10 Tips for Distance Runners
- The purpose of training is to prepare for competition: the goal of a competitive runner is to be prepared on race day.
- Hard workout days should be challenging but attainable: achieve the workout goals, if the workout is too easy, rethink the next training session, not the current workout.
- Control the workout to achieve the training objective: be on target with your times and rest periods. Each workout serves a purpose in the distance runner’s training plan.
- Relaxed but fast running is important on longer runs: distance runs and morning runs should be relaxed but not too easy.
- Train various energy systems each week: use a variety of training to increase speed and stamina for competition. The use of anaerobic and aerobic energy systems will prepare a runner for various race tactics. However, the longer the race, the more aerobic training is needed.
- Distance runners need to prepare for all race strategies: be ready for slow races, fast races, surges, and races with a big kick. Train for every type of race and be prepared. Have your own race plan, know how you are going to execute your plan but be ready for anything.
- Train to be a total runner: from cross country running to the shorter races on the track. High school distance runners need to train for the speed of 800 meters to the endurance of the 3,200 meters. Distance runners specialize as they mature but speed elements in the training plan for track and field runners should be used.
- Every workout should include a warm up with some of the following activities: active dynamic warm up activities, active stretching, hurdle mobility, and medicine ball throws.
- Every workout should have a cooldown: on the track after great workouts take a “victory lap”. Use easy jogging and stretching exercises to complete the training session. Running easy on the grass or soft surface can help recovery.
- Post workout nutrition is critical within 30 minutes for proper recovery. The best foods for after a workout include fruits, bread/grain, and water. If the training session is longer than two hours a post workout recovery drink should be used with electrolytes.