The Long Run
The long run is your training program for the marathon
or the half marathon.
What is a long run?
The long run starts with the longest distance you've covered within
the last two weeks and increases by one mile on a weekly long one
up to 8-10 miles. At that point, you'll shift to running long every
other weekend, increasing by two miles each time. For the marathon,
once you reach 18 miles, increase by three miles every third week.
For the half marathon, once you reach 8 miles, increase by two miles
every third week.
The mental benefits
While there are significant and continuing physical benefits from
running long regularly, the mental ones are greater. Each week,
I hear from beginning marathoners after they have just run the longest
run of their lives. This produces mental momentum, self-confidence,
and a positive attitude. By slowing the pace and talking walk breaks,
you can also experience a series of victories over fatigue with
almost no risk of injury.
The most direct training way to prepare for the half marathon
As you extend the long one to 26 miles, you build the exact endurance
necessary to complete the marathon (14 to 15 for the half marathon,
8 to 10 for the 10K).
Pacing of long Runs
Run all of the long ones at least 2 minutes slower than you could
run that distance that day. The walk breaks will help you to slow
the pace, but you must run slower as well. You get the same endurance
from the long one if you run slowly as you would if you run fast.
However, you'll recover much faster from a slow long run.
Adjust for heat, humidity, hills, etc.
The warmer and more humid it is, the slower you must go (two and
a half to three minutes/mile slower than you could run that distance
that day). The slower you go, from the beginning of the run, the
less damage you'll incur from the heat, humidity, and distance covered.
More frequent (or longer) walk breaks will also lower the damage
without detracting from the endurance of that long run.
Signs you went too fast on a long one:
- you must hit the couch or bed and rest for an hour or more
- muscle soreness or leg fatigue which lasts more than two days,
making it uncomfortable to run
- aches and/or pains that last for more than four days after a
- huffing and puffing so much during the last two to three miles
that you can't carry on a conversation
- struggling during the last two to three miles to maintain pace
or slowing down
- an increase in nausea and irritation at the end of the run
Long run facts
- Thirteen miles with walk breaks equals 13 miles continuously's
at any speed, Twenty miles with walk breaks equals 20 miles run
continuously's at any speed (but you recover faster with walk
- Forget about speed on long runs. Focus only on the component
- You can't run too slowly on the long runs. Run at least two
minutes per mile slower than you could run that distance that
day, accounting for heat, humidity, etc.
- You usually won't feel bad when you're running too fast at the
beginning of the run; you must force yourself to slow down.
- The day before the long run should be a no-exercise day.
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