this run-walk mixture for 15-20 minutes every day for a week. When you are comfortable with this practice, you should change the ratio from 30-90 to around 45-75 seconds for the next week. This should be followed by the ratios of 60-60, 75-45, and 90-30 for the subsequent weeks. You would find out that you could run for 20 minutes without any discomfort at the end of this training regimen.


Easy Running

The increase in the running time and distance should be slow and steady. If you are running around 20 km a week at present and wish to increase it to 40 km, you should add only about 5 miles every 3-4 weeks. The same principle would apply to your running speed also. You should run very slow in the beginning and increase the speed gradually. Otherwise, you could harm your body permanently.

Warming up before the starting of running is very important. If you do a few basic exercises before you run, it would help your body to adjust to the strain of running hard. Similarly, you should not flop down on the ground immediately after completing the running. It could cause dizziness, cramps, and even affect your heart. You should walk for a few minutes after the running before you take complete rest.


Threshold Pace

You should understand your threshold pace. Your legs should not be abused beyond your capacity. As a beginner, you should increase your running only by about 10 minutes every week. You should take at least a one-minute break for every km that you run. You could walk for a minute and then resume the running. Moreover, your initial running should be on soft surfaces like grass, trails, and woodland to provide the necessary strength to your legs before you start running on hard surfaces like roads or racing tracks.


Speed Training

Speed training is crucial for any meaningful long distance running. Fartlek is a Swedish word, meaning ‘speed play’. This term is used for structured speedwork with a mixture of slow and fast bursts. Your running strides also play an important role in long distance running. The strides should be neither too short nor too long. You should be comfortable with the stride that you make each time. This would be possible only after you try a few strides, by practicing with a particular stride for about a week. Within 4-5 weeks, you would be able to understand which stride is comfortable for you. Similarly, having periodic intervals between your runnings is also necessary.


Strength Training

It is obvious that you require lot of strength and stamina if you wish to become a long distance runner. Hill climbing is one easy way of providing strength to your body, particularly to your legs. You should mix hill training in your running regimen at least for one or two days every week.


and of Course Rest...

Taking adequate rest between your running sessions and after completion of the running for the day should never be ignored. Lying flat on your back, breathing slowly, and relaxing your body and mind gradually would be ideal to refresh yourself for the next day session.

If you follow the above basic principles of race training, you would be a successful long distance runner. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.