30 – 180 minutes
10 – 32 km
These runs cover significant distances and durations, while being similar to base runs in that you are not pushing beyond a conversational pace. The distance you run depends mostly on your running fitness level. Even if you’re training for a marathon you would not want to attempt long distances from the get-go. You would start with whatever makes sense for where you’re at, physically and psychologically.
If you’re a newbie, a long run may be 5km (3.1 miles) or even less. Near the end of training for a marathon, you may find your long runs growing to 20-32km. (12.4 – 20 miles)
As long runs are a form of endurance exercise, I recommend bringing plenty of water and some form of electrolyte-based drink or gel replenishment, such as Gatorade. After running for an extended period, a great deal of nutrients are consumed by muscles and excreted in your sweat. Failing to replenish will leave you vulnerable to succumb to cramping, dehydration, fatigue, injury, delayed recovery, and temperature-related effects.
Long runs are best tackled when you can handle at least 30 minutes of continuous running. Set a course in your local area for 5 km. Run it at an easy pace, and don’t be afraid to walk if you need to. When you’re able to handle 5 km non-stop and are up for a challenge, try increasing your running distance or time. Increasing your long run distance by a kilometre, or by 10 minutes every week is typically acceptable.
Benefits of this Run
Improves Endurance: Long runs substantially increase your overall raw endurance. This will allow your body to adapt to the prolonged stresses experienced over longer durations and distances.
Improves Resilience: These build physical and psychological resilience. Not only will your muscles, joints and tendons adapt to the greater demands of endurance runs, but gradually increasing distance and duration will also allow you to overcome that little voice that doubts how far you can push yourself.