What is LSD (Long Slow Distance) in Running?
The LSD (Long Slow Distance) run is a base run usually of longer duration than other run sessions during the week. It is the “bread and butter” of run training. The pace should be EASY so that you can hold a conversation and breathe without undue effort. LSD is effective in improving endurance and maximum oxygen uptake in individuals. At a cellular level, it increases the number of mitochondria so that economy and efficiency improve. As the season progresses, with regular training the “slow “pace becomes faster as less effort is needed to maintain the same pace. It is very important to “run within yourself” and to practice self-discipline to make sure it stays a long slow distance run. If in doubt opt for a slower pace rather than a faster pace. If working off heart rates it is generally a zone 2 run. For endurance athletes, it is the most important run of the week. We are looking forward to LSD Saturdays!
Why are tempo runs beneficial?
A tempo run is a sustained effort at lactate threshold intensity, which is the fastest pace that can be sustained for one hour in highly fit runners and the fastest pace that can be sustained for 20 minutes in less fit or beginner runners.
Tempo or threshold runs serve to increase the speed you can sustain for a prolonged period of time and to increase the time you can sustain that relatively fast pace. These runs should include a good warm-up and cool down doing the increased effort in the middle. These runs can be as little as 3 miles or 5 km.
Why add hill repeats to the tempo run?
Hill repeats are a great form of any speed training. Hill repeats are repeated short segments of hard uphill running. They increase aerobic power, high-intensity fatigue resistance, pain tolerance, and run-specific strength.
They build additional leg strength which can help prevent injury and improve running form.(It is not possible to heel strike running up a hill). While going uphill runners are forced to pick up their knees, take shorter strides and it helps to pump the arms. The leg muscles learn to contract with more force and power. Hills build endurance and fatigue decreases as you improve muscle elasticity. With regular hills, you increase your power so you can run harder and faster on flat ground.
What are the benefits of track training?
Running on the track is the “icing on the cake” for runners. However, to get the most benefits there must be a cake to ice!! A solid base of LSD (and tempo) runs provide this foundation. Speed sessions should account for no more than 20% of your total weekly running (or 10-20% for non-elite athletes).
To gain the best benefits a runner should be well-rested for the track session and ready to run HARD. This session is the hardest session of your training week as the running impacts the whole body and thus recovery is needed afterwards as well. It is more beneficial for a beginner runner to build a solid foundation of LSD runs before embracing these hard track sessions. It is important not to do a track session if you are injured or have niggles (please ask the coach for advice before the session).
The track is great for improving running speed. It enables you to run fast on a smooth surface so you can concentrate on effort and feeling. You are able to keep your head steady as you do not have to worry about where your foot is landing. It promotes greater leg turnover and it is a great place to carry out your technical drills. Track running allows you to pace your running as it is clearly marked out and the time take to cover a distance can be accurately timed.
Track training improves mental focus when done properly as it is a hard workout where concentration is a must. Without concentration and focus, you will not hit those numbers lap after lap!