Why running short distances is important

Training to run long distances does not mean avoiding tests over short distances. These, in fact, are an excellent means of training for all the runners. Let’s find out why.

Many runners consider barely useful tests over short distances, especially when they are training for a marathon or anyway to cover long distances. But according to the experts, this is a myth to dispel. The short distances, in fact, are perfect for runners about to face a marathon and even an ultramarathon. The secret is in the fact that running to a pace equal to that of a typical race of 10 kilometers improves the anaerobic threshold. Also called lactate threshold, this corresponds to the speed at which you have a lactate concentration of 4 mmol/liter in the blood. Running short distances you can gradually rise this threshold, then running faster for the same accumulation of lactic acid.

Among the short distances, the 10 km is normally taken as a reference point to set the pace of training and competition. This is a classic distance and to beginners it represents a great target. But also 3 and 5 km can be useful. The advice is to run short distances at a steady pace, starting fastly enough and trying to maintain the speed. It is better not starting slow but also not too fast, to preserve the forces necessary to complete the distance. The short tests are perfect to prepare for long ones as they help the body to gradually adapt to the race, with the right timing. Also running at the high speed over brief distances is less stressful for tendons and muscles, even though you might think otherwise. The correct times to go from 10 km to the marathon is three years, this way you avoid accidents; People coming from other sports tends to cut it down, but the advice is to wait at least two years.

In the programming for long races, half marathon and marathon, experts advise to include the brief tests in this way: for the first one, they can be performed twice a month. For the marathon, two short tests are suggested during the specific preparation period, preferably at the end of a week of discharge (the period in which you reduce the intensity to regenerate the body, repair damaged tissues and renew energy reserves).

The day before a short test is important to increase the proportion of carbohydrates, eating pasta or brown rice for lunch and dinner, as well as vegetables and fish or white meat.