The long run is a great piece of your training regimen. It builds endurance, mental toughness and sometimes just getting out there and having a run that’s enjoyable is a must.

This morning, I went for a run with some of the team I’m training. Just over an hour on the hills and through shingle, snow and tree-lined tracks and some generally frosty conditions. There was no way we could have run this on the flat as the roads were too slippery due to the cold conditions we’ve been having over the last couple of weeks. Everyone enjoyed themselves despite slipping over a couple of times and without putting too much effort in, we ran for over an hour.

The Benefits Of The Long Run

  • Builds endurance and stamina
  • Builds strength, especially when running on the hills
  • Teaches the body to burn fat
  • Gives you mental toughness

You do need to keep several things in mind when doing the long runs. The most important, don’t run too fast. And if the run is going to be longer than 1 hour, take something to refuel with. This might be an energy gel (you’ll need water if you’re using energy gels) or some form of drink. See the Run Routine for details on the fueling I use.

When training for a 5K, the long run doesn’t really need to be longer than 2 hours and in fact 1 hour is more than often enough (unless you’re an elite athlete).

How Often Should I Do A Long Run?

I work on the principle of once per week. The other thing to watch out for is doing the long run the day after a race. Because the long run is itself actually a form of hard training, I prefer to have the long runs on days that aren’t after races. The day after a race should be a rest or easy (short) recovery run if required.