Long run training explained

Long run training explained

Ready to up your mileage? Build the distance sensibly with our long run training tips.

If you're new to running, the 'long run' can be the most daunting part of your training planIf you're building up to a 5K or attempting your first marathon, worry not. We have the lowdown on long runs, what the benefits are, and how to make the most of your training plan.

What is the long run? 

The length of a long run is relative to the person running it and the distance that they are training for, but generally speaking a long run is between an hour and three hours, running at a low intensity.

The benefits

Long continuous duration runs will develop your aerobic endurance by improving V02 max (maximum oxygen uptake).A high V02 max, i.e. the body's ability to get plenty of oxygen to the working muscles is a key determinant of middle and long distance running success.

Long slow runs also boost the number of mitochondria in your body, making you a more efficient aerobic machine!

How to run for an hour +

Long runs should be run at a steady pace, at a heart rate of up to 75 per cent or up to six out of ten on a perceived rate of exertion, and you should be able to chat comfortably.

Pace your long run so it's 80 per cent of the speed you could race the same distance - or slower. The 'or slower' part of this is important. Time on your feet is what counts when you start running long distance, especially with marathon training.

Following the 80 per cent formula: if you can race 10 miles at 7:30 pace, you should do your training runs at 9:23. To convert a race pace to an 80 per cent training pace, multiply by 1.25. However, it's also a good idea to try to some runs at marathon pace, especially if you're a faster sub 3.30 marathon runner.

Building up the distance

The key to building running endurance conditioning is to keep it slow but steady. Add one mile a week to your weekend long run.

Most running plans will encourage you to reduce your mileage every fourth week by missing out the long run, or keeping it at the same length as week three. Then starting building again, one mile at a time or as general guide increase the volume by 10 per cent a week.

Running for an hour or more isn't easy so check out these tips on how to keep running when you really want to stop.

Important things to remember when training

There's more to running a half marathon than completing a training plan. You'll need to prepare your body for the challenge, so make sure you check out these guides too.

Running your first marathon

How to run your first marathon

The secret to running your first marathon

The secret to running your fastest marathon

Improving your training

How to improve your long distance stamina

Interval training for long distance

Running technique

6 ways to improve your running technique

What your running style says about you

Running nutrition

What to eat when training for a marathon

What to eat the week and day before a marathon

What to eat 24 hours before a marathon

6 easy meals for runners

What are your long run tips?  

More from The Running Bug

Posted

Myblegs don't feel like they could move any slower.....I find it really hard to slow down without feeling like I'm shuffling

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  • Lydz
    • Lydz
    • I have LEGS not BLEGS!!!

    • over 1 year ago
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Posted

Your site is helpful to me, I have only been running since October 2013, I am this year running the 10k I have built it up at a steady pace so far, thanks to the running bug I have taken on board many tips to help me achieve ..........

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Posted

Definitely glad I read over this. Training for the London Marathon will be a bit easier now

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Posted

Thank you for all the marathon training and  the Marathon 16 week plan i have did 7 hf marathons but never afull marathon so i am looking forward to completing my 16 weeks training  if i can do that then i will know it is possible for me to do a Full marathon after all

all advice welcome

Catherine

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Posted

Thank you for all the marathon advice i am looking forward to doing a 16 week training plan am not sure if i could do a full marathon i have did 7 hf marathons  but would like to give the training a go and if i can compleat the training i will know that its possible xx

Catherine

All advice welcome

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Posted

Love it all got the Love Bug

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Posted

My philosophy is get out there and feel some pain...Ave it!!!

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Posted

Can anyone explain the figures used in this article? For instance, since when does 75% convert to 6 out of ten. Also the conversion from race pace to training pace!!!!! It's all upside down.

Not a very inspiring article. Rubbish

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Posted

Hi...I was having real problems with breathing and stitch until I watched an a video on you tube which showed how doing 2 breaths in then 2 breaths out helped....I tried this and it has worked...I have not had stitch since (and it was crippling me before). I use a stride per breath so 2 strides to breath in and 2 to heath out....hope that makes sense! x

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Posted

Hi George.  

I had problems with my breathing and getting stitches.  My doctor told me not to worry about it.  However I did lots of research on breathing.  They say breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  When you breath out you can purse your lips or push the air between your teeth.  I don't count my breaths but make sure i take a big breath in and push the air out.  Also when you breathe out your stomach should inflate, this is called belly breathing if you look into it.  I think good breathing is the key to good running and it's been one of life's lessons for me.   I only have problems now when i run too fast or get into my music and forget about breathing - so it's wise to concentrate on it until you can trust yourself to maintain an easy rate.  Hope you understand this!  Good luck! x          

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