Whether you are an experienced long distance runner or just looking to get started, the following tips can be applied to anyone.
The reason why people ‘hit a wall’ during their run is because of the buildup of lactic acid in the blood stream- the faster you run, the more of this acid builds up. While this is a natural process of the body, there are ways to minimize this effect by properly training. The key is known as goal pace training. To put it simply, it means you need to train at the correct intensity or for the right distance- ideally both.
With this being said, you need to gradually extend the amount of time that you run at your lactate threshold. Lactic Threshold (also known as Anaerobic Threshold) is that point when your body begins to build up the large amounts of lactic acid in the bloodstream. While it sounds simple, the solution is to spend more time getting your body accustomed to the pace you will actually be running during your race or workout- keyword being pace.
Utilize a Heart Rate Monitor
The general rule of figuring out what your maximum heart rate is to take the number 220 and subtract your age from that number. So, we’ll say you’re 25. Your max heart rate should be right around 195 (this is obviously not an exact science, just a good thing to keep in mind). According to two of the top long distance running coaches, Jack Hazen and Joe Vigil, your heart rate breaks down as follows:
Moderate Pace: 150-160
Hard Pace: 160-170
Anaerobic Threshold Pace: 170-176
Aerobic Capacity Pace: 176-190+
The main point of training with a heart monitor is to ensure that you are training at the right intensities. As previously mentioned, training at the pace you actually plan on performing at is crucial to your success.