Long workouts are the most explicit workouts that competitors can do. These workouts are also the best groundwork for races, like marathons. Because long workouts suck up the most time and energy, the competitors will characteristically do simply one to three long workouts per week. Runners should in general perform one long run each week.
The key to effective long workouts is that they challenge individuals to learn to move longer and learn to stride at the intensity they will make use of in their top races. Merely training without precise goals is not a fruitful use of time for a competitive individual. Competitors will get much more out of long workouts that test them to move at intensities comparable to those used in their peak races. It is impractical to expect a person to execute long runs at 9 minutes per 1.6 kilometres and then race at a marathon at 7 minutes per 1.6 kilometres. Think through long workouts that consist of stages at race intensity to be the ideal tempo workouts or pace workouts to use with competitors. These workouts challenge the participants to train at an intensity akin to that necessary for a race. Athletes should be well rested when they initiate a long workout. For that reason, laid-back workouts or a rest day should be reserved for the day before a long workout. Long workouts should be done on a course and in circumstances similar to that necessary for the marathon. These workouts serve as preparation races, so they deliver the perfect opportunity to practice with race gear. The distance for long workouts should expand as the training year moves along.
In essence, in marathon running, long-distance cross-country skiing, 100+ kilometre cycling, and walking, the aerobic fitness of the individual, his or her mental willpower, and the economy of effort defines success.
- Kurz, Thomas. Science of sports training: how to plan and control training for peak performance. Island Pond, VT, U.S.A.: Stadion, 1991.
- Reuter, Ben. Developing endurance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012.