Long distance running is also referred to as endurance running since it involves running continuously over a distance of at least three kilometers (1.86 miles). This kind of running requires both physical strength and mental strength for persistence over the long distance. Among all the mammals, the human being is the best adapted for the endurance running due to their advancement in their thinking abilities.
Physiology and Psychology behind Long Distance Running
Wild animals generally run faster than humans. However, their ability to run for a long distance is largely compromised by their physiology. Therefore, they can only run fast for short distances. On the other hand, the bone and muscle structure of the humans is adapted to long distance running. Humans’ body also has the ability to cool itself through sweating. This greatly helps the body to maintain an optimum body temperature and oxygen circulation, which is needed for endurance running. Sweating is much more effective than panting by which animals use to cool their body temperature while running.
Psychologically, humans have the ability to think and make logical decisions. While running over a long distance, this is critical because one has to have a lot of motivation so as to endure. Whenever humans are running, they always have a purpose why they are running. This purpose serves as an incentive to motivate the runner.
The Purpose of Long Distance Running
People engage in long distance running for various reasons. The first reason most people run over a long distance is for physical fitness. With the increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases, many people have taken to long distance running. This helps to improve one’s muscle strength while burning the excess fat.
People also run for recreation. There are many organizations nowadays that organize for long distance running for family fun. Some other organizations organize long distance running for charity reasons. It is used to bring people together to run for both recreations while at the same time raise funds for a certain charitable cause.
There are certain communities that run over a long distance for traveling purposes. This is not common in most areas due to advancement in technology. However, some other people might still run for traveling purpose but also with another motive, probably keeping fit.
Endurance running is also used in military and paramilitary schools for training. Due to the physical and psychological benefits of long distance running, it has been incorporated in the disciplined forces as part of their training.
Some other people also engage in long distance running as a profession. Sports have a provision for long distance running competition. The classifications of the endurance run in sports are:
1. Road running: This is conducted on tarmac roads and the finishing is mostly done in stadiums. Examples of this marathon race include the Boston, Berlin, Chicago, Tokyo, New York City marathons amongst others.
2. Track running: This refers to the running that takes place in the stadium, whereby the runners cover a long distance. The standard track events take 5000 meters and 10,000meters.
3. Cross country running: This running occurs over different types of surfaces during the course of the race.
Long distance running in sports is continuously becoming popular with some of the elite running competitions in the Olympics. These events are held for both genders. In the just completed Rio Olympics, some of the women who won include: Almaz Ayana, Ethiopian who won the women 10,000 Meters. The 5000 Meters women’s race was won by Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenyan.