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Some Words About Running

Running is the most natural way of moving the human body besides walking. Running is something most people (without disabilities) have tried out and tested. It is  independent of where you live, of your climate and of your economical situation and available facilities. So why should we need any training principles?

The level of the running performances is probably higher  than in all other types of sports, due to the mentioned fact that running is performed all over the world and has been practised since the beginning of times. You need little or no equipment (there are still many barefoot runners around in the world). Running performances can be measured both relatively and absolutely.

You will immediately find out how you are doing in a race relative to your competitors, and in some types of races you are also able to compare your performance relative to absolute references like personal best, as well as club, state, national  and world records.

Running is a brutal sport because it is so easy to measure the performance. When a race starts, all competitors start at the same time. This will immediately tell you if you are fast or slow relative to the others in the race.

Our running competence comes from endurance, say from 1,500m and up. We feel, however that the word endurance is not fully understood by many runners. How many times have you heard runners complain that they have too little speed? Very few, if any, long distance runners need much speed; what they need is more endurance.

Ingrid Kristiansen, previous world champion, multi world record holder over many years and winner of numerous marathons all over the world,  was probably the “slowest runner in the world” when we talk about speed or sprint talent. She had no chance running a 400m lap under 60 seconds. Some previous coaches had actually laughed at Ingrid’s results in her sprint and elasticity tests. Speed and elasticity have little or very limited importance in long distance running. The important element is endurance, endurance and more endurance.

The main activity for a long distance runner is to run, run and run again. All focus on speed, elasticity and strength is very often over rated. While this type of training can be done in a few minutes daily, we talk about 1-2 hours daily of the main activity: running. It is not the speed that fails when a runner is not able to make the last 100m sprint finish in a 1,500m. track and field race. It is his/her endurance that fails. So, one of the basic training principles for those who want to focus on long runs: Train for endurance.

Aerobic or anaerobic training?

Read more about training principles and the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and training here: Physical basis and Basic principles for long distance running. However, we want to say a few words about it here, since it is essential to have a basic understanding of the training principles that gives the best results for runners. Even newer literature and references about the distribution of the aerobic and the anaerobic work requirement in running use wrong and misleading values. The reason is that the old test method,  the Oxygen Debt method, has very large inaccuracies. Newer research have provided a more accurate method, the  Accumulated Oxygen Deficit (AOD). The consequence of this is that the aerobic work content has been underrated up until now.

The new data is quite sensational, as it emphasizes the importance of aerobic power not only for long distances, but also for middle distances like 800m and 1,500m.

Read more about the test results here:More about running .

So the the message is very clear to all middle and long distance runners: Forget about the high risk and painful anaorobic training. As we know now, it has less importance than earlier believed. Go out in the woods and run more, mostly long runs, plus some intervals and fartleks. Longer distances than 1,500m will be more and more dominated by aerobic energy. The only anaerobic training a long distance runner needs will normally be what you get in the competitions. Our strong advise is to forget all tempo training; it very often causes more damage than gain. [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Authors: Ingrid and Arve Kristiansen

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