The Long Run

What is the long run? Why we should do it? What distance? What pace? How often? What to do before and after? This article will answer these basic questions about the "long run" training.

What is it?

It is a long duration training done at easy and constant pace. A training session lasting over 2 hours is considered Long Run. If you are a novice runner, or if you are training for short races, a training session lasting more than 1:30 hour can also be considered a Long Run.

Why we should do it?

The Long Run gives you endurance, increasing your aerobic capacity and the capability to run longer distances, be you a marathon or a 10k runner. Basically the Long Run:
a) Strengthens your heart;
b) Increases the number and size of your blood vessels;
Strengthens your muscles, joints and legs;
d) Trains the body to use more fat as fuel;
e) Gives you self-confidence.


What distance?

As I said before, the duration of the running (more than 2 hours) is more important than its distance. Don't increase your Long Run duration by more than 15 minutes per week or you will be risking injury. The training distance over 24 km is considered a Long Run, but you shouldn't run more than 32 km. You can run more than 32 km to get self-confidence, but the risks to be injured are high. In general the Long Run distance is about 20% of your weekly training volume.

At what pace?

It is recommended to run the Long Run at 1 minute per mile slower than your marathon pace. So, if your marathon pace is about 7:30 min/mile, you should do the Long Run at 8:30 min/mile. If you use a heart rate monitor, do the Long Run at 70-75% of your
maximal heart rate. This is the optimal heart rate to improve your aerobic capacity and to teach your body to use more fat as fuel.

How often should we do it?

You shouldn't do more than one Long Run a week. The best way is to do a Long Run for three consecutive weeks and then, in the fourth week, don't do it. Then do a Long Run for two consecutive weeks and then, in the third week, don't do it. Three weeks with a Long, one without, two with, one without, and so on. If you work for too much time on your feet, you shouldn't do Long Run for three consecutive weeks.

The training sessions before and after the Long Run?

In the previous day you should do a short run, no more than 10% of your weekly training volume. In the day after the Long Run, a short and light training.


Related article:
Benefits of Long Runs

Text copyright © by Hélio Augusto, revised by Marco Antônio de Oliveira and Bob Reis

This article has informational purpose and  isn't a substitute for professional advice.

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