…Not so much. Sunday used to be my off day for workouts; at school I would do homework all day and while training last year, I would take advantage of my one day of rest. But now, it is my day of no 7:30AM train or 9 hour workday. Perfect for working out, cooking, and organizing for the week. Definitely no time to be lazy on Sundays anymore.
Throughout the week, I try to mix up my workouts. Running, biking, erging, core and body circuits—some easy, some intense, some intervals. But the one thing I don’t have time to do is a really long workout, unless I wake up at 5am. I have started running stadiums every Saturday, so that leaves Sunday as the day for my long workout. Even though I am no longer training at as high a level or for a specific sport, the long workout is still a vital part of training. LSD (long slow distance), as it is called, is an essential part of base building no matter what your training or fitness level. Besides increasing endurance, this type of training enhances the cardiovascular system. In order to conserve glycogen, your body will also be stimulated to burn fat for energy. We have much more fat than glycogen in our bodies, so this energy supply will be much greater. Your future workouts will be much improved if you can teach your body to tap into your fat supply.
LSD also increases the amount and size of your mitochondria, which are structures inside your cells that use oxygen to make energy. So the more mitochondria you have, the more energy you can produce! Lastly, you will learn to be more efficient, as your body will attempt to cover this distance by expending as little energy as possible. Two workouts a day can produce these benefits, but doing one long workout has been shown to be most beneficial. Don’t go really long more than once a week. You can even see results by doing it every two weeks.
I have been reading about LSD benefits mostly in reference to just running or cycling. However, I have had my share of stress/overuse injuries this year and decided that running for 2 hours would be a great way to add another injury. Cycling for three hours was also not really something I wanted to do… I biked 46 miles last Sunday, and I wasn’t quite ready to do that again. So I decided to make my own triathlon, which turned into a pentathlon if you include the speed and strength work I added in at the end!
Here is my “recipe”
30 minute erg
45 minute bike ride
45 minute run
10 hill sprints (took about 15 minutes)
10 minute core circuit
Fuel before and during with homemade Clif bars (this time it was an attempt at Spiced Maple Walnut that still needs some refining). Make sure you stretch and rehydrate afterwards and foam roll/ice if needed. I wish I could say I made a fantastic meal to refuel, but I was too hungry to really think about creating anything. Way easier to stick with peanut butter! Try to get in a mixture of protein and carbohydrates within your 20 minute “glycogen window” to restock your glycogen stores.
I have decided to do something like this every Sunday as my LSD workout. Mixing up the aerobic exercises makes it go by much more quickly than you would think. Adding in the speedwork at the end was fun as well and also helps keep your fast twitch muscles active. Try adding in one long workout to your week, and I can guarantee your other workouts will start to feel easier. Afterwards, it is always a great feeling. Exhausted but accomplished.