Part 2 of "Your Personal Marathon Zone: Training Guidelines and Building Blocks" by Guy Avery has a splendid list of what happens when you run long. In Marathon & Beyond magazine (the Nov/Dec 2006 issue) Avery writes that the physiological benefits include:

  1. developing deep capillary beds in the leg muscles that will enable you to transport oxygen far more efficiently
  2. increasing your ability to store glycogen and use it more efficiently
  3. using more free fatty acids as a partial fuel source
  4. increasing significantly the number of oxidative enzymes and the size and number of mitochondria that help process oxygen and create energy more easily at the cellular level
  5. recruiting and converting certain muscle fibers toward gaining greater endurance ability so that a higher percentage of your key musculature can be come more effectively engaged in running, and
  6. strengthening all connective tissues to prevent future injuries while also providing a reserve training capacity to more easily handle shorter but more intense training sessions that are critical to your marathon racing success

As a sucker for lists I've gotta love this one, and I especially applaud the idea of powering up my mitochondria --- crank out some more of that ATP, little fellas!

(cf. SelfImprovement (29 Jul 2002), RunsInTheFamily (25 Jan 2003), ResetTheThermostat (1 Apr 2004), ...)

TopicScience - TopicRunning - 2006-11-11

(correlates: Edge of the Possible, Comfortably Numb, NumberNineDream, ...)