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If you’re a distance runner, you probably already know that the long run is by far the most crucial run of the week. It’s the only run that will actually increase your endurance to the level you’ll need on race day.
Nevertheless, we believe that most individuals are unaware of the necessity of varying lengths of long runs. Running at the same speed for gradually longer distances as the race draws nearer cannot be the only thing you do every week. That might get you ready for the race’s length, but it won’t get you ready to complete it in the fastest time possible.
Every training schedule should include a long run, which you shouldn’t skip if you’re preparing for a longer race. If you have some long runs coming up, think about these modifications to make the most of your long run. Occasionally, changing up your long run is a beautiful way to upgrade your training and enhance your performance.
What is a long run?
A long run is an exercise session that lasts over 60 to 120 minutes or even longer. These runs are typically done at a relaxed, conversational pace, making it simple to converse with your running partner. It’s lovely, simple, and laid-back. Runners have their own idea of what a long run is. For an experienced runner, a 60-minute run might be short, but for a newbie, it’s a long one.
How long should a long run be?
The long run is a critical element of any training regimen. It not only helps you develop endurance but also mentally gets you ready for the race day by training you to focus for a long time and assuring you that you can finish the distance.
Nonetheless, how long should you go for? If you’re training for a specific time, you’ll need to follow a few fundamental rules to help you get started.
Based on a regular distance, you may easily estimate how long you should run on your long run day. The typical recommendation is that your long run should be 1.5 to 2 times longer than your short run. For instance, if your easy run day lasts for 30 minutes, your long run must last 45 to 60 minutes. If you typically run 5K on easy days, it should be between 7.5 and 10K in the distance.
You can also choose an acceptable long run distance by adding up your weekly miles. If you run 50 kilometers weekly, your long run should be between 10 and 15 kilometers, which is roughly 20 to 30 percent of your weekly distance.
Longer runs are probably possible for runners who have been competing and training for some time to extend the length of their longest runs. To prevent overtraining and injury, beginners should maintain a shorter distance.
Of course, the length of your long run should be appropriate for the distance over which you will be competing. For instance, if you’re preparing for a half-marathon, a 45-minute run won’t be sufficient to prepare you for the event.
You should consider your running history, current mileage, and the distance you’re preparing for when determining how long your long run should be. To prevent injury, increase your weekly mileage gradually over a number of weeks.
There are many different views on how long your long run should be, but if you’re really committed to your training, hiring a coach who can develop a personalized plan for you is the best option.
How do you structure a long run?
Your long run structure will depend on several factors. Here are a few questions to help you determine the structure you need.
- What do I hope to accomplish through training?
- What race did I register for? Time of the incident
- What kind of track would I’d be running on?
- What level of fitness am I now at?
According to the training cycle, it is often performed once every seven to ten days. However, some intermediate and experienced runners may perform more than one every seven to ten days.
The optimum time to introduce long runs into your training is after you have established a strong foundation in both running economy and endurance. You shouldn’t jump into them too quickly if it’s your first full or half marathon or you have a low pace.
Long runs at an easy pace should not be substituted, even for the most seasoned runners. Long-run workouts need more recovery time, put you at greater risk for injury, utilize different metabolic processes, and demand more mental energy. If you perform them too frequently, you risk becoming hurt or overtrained.
Types of long runs
Different kinds of long runs can be built into the training routine as runners advance in their careers and depending on the particular objective.
Traditional long runs
The traditional long run is performed slowly, like a conversation. Ideal situations include when you’ve started to enjoy long runs, while you’re recovering from an injury, or after a break. You should be able to speak in complete phrases and not be breathless.
Heart rate training is one of the simplest techniques to determine this pace. You can track your heart rate through a heart rate monitor to determine your running effort. For a lengthy run, aim for 70-80 percent of your maximum effort.
After becoming accustomed to long runs in the conventional sense and establishing a solid running foundation, one can graduate to these progression runs. In this structure, you start slowly at your slowest running speed and pick up the pace in each block until you reach the final leg of your long run, and you end up racing that block as quickly as you can.
Let’s take the example of a 20-kilometer run. This run style works on developing two talents—speed and endurance—and helps you run faster on tired legs.
You would incorporate strides for a portion of the distance in this run style. A typical example would be running 5 easy miles, followed by 2 fast and 3 slow miles. This would be performed 6 times before returning to the 5 easy miles. They are delightful and fly by so rapidly that you can finish your long run.
Any format is possible for this type of run. It involves running for 45 minutes a day and 90 minutes or more the following days. A strong technique for increasing stamina to run for a long time on tired legs.
What are the benefits of a long run?
The expansion of your cardiovascular fitness is typically the first benefit that comes to mind when discussing its advantages. Still, there are many more, and we will explore them in this section.
Long runs help you build more aerobic stamina so your body won’t have to exert as much effort the next time to achieve the same performance level. Long runs strengthen your heart and widen your capillaries, which sends blood to working muscles and clears waste from tired muscles.
It makes you more self-assured
You get confidence as a result of those long miles. You can handle just about anything if you can withstand some very challenging long runs. Even though you’re not a marathon runner, you will realize that you are much stronger than before. A crucial component of any runner is their confidence. When you are at the starting line, knowing that you are physically and mentally strong inspires you to do more.
You feel a sense of accomplishment
A long run also leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. You don’t run that far daily, so you have a good cause to feel more exceptional.
Since the long runs are intended to be “hard” or at least tough – mentally or physically – you feel like you have accomplished something for the day and laid the foundation for your upcoming running success after completing them.
It’s good for socializing
Long runs provide an excellent way to meet new individuals as well. Nothing is better than pleasant company on the long run when you have the opportunity to tell all the crazy stories you’ve always wanted to.
You get stronger and better
Additionally, you are improving your running efficiency because you spend more time on the ground. You’ll discover how to conserve energy and let your body figure out how to run at a particular pace as effortlessly as possible. However, you also make your bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, which increases your body’s overall resistance.
Long runs are challenging. Running too quickly increases your risk of injury and burnout. If you run too slowly, neither a meaningful stimulus nor an adaptation will likely be triggered. Long runs are challenging.
Running too quickly increases your risk of injury and burnout. If you run too slowly, neither a meaningful stimulus nor an adaptation will likely be triggered. Whether you’re preparing for a half marathon or an endurance competition, long runs are the foundation of practical endurance training.