Long Distance Running Tips

Many of us often ask the same questions about coaching. To get started the season, take advantage of the basic tips for a good workout.  


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When is the best time to train?  


Morning, noon or evening?   You can train at any time of the day and alternate as you wish.   However, according to the type of effort to be provided but also according to the state of form, some hours are more propitious than others. A session in the morning before breakfast has its benefits, especially for intensive sessions. A session in the late afternoon, after his work day is also beneficial, especially to relax.  

It is up to you to judge the most appropriate time for your outing, knowing that a “qualitative” session at the end of the day, if you are tired, will be less beneficial. Obviously, you have to make your choice according to your schedule.

How many sessions can or should be done per week?

Except for high-level runners, in search of performance, we do not recommend running every day. For an “amateur” runner, three to four weekly sessions are enough.   Depending on your objectives (distance and time), a maximum of four sessions seems reasonable. Beyond this, there is a risk of deterioration of the tissues or joints. It is also necessary to respect the recovery times between the different types of sessions 

If you really can not do without a daily session, you can integrate into your program the practice of an aerobic and sporting discipline such as cycling or swimming, less traumatic to the joints.   Conversely, those who simply want to maintain their fitness can run once a week. But as soon as we set a goal of competition, we will have to aim the three sessions weekly.

How long should a session last?

It all depends on the type of work to be done. The more qualitative and intensive it is, the more condensed it will take. On the other hand, to work the endurance of land, you can lengthen the duration of the session. In all cases, we advise you to go out of a minimum duration of 45 minutes to a maximum of 2 hours 30 minutes. Beyond that, you really have to be a seasoned racer who trains for ambitious goals.

There is no need to go out for 4 or 5 hours because we want to run a marathon, as we are sometimes asked. These 4 or 5 hours, you will do them on a week, not on a session. Likewise, you do not have to run at the constant pace of a marathon, but depending on the sessions and the sequences, sometimes you run faster (to improve your VMA) sometimes more slowly (endurance and recovery work).  

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How does a training session consist?


Three phases must always be observed during a session: The warm-up allows the body and muscles to warm up in order to obtain their best performance and avoid injury. Ten minutes of quiet race is a good starting point The body of the session corresponds to the desired work (endurance, VMA, speed, etc.) Recovery is essential at the end of the session to eliminate toxins from the muscles and regain a state close to before exertion.

The recovery is composed of a very flexible stroke period and famous stretches very restorative for the muscles and the tendons. Whatever the duration of a session, always observe these 3 phases, as far as possible. The recovery phase especially is very important to manage your body over the long term and improve your performance by getting a better performance of your whole body.

What is the difference between warm-up and stretching?

The warm-up is done at the beginning of the session and concerns the muscles and joints, but also the cardiopulmonary system. Before the effort, they are “cold”, so they must be “warmed” gradually to prevent injuries (elongations, breakdowns, sprains) and to activate the cardiac “pump” to obtain a maximum performance of the organism And therefore the best performance.

The stretches are always located at the end of sessions and are done on warm muscles to eliminate the lactic acid produced by the effort and to increase the elasticity of the muscle, thus its yield, an elastic muscle being more powerful.

How many races can be programmed during a season?

It all depends on your level of performance and your goals. But do not overdo racing in competition with a performance goal because you can expose yourself to the risk of over-training and find yourself completely flat.

We recommend at least six weeks of rest between two marathons and I advise you eight to recover well. We advocate four weeks between two seedlings, and I advise you six.

Finally, it is necessary to respect a cut of two weeks after a 10 km. You can insure by cutting three weeks.This period of post-competition rest does not mean total stop of the race but recovery phase and then gradual resumption of the training with a view to another objective.

So with a marathon at best every two months, if you recover well, you can theoretically run 3 to 4 maximum in a season. If you enter intermediate preparatory races, type 20 km or 10 km in the marathon preparation phase, you can reach 8 races during the year. But they will not all have a performance objective.

I think two marathons in the season with three or four side races are a good program for an amateur runner

What types of soils or surfaces should be preferred?

All coverings for training are suitable for running. The ideal is to alternate the race in undergrowth, on track and on bitumen because it allows to accustom your joints to more or less hard ground. Changing the surface is therefore a good thing, provided however that you are well shod and have shoes adapted to the chosen surface.

Running in the forest, for example, is beneficial to reinforce support, but the risk of sprain is greater. The same goes for the track: it is a great way to work on the technique, but at too high a dose it can also lead to inflammation of the tendons or the envelope of the muscles (periostitis).

Each surface has its advantages and disadvantages. Above all, avoid running on a surface unrelated to the purpose you are preparing, as you may be surprised if your limbs find a surface they are not used to.

Should we do weight training to improve performance?

Machine-building is not necessarily useful. You may do more harm than good. Unless you do a job without load and of course under cover of a qualified instructor.

However, in running we have the chance to “cross” paths arranged with some physical exercises of muscle building. It’s the best solution. The circuit training, work in ribs are exercises that you can work all year round. And it’s a “natural” way to get effective muscle building.

An exception: the abdominal belt is a very important muscle group in running that should not be neglected. You can use electro-stimulation to do this. Electro-stimulation is also a very effective means of recovery

What are the main types of workouts?

There are three main working principles in the physiology of effort:

A principle based on a balance between intake and oxygen debt in effort, commonly called “endurance” and that you work with efforts measured along the length

Lactic anaerobic is an effort where there is going to be an oxygen debt, and that will appeal to additional energy resources, internal, contained in the muscles in particular. It results in the production of exercise time, which must be eliminated after exercise, thanks to a very light recovery stroke phase, stretching and good hydration. This effort time is limited. It is also called “resistance work”. It is used in particular to increase your VMA (Maximum Aerobic Speed) which allows to hold a sustained effort longer. Lactate, a substance that will saturate muscle work after a certain time.

The alactic anaerobic is a very short work characterized by an oxygen debt but without using internal energy resources because the effort is too short. This is the speed that is not the most important job for runners.

What are the recommended rest periods between two workouts?

It is recognized that

24 hours recovery from aerobic exercise;
48 hours after a lactic anaerobic session;
72 hours after an anaerobic alactic session.
It is a recommendation and not an imperative. It also depends on the level of the runner because well-prepared athletes can shorten these times.

However, these data must be taken into account in order to develop a program adapted to your objectives.

Attention, there are never two sessions of lactic anaerobic, but a session of this type comes intercalated between two aerobic sessions (endurance) for example.

Can you bike and swim

These are certain disciplines such as swimming that generate fewer micro-traumas for the muscles, tendons and joints.

On the other hand, these are disciplines that make an important use of the aerobic system -they are therefore a good complement to running.

But at a reasonable dose because, especially by bike, you can also develop a musculature of the lower limbs not necessarily adapted to the running. Similarly, if you are too active and accelerate, you can switch to anaerobic channels without really controlling the parameters (FCMax, VMA) required for your progress in running.

That’s why I advise cycling more to vary the pleasures than as a way to progress in running.

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