The Running Bug Tue, Oct 18 2011 Likes1 12 Comments Facebook0 Twitter0 Long Run Training Explained Running coach Fiona Bugler explains long run training, what the benefits are and how to do it. Tip: Great for half marathon or marathon race training.What is it?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, run at a low intensity.The BenefitsLong 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 (oxygen carrying cells) in your body, making you a more efficient aerobic machine!How to do itLong runs should be run at a steady pace, at a heart rate of up to 75 percent 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, 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 distanceThe key to building endurance conditioning is to keep it slow but steady. Add one mile a week to your weekend long run. Every fourth week, reduce your mileage 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.Long running for marathons: When starting out, the goal is to build up to at least one run of 20 miles, over a period of three to four months. Many coaches suggest running five 20 mile-runs in the build up to a marathon, over a period of 16 to 18 weeks. For more advanced runners higher intensity marathon-paced long runs of between 10 and 15 will be done every three to four weeks. Or a pace can be increased by doing a negative split, for example, the last 10 miles faster than the first. More from The Running Bug Hill Training Explained Speed and Interval Training Tempo/Threshold Training Running Training Tips, Tools & Plans Hills provide resistance and are like working in an outdoor gym. If you want to run faster, you need to practice running faster. Here's how. Threshold training will prepare your body to run faster, for longer. Training advice, free training tools and loads more training plans for runners.