The Long Run

The Long Run

This is the second part in a series on training

Everyone has a different idea of what a long run is. For some, if it isn't over 10 miles it isn't a long run. For others, anything longer than 30-40 minutes may be a long run. There are some runners who base each long run on the week's mileage. Some think long runs should be run at as slow as necessary to finish and/or get aerobic stimulus. Others think that long runs should have specific paces. What should high school athletes be doing for their long runs?

I can't tell you specifically because there is no set standard for what a long run is, but I find that many runners base their long runs off 20% of their weekly mileage total. This formula is mainly for runners who almost exclusively do mileage and rarely do any running faster than threshold pace (many marathoners for instance). For high school runners who are running shorter distances, mileage may not be that high and long runs shouldn't necessarily be predicated on your mileage for that week.

So how should a high schooler do their long runs over the summer? Well, first let's get a bare minimum definition for the long run that everyone can agree on. How about, any run that is significantly longer than any other run done on a regular basis. This could mean anything from as little as 5 miles to anything higher depending on the athlete and their ability level. Long runs don't have to be the same thing each week either. Under our definition, we have left out paces and exactly what distance to stop at, so let's look at some ways you can do your long runs.

Traditional long run- done at a casual pace that is roughly 20% of weekly volume. Instead of trying to figure out what that comes out to, it would be much easier to just add three miles to your next longest distance run that you normally do. Therefore, if you usually get in 5 miles for your distance runs, get in 8.

The long run for pace- Add about 10 minutes to your normal distance run (so say you run 5 miles in 40 minutes normally, this run will be 50 minutes) but the key is to run at a pace a little quicker than you normally run, unless you usually tear up your distance runs. In that case just keep your pace the same but run for a longer duration. In our example, we instead will run at 7:30 pace for 50 minutes, clearing a total of almost 7 miles.

The long workout- You can easily turn your workout into your long day as well (note that you may need more than just one day to recover from this type of workout) by adding in some easy distance in between reps. Imagine a one mile warm up and cool down with the workout being 3 by one mile at goal race pace for your opening 3 mile race. Add in 1-1.5 mile of jogging in between reps and you have done 7-8 miles in one session.

What do I recommend to do? All of them! Alternate which way you do your long run each week and you will always feel like there is a different challenge waiting for you.

I hope that helps give you some ideas for your summer long run training! If you have any questions feel free to send a message!