The Long Steady Run (LSR)

For some it is called the Long Steady Run or Long Slow Run (LSR) for others the Long Slow Distance (LSD). Personally I have always called it the Long Steady Run.  Something about saying I am going for a LSD just doesn’t sound quite right,  I’d expect people to give me a strange and suspicious looks.

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Along the Thames Path near Dorney, May 2016

But what does a LSR really mean?

Whether you are training for a 5km, HM, Marathon or Ultra, we should always factor in a slow run.  Most days in our training programme we will be pushing ourselves both mentally and physically to try and get that optimum performance.  This naturally starts to put a strain on your body and mind.  The LSR then comes into its own for a couple of reasons:

  1.  The LSR forces you to run slowly, thus allowing your joints, muscles and ligaments to recover.
  2. Because you are running slowly you are able to run further, seemingly with less effort.
  3. Running slower for longer teaches the body that it is capable of exercising far longer than you expected.
  4. Realising that you can run further gives a positive mental boost and helps break down some of those mental barriers.
  5. Surprisingly a LSR helps you to mentally destress and gives you the time to really appreciate your surroundings.

Everyone should include a LSR into their training programme. It doesn’t matter what distance you are aiming for, a LSR is relative to your specific training programme.  If you are aiming to run 5km, then 3km could be your LSR, likewise if you are aiming to run a 33 mile ultra then a marathon could be your LSR.

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Thames Path near Maidenhead, May 2016

So get out there and experience the LSR. The fact that you are running slowly means you get the time and have the energy to really appreciate your surroundings.  You can even stop to take photos without worrying about how it will effect your finish time. You will be amazed what new things you discover on a long run, not just environmentally but you will also discover deeper things about yourself.  You are tougher than you think.

Keep Calm and go for a LSR.

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Thames Path, under the A332 near Windsor, May 2016

Virtual Running: What is it?

I thought it about time that I mention virtual running.  This is something that I was introduced to about a year ago.  I had never heard of it before, but as soon as I looked into it I realised it was exactly my thing.

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POW Half Marathon, 2015

The concept is simple.  You sign up and pay to enter a virtual race, you run the distance in your own time, submit the evidence and receive the medal.  Most virtual races, and I ensure I only choose races that do, donate between 10% – 20% of the entry fee towards a nominated charity.

Who are virtual races aimed at?  I would say they are aimed at people just like me.  With a busy work schedule and a young family, getting away at weekends to go and run official races is incredibly difficult.  Unfortunately for me the only time I get to run, are at times when there are no official races.

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Virtual Runner 10km Halloween Run, Oct 2015

I don’t consider myself materialistic, but it was disheartening to do all this training and have nothing to show for it.  I loved seeing other runners achievements, showing off their hard earned bling and I wanted to be apart of it.  Virtual running allows you to do this.

Virtual Races seem to be very popular in the USA and they are now on the increase here in the UK.  One thing I have noticed about the races in the USA is that they are more expensive ($25 – $30 or £17 – £21) compared to the UK (£10 – £12).  It was especially disappointing to see the RunDisney Virtual races clocking in at $142 (£98) for three races, with nothing seemingly going to charity!  A virtual race should never cost more than a real event.

Some of the Virtual Race websites that I have come across are mentioned below, however it should be noted I have only used POW Virtual Running and Virtual Runner to date (see photos as an example).

UK

  1. POW Virtual Running.
  2. Virtual Runner.
  3. Virtual Running UK.
  4. Run Mummy Run.
  5. Run For Bling UK.
  6. Virtual Run 24/7.
  7. Virtual Fun Run.

USA

  1.  Virtual Strides.
  2. Moon Joggers.
  3. Virtual Run Events.
  4. Will Run For Bling.
  5. Virtual Run World.
  6. Hogwarts Running Club.

In the last year I have completed 12 virtual races. The last two races were both Star Wars related, so I was keen to get out and run for #Maythe4ththBeWithYou and #RevengeOfThe5th.   I am guessing you need to be a Star Wars fan to understand what this means.

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The Virtual Runner Poppy Challenge, Nov 2015

One of my virtual running highlights was the Poppy Challenge medal, which was in support of The Royal British Legion.  The aim of this virtual race was for the total distance of all those taking part to come to 88,824.6km, which represented how many poppies were at the Tower of London.  When broken down each person had to complete a minimum of 33km in the month of November.  You could run once or you could run 30 times, it didn’t matter as long as your total monthly distance was 33km or more.  Given my knee injury I was delighted to complete 56km in support of this challenge.

Not all virtual races are the same, some require a set distance on a given day and others require a distance to be achieved over a period of time.  This is the great thing about virtual races, you choose the ones that work for you.

The last thing to say on Virtual Racing, is to make sure you remember what races you have entered.

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POW Gotham 10k, Jan 2016
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Virtual Runner, Any Distance Race, May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If anyone has any other virtual race websites they wish me to add, send me a message and I will update this page.

Virtual Ultra Triathlon: April Update

April has been a tough month.  I have managed to get some good distance covered but it has been difficult.  My next challenge is on the 11 May and I have been training to run 12 miles carrying 20kg.  The aspiration is to cover the distance in under 2 hours, but going by my last run I am going to be a few minutes over.  The weather is also going to be contributing factor, if the sun is out and the temperatures are high, then that is going to slow me down.  As people tell me, train hard, race light.

Coming back to my virtual ultra triathlon, the main update is that both my run and cycle routes have now entered England.  This is always a positive boost as I am now in the country of my finish locations.  The other noticeable milestone is that I have now completed over 50% of my run.  Considering I am only in April, this means I am some distance ahead of target.  If I increased my target to 1000km for the year I would still be ahead.  If I increased my target to 1000 miles for the year then I am about 50km behind schedule.  A little too early to decide if this is achievable as i know I have some slow months ahead of me.

After four months here are the stats:

Running – Ardnamurchen Lighthouse to Lowestoft.

According to my tracker I managed to run a total of 107km this month.  My total distance so far is therefore 479km, which means I have completed about 56.02% of my challenge.  The good news is that I am approximately 194km ahead of schedule.

Another reasonable month of running which means I am almost 200km ahead of schedule, which is pretty good going after 4 months.  My mileage will eventually increase, but at the moment I have to keep it relatively low due to my training for a 12 mile race in May.  I need to practice carrying weight rather than endurance, but once I get this race over I need to focus on distance and endurance.

My virtual location is now on the A66 approaching Greta Bridge having passed over the Pennines into County Durham.  Just a couple of more kms and then I will be in the greatest county of them all, Yorkshire.

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Cycling – John O’Groats to Lands End.

According to my tracker I managed to cycle a total of 175km this month.  My total distance so far is therefore 708km, which means I have completed about 45.68% of my challenge.  The really good news is that I am approximately 191.33km ahead of schedule.

The intent was to cut down on my cycling and to run to work instead.  As ever with best laid plans, time is always against me in the morning and I end up cycling to make sure I get to work on time.  If I really want to run to and from work then I might have to accept the fact that I may need to get up a little earlier.  That is just a hard one to swallow as I already get up at 6.15am every morning.

My virtual location is just entering Lancaster on the A683.  During this month I not only entered England but I am now flying down the spine of the country through places such as Carlisle, Penrith, Shap, Kendal, Tewitfield and Bolton-le-Sands.

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Rowing – The length of the Thames

According to my tracker I managed to row a meagre 34.55km this month.  My total distance so far is therefore 126km, which means I have completed about 36.42% of my challenge. The good news is that I am approximately 10.67km ahead of schedule.

My virtual location is now just passed Cholsey and Wallingford having passed through towns such as Little Wittenham, Clifton Hampton, Abingdon and Sandford-on-Thames.

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I worked hard this month to ensure I not only hit my target for rowing, but I also tried to give that little bit extra.  I am delighted that I achieved this target and I am now a modest 10km ahead of schedule.  I am starting to realise that rowing is really not my thing.  It certainly helps my core strength and my shoulders are looking and feeling stronger, but I don’t find it particularly enjoyable.

Overall April has been a good month.  I didn’t run a 100 miles this month, but I am certainly happy with the 65 miles that I did run.  My running is getting so far ahead of schedule that I am now looking to extend the target for the year.  I think 1000km is achievable so I will see how I am doing at the end of May.

May is going to be an indifferent month due to a couple of bank holidays, my 40th birthday and a trip to watch the Monaco Grand Prix.  I do have my race on the 11 May, which should help my stats but I need to ensure I keep on track with everything else.

Looking forward to May.