Long slow distance run can be boring and mundane to many average runners – it is slow and long.
Long slow distance (LSD) is a type of continuous running that’s performed at low-to-moderate intensity over an extended duration or distance.
Also, long slow distance is a great way for anyone (including beginners) to build and improve your aerobic endurance.
Many people underestimate the importance of running long slow distance; you may end up running quicker than you can cope or stop halfway to walk.
You gotta run slow enough that you can go beyond an hour of continuous running without stopping or changing pace.
Ever wonder what are the benefits and importance of running long slow distance?
Hop on to know the importance of running long slow distance!
These are 8 simple benefits of why you should do long slow distance run:
1. Effectively Build & Improve Cardio Endurance
Generally, running itself is a great way to build and improve your cardio endurance, but you need to be doing it the right way.
As a beginner, running continuously for 10 mins can be a huge challenge. Most will end up doing the walk-and-run method.
Nobody said you must struggle to run continuously for 10 mins.
You can always start with walk-and-run method to build a cardio base. For example, you walk-and-run for 15-20 mins.
Until you are comfortable and have built a cardio base, you can start long slow distance running.
Aim for 15 mins and gradually increase the running duration to 60 mins and longer over the weeks and months to come.
Run at a slow and constant pace, it is not a race, take it easy on yourself and enjoy it!
For your information, running on treadmill and outside has its advantages and disadvantages to improve cardio endurance.
As the months has passed by, you will realise your cardio endurance has improved substantially compared to before you started running long slow distance.
If you are unsure of how to start running and you are looking for a training program to get you started, here’s a free 8-weeks training plan to get you started:
2. Strengthen Muscles & Bones
Running is a high impact exercise and is a great way to strengthen muscles and bones.
Your muscles have to absorb the impact with each stride and your bones will gain in density & mass due to the high impact nature of running.
Running strengthens your muscles and bones to cope with the demands of running.
Ever feel muscle sore after a run? That’s your muscles improving and adapting to your workout.
Over time, you will be stronger and fitter than you had been prior to running long slow distance.
If you want to further strengthen your muscles and bones, you can try these hill running workouts.
3. Helps Improve Running Form & Technique
When you are running quickly or being so tired while running, you won’t be able to know how are you running with an awful form (flailing arms, overly leaning forward, wobbling side-to-side, and so on).
By running long slow distance, you are running slow enough that you can put more emphasis on your running form and technique.
Then you will also notice whether you have been running with proper running form and technique or not…
Even if you are running with an improper running form and technique, you can fix it during long slow distance runs.
It takes time to fix a bad technique (habit), but it is not impossible. Keep trying!
And please don’t run like this:
4. Helps You Handle Physical Discomfort
When you need to run beyond your usual mileage, it will train your body to cope with the physical discomfort.
It will also help you be a more patient and discipline runner to maintain the same pace throughout the run.
Long slow distance running will get more tiring once you run beyond your cardio fitness, by continuously running, you will improve your mental strength while becoming more resilient to physical discomfort.
The only way to be fit and improve your cardio fitness is to go through the tiredness.
Tiredness is unavoidable; all you can do is gradually adapt to the physical discomfort of long slow distance running.
5. Allow Gradual Adaptation to The Stresses of Running
Therefore, running long slow distance offset this risk because you are running at a comfortable and slower pace.
This, in turn, allows your body to adapt to the stress of running without getting injured in the process.
However, don’t run too slow either, keep it comfortable slow. So, how do you know what’s comfortable slow running speed?
A comfortable slow running speed is the running speed that you can continuously run without much effort for a long duration while still being comfortable.
Still don’t understand?
After your long slow distance run, are you panting for air or can you casually walk around?
If it’s the latter, then it means you were in your “comfortable slow running speed” throughout the run.
6. Improve Oxygen Intake & Efficient Use of Oxygen
Long slow distance run is extremely effective in improving maximal oxygen uptake for undertrained and moderately trained individuals.
When following a proper running long slow distance program, it will drastically improve your cardio fitness, improve oxygen intake and efficient use of oxygen by your cells.
You want to start running and unsure of how to do it? Here’s a free 8-weeks training plan to get you started:
7. Burn Fat & Lose Weight Quickly
There are tons of information on the internet of what’s the best running method to burn fat and lose weight quickly.
Honestly saying, all the running types have its pros and cons, it’s better to incorporate varying types to effectively burn fat and lose weight quickly.
As a beginner, when you start running long slow distance, you will notice you burn fat and lose weight quickly.
However, once your body has adapted to the demands of long slow distance running, you will no longer lose weight, but only maintain weight instead.
This is because our body is highly adaptable to long slow distance running – after all, we are build to run long distance.
If it seems like you are not losing weight anymore no matter how hard you try, here are some effective running tips to break your weight loss plateau.
If you are doing everything right, but still not losing weight… Then these could be the reasons why you are not losing weight while working out and eating right…