Long Slow Distance

How should I train for running? Start with LSD.

We are not talking about substance abuse. Rather, LSD is the acronym for Long Slow Distance. As its name suggests, it means “you run long, you run slow, and you run far”.

How long is long? One hour is long enough. If you are a beginner, and if one hour looks too daunting for a start, then try 30 minutes. Slowly graduate to 45 minutes, and eventually aim for the one-hour mark.

Remember, the key word is do it gradually. You may aim to increase by 5 minutes per week. Using time as the yardstick is usually the main mental block to overcome. Therefore, start humbly and slowly work your way up, to run long.

How slow is slow? Slow enough to talk while you are running. The idea here is to keep running with an effort that is comfortable enough for you to chat with your running buddy. Go in a group, or make a date with your friends! You will find that it is a good way to bond.

The general rule is to keep running and do not stop. Run faster than your comfortable pace at your peril. Treat it like a game, “Whoever stops, must buy 1oo Plus for everyone!” By the way, the definition of running is “both feet must be off the ground at any one time”. If one foot is on the ground, then it is called “walking”.

Some LSD practitioners, such as John Bingham, is a well-known for combining walking breaks into LSDs. The walking breaks are staggered throughout the run, at disciplined intervals. Special note: disciplined intervals. That means, when it is time to walk, you have to walk, even if you do not feel like walking. On the flipside, even if you do not feel like running, you have to run, when it is time to run!

How far is far? The answer is, not more than double. If you are training for a 5km run, then your LSD should be 8 – 10km. If you are training for a 10km run, then your LSD should be 15 – 20km.

The “not more than double rule” seems less sensible (and more open to abuse) as your target distance increases. Imagine doing an 84km LSD if you are training for a full marathon! Or for a half marathoner to do a full marathon LSD. That is surely a mental block that we want to avoid.


For most average runners, these general guidelines will be good to follow:

  • No fewer than 3 runs per week
  • No more than 5 runs per week
  • No less than 1 hour per run
  • No farther than 25km on any run
  • One run per week, lasting more than 2 hours (after the 5th month of training)

Which shoe should I use for LSD? Brooks core shoes, such as the Glycerin, Ghost, and Adrenaline GTS works best for LSDs. They give you comfort for running long, and injury prevention for running far.

Run happy, and say no to drugs!

Explore posts in the same categories: Expert advice

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