Introductory Long Runs

During these introductory weeks I have taken a tempered approach to the long run. Mentally this is a lot harder than it should be. Thoughts based on past glories try to convince me I can belt out some tremendous kilometres on my long days. Then there is the fear of not being ready for any big races coming up making me feel I need to do more. It's a combination that is somewhat unhelpful.

Keeping in mind the introductory phase is designed to ensure my body can handle the harder, future training. There are more considerations to this than just getting in lots of running. Most importantly, I need to come through this phase without an injury. A year or so of issues, combined with being older requires more planning and consideration than it used to. The long run can be difficult to get right. I know I can exceed my overall fitness levels on a single run. That could be great for my ego at the time, it won't help with consistency in training. Pushing the distance really has a big recovery cost for me at the moment. Until that changes, I have to keep things under control.

Under control results in fairly relaxed runs. Based purely on time I mix up the routes, but ensure I hit a variety of terrain with plenty of hills and technical sections. Being time based, I make sure I don't know my pace or kilometres covered to take away any pacing pressures. Instead I aim to run smoothly, focus on holding a lightness in my technique. This keeps the intensity down quite a bit, but there is definitely a challenge over the last sections to keep the concentration up. The time guidelines have been pretty basic, starting with a 2 hour run and adding 10 minutes each week.

These runs do leave my legs feeling a bit heavy and with a few sore spots the following day, but still capable of one of my standard runs for the phase. I think I am getting it right. The long run isn't taking over my training, and is allowing me to make some progress in other aspects of my fitness that I need. A good dose of patience is required at the moment to stick with the plan and trust the big leaps will be made later when I need it.


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