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Running Endurance Training
Endurance training is the first of three training steps to a faster race and better performance. Itís the conditioning base on which two other training steps, strength and speed, are built.
Although the endurance stage of training may be the easiest to attain, itís also the most important. Without a solid foundation of at least 3-5 weeks of Endurance training, Strength or Speed training will offer minimal returns in performance and may in fact lead to injury.
Master the art of running relaxed during your endurance training runs: (1) Keep your wrists and hands loose; (2) run with your thumbs up and elbows in, close to your side, to prevent your arms from tightening up; (3) relax your lower jaw; feel it move up and down with each stride; and (4) run ďtallĒ with your hips slightly forward without any forward lean, keeping your feet under your body as you maintain a good stride.
Set Your Distance
As a general rule, run your shorter endurance runs at about 75% of your event distance, and your longer endurance runs at about 125% of event distance. For example, if youíre training for a 10k (6.2 miles), make your shorter endurance runs four to five miles and longer ones seven to nine miles.
Adjust your training distances to your fitness level as it changes throughout your training season. Run shorter distances early in the season, and longer distances as you make progress with your training. Limit your mileage increases to less than 10% per week to prevent injury and overtraining.
Alternate your long runs with medium or short runs to help your body recover from previous training and to help you stay fresh mentally and physically.
Set Your Pace
Set your training pace to one that you can maintain throughout your run. Find a pace that allows you to run loose and tall. Adjust your pace to your fitness level as it changes throughout your training season; a pace thatís too fast at the beginning of the season may be too slow at the end.
Remember that in endurance training, pace is less important than distance.
Run your slow endurance runs at about 50% of your race pace, your medium endurance runs at about 70% of race pace and your fast Endurance runs at about 85%. Refer to the Training & Race Pace Chart in RunLog to see what your training pace might look like. Additionally, if you use a heart rate monitor, you can note your corresponding heart rates at these effort levels and use your HR Monitor to help you stay at your goal pace.
Mix It Up
Incorporate different courses into your endurance training (and all of your training). Find at least five different courses to mix into your running routine to keep you mentally and physically fresh.
Choose a variety of running surfaces to help prevent injury. Find routes that take you on grass, sand or dirt trails as alternatives to running every day on cement sidewalks or asphalt roads.
Be creative in designing your courses. Include loop, out-and-back, and point-to-point runs. Mix in courses with hills, gentle slopes, scenery, curves, straits and flats. Have fun with your runs! Isnít that what itís all about anyway?
Sample Week of Endurance Training
Hereís an example of how to put together a week of training to focus on endurance:
Do a short, easy run. Stay relaxed and comfortable.
Go medium distance. Remember to run tall and relaxed.
Run long, slow and easy. Stay loose and smooth. Enjoy the scenery along the way.
Put in a medium distance run. Get in the groove and lose yourself in the run. Mix in a different course.
Make it a long, slow run. Donít worry about pace. Try to go an extra mile or two. Have a running partner join you for a portion, or all, of your long run.
Put in a short run. Stay loose and enjoy it.
Day off. Let your body recover and rejuvenate itself.
And Remember, to keep your training on track and your goals in sight, add a RunLog training log to your program!