by Coach Sage Canaday
In all our Sage Running™ Training Plans you’ll find that Long Run workout days aren’t just about slogging out a specific number of miles. Rather, there are specific pace/intensity instructions (and even duration limits by hours) for most of these types of days. That is because we see the Long Run as being a very valuable workout (perhaps the most important single workout) for runners competing in events lasting longer than 2 hours and we want to capitalize on how you can build your strength and speed by moderating pace on Long Runs.
If you follow Coach Sage’s YouTube channel, “Vo2max Productions” you can hear about the 3 main types of Long Run workouts that we recommend. These different types of Long Run variations are found in our training plans because they trigger specific adaptations (through stress/recovery/supercompensation) that allow your body to adapt to become both faster and stronger for your peak race!
In short, most of our Long Run workouts are negative split runs, meaning you run the second half of the run a lot faster than your first half. As an example, you may be doing a “Fartlek” (roughly translated to mean “speed play”) workout in the second hour of your Long Run and you’ll be doing 2-3 minute fast surges at around your 5km to 10km race pace (or about 90% of your maximum heart rate intensity) followed by a slow jog recovery of 2-minutes. This whole Fartlek cycle may last 30-40 minutes and is a good stimulus for your Lactate Threshold and improving your aerobic power (read our previous Newsletter on Tempo/Uptempo/Lactate Threshold training HERE for that also). Furthermore, because you are starting this Fartlek workout after already running easy-steady for some time you are teaching your tired legs to move quickly! When you increase the intensity and challenge your legs and lungs to operate at a high capacity in the later stages of a long run it makes you more resistant to the fatigue you’ll encounter in the latter stages your race! This means you’ll be much better prepared to “run through the wall” and finish your half/full or ultra-marathon at a strong pace.
In closing, by doing negative split Long Run workouts with pace/intensity variations in the second half, you are more specifically training your body (and mind) to deal with the inevitable fatigue that you will encounter near the end of your race. We truly believe that if you want to reach your potential in the sport that these more intense types of Long Run efforts (while used in the context of a well periodized training program) are an essential component to success.