ASK COACH HARRY: SHOULD I BE DOING LONG DISTANCE RUNNING FOR SPORT TRAINING?
Unless your sport is running [cross country, triathlons, marathons, etc], I typically don’t advise that youth athletes go on long distance runs as a form of training.
There are a whole host of reasons why long distance running isn’t the best method, but essentially, this is why I don’t recommend it:
For youth athletes that are serious about their sport, training weeks are already packed enough, without adding in the extra time and physical expenditure of a long distance run. As someone who has worked with and trained youth athletes specifically for a number of years now, I would argue that your time and energy are better spent in the gym, or on sprinting exercises, or on recovering.
One reason that coaches may prescribe long runs for a youth athlete whose sport is not running is to build an aerobic base. This is super important — don’t get me wrong — however, for an average youth athlete that is already on their feet a lot throughout the week, it can be a good idea to build this aerobic base off your feet. This can be done by utilising bike training, pool training, or low level mobility circuits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harry Weatherstone is the founder of the Youth Athletic Development Academy and the head Strength and Conditioning Coach at St. Andrew’s Anglican College. He is an ASCA accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach and has a Bachelors Degree in Sport and Exercise Science and Sport Management. Harry has been a sports coach for the last nine years, surrounding himself in high performance sport, athletic development and performance throughout New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and now Queensland. He has dedicated the last six years of his life to creating this movement in youth athletic development; investing countless hours into his own professional development to create the best programs possible for his students, athletes and clients.