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 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 (oxygen carrying cells) in your body, making you a more efficient aerobic machine!

How to do it
Long 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 distance
The 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.

 


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Posted

Love all your articles: thank you.

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I agree with Westie, good articles...but note VO2 Max is improved most keenly by short bursts such as 400/800m reps, the key driver for long runs is muscle adaptation as you pointed out and improving local glycogen storage (and in ost cases wieght loss)

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Hi

Does anybody have any tips on breathing while running.Some of my friends say I should count my breaths in and out?

Thanks

George

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

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Love it all got the Love Bug

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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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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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3 minutes ago