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How to Become a Long Distance Runner

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Authored by Victor Roffel in Exercise
Published on 11-19-2009

Some people aspire to be a football player, some aspire to be a sprinter and some aspire to be a long distance runner. Some would think that in order to train for long distance running, simply running would be enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although different, a long distance runner can still benefit from many kinds of training football players and sprinters do.

The term long distance is relative but most would agree that it should be a distance of 5km or more. Most runners would just run 5km day in and day out while attempting to beat their previous records. There is nothing wrong with this style of training but it would help if the athlete performs some resistance training.

Running

It should be noted that running does not simply mean running for time, although sometimes it would be necessary. Some of the most influential long distance runners run with a pace. They understand that sometimes running too fast may not be advantageous. Still, this is an advanced method for more experienced runners.

When starting out, it is important to establish a set point of stamina and increase it from there. If an individual is competing in a 10km race but only has the endurance to last for 6km, proper training methods must be implemented before trying to improve other qualities. For these individuals, it is not uncommon that they perform intervals in a run and walk fashion until they have sufficient stamina.
Once a good set base is established, different methods of running should be done every day. If running for time is done every day, there will be adverse effects due to exhaustion and fatigue.

Recovery intervals are great for improving stamina and whatnot while maintaining a fresh state. To be successful in running long distances, these recovery workouts are very important.

Resistance training

Most long distance athletes shun away from any kind of resistance training for the fear of being too ‘bulky’ to move. But what they don’t know is that an individual does not grow with weight training exclusively but by nutrition. Since long distance athletes do not want to have additional weight while running, they should simply eat just enough to maintain the weight they want.

The kind of resistance training endurance athletes do is different from their power-based counterparts. Instead of using heavy weights, light to moderate weights should be used. Still, the athlete must strive to lift heavier every workout to progress in strength. Perhaps the most distinctive feature in which how endurance athletes train is the high amount of repetitions they do.

When starting out, resistance training 2-3 times a week for an endurance athlete is optimal. An upper and lower body split is probably one of the better choices you can go with. It is not advisable that an athlete of any kind performs too much isolation exercises. Compound exercises work the muscles in a group and teaches the body to work as one. Performing isolation exercises in excess may just be counterproductive to this goal.

Being a long distance runner is tough work. Then again, being any kind of athlete is tough. Put in the time and work needed and you will succeed with the right attitude.

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