Long-distance training requires discipline, dedication and a proper training plan. A well-designed plan will improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury. It is essential to make sure you include strength, flexibility work, the appropriate mileage and even recovery days to maximise your long distance ability. .
We have discussed with a few experienced long distance athletes on tips for training for a long distance race.
Long-distance races require endurance. To build your endurance, it's necessary to include a weekly long swim, cycle or run. Not only does long distance training improve your fat metabolism it helps the body get used to competing for long distances. To incorporate a long distance training session, take your current longest weekly workout and increase it by a certain distance each week. For a run that might be a mile or two, a cycle a couple of kilometres per week and a swim maybe a few hundred meters each week. During the fourth week, reduce your distance by 25 percent to allow for recovery. Continue following this four week cycle until you reach your desired distance.
As mentioned above, a training plan is an essential part of maximising your long distance training. Without a proper schedule for all your training efforts you may lack consistency and may forget to train equally across all triathlon disciplines. “Planning in advance” is an essential part of the process for Iain Glanville a British AG triathlete (iain.glanville) He says “If you are not sure how to plan, then working with a coach or an experienced training partner can be a great way to create an effective training schedule”
In order to race your best, your weekly training needs to include at least one quality workout where you run, swim and cycle faster than your normal pace. Practicing to go harder in workouts will translate into running, cycling and swimming a faster overall pace for your long-distance event. Examples of this include, track intervals for running, tempo swims and cycle hill repeats. These faster-paced workouts are taxing to the body and can lead to injury if performed too often. Beginners should include just one quality workout each week, whereas more experienced athletes can do two or three weekly quality workouts. Antoine Scortatore (iron_toinou) A French triathlete and runner explains "It is about not sacrificing quality for quantity when it comes to working out"
Strength training is important for long-distance athletes because it can reduce your risk of injury, improve your efficiency and help your body withstand the rigors of training long distances. You don't need to lift like a bodybuilder to gain the benefits of strength training. Performing 15 to 30 minutes of strength work three days a week is enough for most long distance athletes. Check out our 12 minute workout if you are looking for some ideas for a circuit workout that will strengthen the entire body.
Work on Flexibility
Stretching is an important component of long-distance training because it reduces the risk of injury, speeds recovery and helps improve your efficiency. Yoga is a great addition to add to a training week and can be done with relatively limited time and space. Stretching should be performed after your workouts as well when your muscles are warm.
Take a Break
Rest and recovery are just as important to your long-distance training as the training itself. Your body adapts to the stress of training during rest and becomes stronger in the process. You risk injury and over-training if you do not allow your body this chance to adapt. Sleep is essential for recovery and it is something Sarah Clement (Sarah_run_tri_mom), an experienced triathlete and long distance runner feels is crucial in achieving the most out of any training programme. People new to long distance training need at least two days off from training each week, whereas more experienced athletes may only need to rest one day every week to two weeks.
If you have any other great tips please let us know!