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Must-Read Tips for LSD Training: How to Go from Zero to One

what is the LSD Training?

LSD Training — Long Slow Distance training, is an acronym for “long distance jogging”. It is an aerobic training (also a continuous training method) that is characterized by “low intensity” and “long distance”.
According to Daniels’ classic running intensity rating, the main strength of the LSD Training is about 59-74% of the maximum oxygen intake (in actual 
training, it would be better for runners to stay between 55% and 60%).
Generally speaking, LSD is a kind of easy jogging, runners can chat at will and hardly feel gasping. The recommended time for each exercise is 80-120 minutes, up to a maximum of 150 minutes. For many people, this intensity simply means “completing the course at a relatively easy pace”. But at the same time, you need to know that the total distance is not easy compared to “easy speed”. 


What will LSD Training do for runners?

1. Improving oxidative Energy supply of Human muscles

The aerobic metabolic capacity of the human body is reflected in two aspects: on the one hand, the body receives more oxygen to supply muscle through the work of heart and lung and blood circulation, and on the other hand, the muscle takes oxygen to complete oxidation and energy supply.

Although the training intensity of LSD is relatively low and rarely stimulates the cardiopulmonary system (wheezing, heartbeat sense is not obvious), it can improve the ability of the muscle to use oxygen.

For example, increase the proportion of slow muscle fiber (which is important for aerobic endurance), increase the number of mitochondria and capillaries in muscle tissue, increase the number of oxygen oxidase in muscle cells. In short, the effect of LSD on overall aerobic endurance is significant.


And under this intensity, the fatigue of human muscle and the cardiopulmonary system is relatively light, and the pressure and pain in training is relatively small, which can ensure the completion of training (the key of aerobic endurance training), thus lay a solid foundation of aerobic capacity.

2. Improving the ability of fat metabolism

We all know that running can reduce weight and burn body fat. Fat plays an important role in the body’s energy supply system (carbohydrate, fat, protein) because adipose tissue is the largest “energy bank” in the body. Theoretically, the energy of body fat is inexhaustible during a long and sustained movement.

And in long, low-intensity sports like marathons, the ability of fat oxidation to provide energy is also very important. Athletes with high endurance levels also have a higher ability to oxidize and decompose fat, which greatly increases the proportion of fat that provides energy and reduces dependence on sugar, thereby saving sugar reserves.

For junior runners, however, the main source of energy is not fat oxidation, but by consuming sugar. In this case, athletes are prone to severe energy shortages and speed drops.

With low-intensity training such as LSD, the proportion of fat metabolism increases accordingly. And the longer you exercise, the better your ability to burn fat. This, in turn, reduces the proportion of sugars that supply energy, allowing you to gain more energy over a long period of time.

3. Improve muscle endurance and strength

On the one hand, long jogging not only reduces the impact of excessive intensity on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, but also allows muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments to gradually adapt during long periods of exercise. These can improve the strength and toughness of the supporting organs and effectively prevent damage.

On the other hand, LSD can improve muscle endurance (the ability of muscles to support longer exercise). One of the major reasons for losing speed and cramp at the end of the marathon is a lack of muscle endurance, which is not related to energy depletion, but to fatigue caused by repeated contractions of the muscles themselves, and the disorder of the excitation-contraction-coupling function. LSD can train this ability well.


The key to LSD training is to control the intensity

1. Maintain proper speed and sufficient movement time

The first premise of LSD is “slow,” and it’s best to control the maximum oxygen intake rate of 55 to 60 percent (slow enough to allow you to run while talking).

Too much strength reduces the proportion of fat that feeds energy (instead of increasing the proportion of sugar to energy). The greater the load on the muscles and ligaments, or even the “semi-anaerobic” state of the body, the more difficult it is to effectively achieve the above training goals of LSD.

And the LSD training distance (time) should be long enough. For most runners who have been running marathons and trained for more than a year, the average LSD time should be at least 80-120 minutes (time is often more important than distance because of individual speed differences).

2. A slower speed or longer distance doesn’t necessarily mean the better

For LSD training, the distance is generally not more than 35 km, and time is not recommended for more than 150 minutes. Because the total amount of 30-35 kilometers is a limit point, if beyond this limit point, the body is prone to stress increases, peroxidation, and other side effects.

If you hit this limit point frequently, the damage to your body will increase. This is why marathon runners do not train more than the entire distance (42.195 km) at a single training session, while 5000 and 10000-meter athletes train much more at a time (basically training with marathoners).

At the same time, slower speeds are not necessarily the better for LSD training. When the intensity of exercise is less than 50%, it is difficult to train aerobic endurance. Therefore, in the normal condition of no injury and disease, the intensity of LSD is generally not less than 50% of the maximum oxygen uptake rate.


When to prepare for LSD training before Marathon?

Now many runners are doing long distance training every weekend, which is more reasonable in the basic training week without race, it can effectively strengthen the general endurance (the basis of specific endurance).However, before the race comes, especially for those who have a high level of training, how to choose the right long distance training time is particularly important.


In general, under systematic training (make sure you have completed a four-week cycle of training), it is recommended that pre-match training be arranged as follows:
  1. The last 30-35 km long training ended about three weeks before the race, and the pace should be faster than the LSD, but slower than the official race (maximum oxygen intake rate, maximum heart rate 70-80%), which is one of the most intense key lessons.
  2. Then you move into a week of pre-race adjustment, where your training distance is recommended at 10-14 km. And mainly jogging.
  3. It was about two weeks before the game. At this time the characteristics of the training content is: the training intensity gradually increased, but its corresponding load is relatively reduced, the training form and intensity should be closer to the competition mode.
  4. For the penultimate weekend, you can train about 20-22 kilometers (run at race pace) and then move into the final week of diminution, with a 10-kilometer aerobic run and a small interval run.
For runners who have been trained systematically for a long time and have a high level, the first three weeks of the race are not very suitable for LSD training. It is best to do so earlier in the basic training week.
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