Long runs are a crucial part of a runner’s training program, but determining how long they should be can be a challenge.
The distance of a long run is subjective and varies based on an individual’s fitness level, running experience, and goals.
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Recommendations for Novice Athletes
For novice runners, the general rule of thumb is to keep long runs at or below 30% of their weekly mileage.
This means that if an athlete is running 20 miles per week, their long run should be no longer than 6 miles.
It is essential to gradually increase the distance of the long run by no more than one mile each week. This slow progression will help prevent injury and promote endurance.
Recommendations for Intermediate Athletes
Intermediate runners should aim to run long runs that are between 30-50% of their weekly mileage.
Therefore, if an athlete is running 30 miles per week, their long run should be between 9–15 miles.
Intermediate runners can increase their long run distance by one to two miles each week. It is crucial to listen to your body and adjust accordingly if you feel fatigued or experience pain.
Recommendations for Advanced Athletes
Advanced runners can safely run long runs that are up to 50-70% of their weekly mileage.
Therefore, if an athlete is running 50 miles per week, their long run can be between 25–35 miles.
Advanced runners should consider incorporating back-to-back long runs once or twice a month. However, it is essential to balance the long runs with recovery time and cross-training to prevent overtraining and injury.
Regardless of an athlete’s experience level, there are precautions that should be taken to ensure safe and effective long runs.
It is essential to wear proper running shoes, stay hydrated, and fuel correctly before, during, and after the run. It is also vital to listen to your body and rest when needed.
In conclusion, determining the appropriate length of your long runs depends on your fitness level, running experience, and goals.
Following the recommended guidelines and taking the necessary precautions will help prevent injury and promote endurance.