Saturday, July 18, 2020

Why Long Runs Are Important

Why are long runs important? You often hear people talking about having to do their long run, but why? The long run offers many benefits that will make you a better, stronger and faster runner.

Psychological Benefits of a Long Run

By running long, runners will often experience what is known as a runner’s high. A rush of endorphins washes over you and everything is just right in the world. It’s such a cool feeling.

In addition, knowing you can run 8-10 miles or more makes running a 5K seem like a walk in the park. You feel almost bulletproof.

Musculoskeletal Improvements 

Long runs also help to strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments. This makes you not only stronger, but more resistant to injury. 

Cardiovascular Improvements 

In addition to the above, a long run also improves your endurance. By running for extended periods of time, you actually increase certain enzymes in your muscles. This causes capillary growth which in turn allows more oxygen to get delivered to your muscles, thus increasing endurance. 

How Long Should a Long Run Be?

I always recommend that your long run be 20-30% of your weekly mileage. So for example, if you run 30 miles per week, your long run should be 6-9 miles. 

I do not recommend a long run over 3 hours. Not even for marathon training. That amount of time takes a big toll on the body and could lead to overuse injuries.

If you’d like to learn more about adding a long run to your training, please let me know. I’d love to help you get your next PR. 

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