Going Long – 5 Reasons to Add a Weekly Long Run

The weekly long run is the perfect end-cap to a week of training. Almost every running program will include one day a week with some extra mileage, whether you’re training for a 5k or a marathon. With good reason! The long run does more than just burn a few hundred more calories.

Yesterday my dad rode his bike next to me along the running path for my morning long run, all 14 miles. It couldn’t have been more beautiful out!

Long Run Garmin Time (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I love my Garmin!

The out-and-back route took just under an hour and 45 minutes, or 7:30 per mile. Although the distance can vary from person to person, a good estimate of how far your long run should be is 20% of your weekly mileage. This week I ran 70 miles, therefore my long run is 14 miles. A 60-mile week would include a 12-mile long run. A 35-mile week = 7-mile long run.

5 Reasons you should go long:

1.) Most obviously, long runs increase endurance. If you run 4-5 miles daily, you could hit a plateau. Increase the mileage on your weekend run and watch your mid-week runs feel easier!

2.) Long runs teach your body to maximize efficiency and use fat for energy. Initially, your body uses its carbohydrate/glycogen stores for energy. As you run longer and burn up your glycogen, your body has to turn to fat for energy. With each long run, your effort should feel easier and easier.

3.) Long runs can be the most peaceful! Worst thing you can do is go into the run with an attitude of just “wanting to get it over with.” Every minute will seem like eternity. If you know you are heading out for a 75 minute run, be mentally prepared and positive. Yesterday, I was so excited for my long run, because I hadn’t been able to run a straight 14 miles at all at school, due to weather and lack of trails and boredom on the treadmill. When my dad and I headed out into the sunshine, I was looking forward to getting some quality miles in and made sure to enjoy the run. If you’ve never experienced the “Runner’s High,” go out for a long run. You’ll have a sense of pride in what you can accomplish!

4.) Long Runs don’t stress pace. You should feel comfortable the whole time, and if you have enough energy left, you can pick it up at the end. But you should never feel like you are straining or struggling on your long runs.

5.) Post-Run Brunch. Need I say more? Your carbohydrates have been depleted and need replenishing. Your metabolism is revved. You have most-assuredly earned a hearty brunch (that is NOT to say you’ve earned donuts or cinnamon rolls, your body deserves better than that!) But a fresh batch of whole wheat banana pecan pancakes?

Long Run Brunch (stronglikemycoffee.com)I can go for that! Thanks Mom! :) (My dad accompanies me on my run while my mom stays back and cooks us breakfast….lucky girl!)

I was oh-so-proud of my little Missy at the breakfast table yesterday; she takes after ME:

Long Run Missy and coffee (stronglikemycoffee.com)Coffee love runs in the family ;)

The traditional ‘Day of Rest’ is also good for getting in quality exercise! The most important thing is to ease into long runs though, adding about 1 mile per week so you don’t over-do it your first time out. Enjoy your Sunday!

About Stronglikemycoffee

College student-athlete committed to living healthy and happy. I want to share my recipes, fitness tips and silly stories with YOU! There's nothing like crushing goals and becoming stronger than you ever knew you could be.

Posted on March 3, 2013, in Fitness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Oh my gosh – it’s so sunny there! This long run sounds awesome; I’m glad you guys had fun :)

  2. Hello! I stumbled across your blog via Pinterest, and I’ve been absolutely hooked since. Great job– it’s fun, engaging, and your advice is so helpful. I really value reading what you have to say. I’m not a competitive runner, but I’ve been running for awhile now, and I really want to up my distance, and you’re helping me get pumped up! Could I ask you something– do you ever feel (or have you) unsafe running alone? Based on my schedule, running alone is easiest, and maybe I’m paranoid, but I can’t help but feel scared and unsafe sometimes. It seems really lame, and I REALLY dislike that it affects my motivation to run, but maybe hearing your take on it would help me :) Thank you!! All the best to you.

    • Short answer: YES I have felt unsafe running alone, and I try to always have a running buddy. However…..fear shouldn’t limit us! If running solo is the only option, I’ll just take my (pink) pepper spray and stick to a route through neighborhoods or near busy streets. I’m not so much afraid of being “abducted” or something; my main fear is running into a wild animal on the trails. I totally don’t know what I would do if I turned a corner into a coyote or violent dog. That’s why running by houses and cars seems the safest. Most mornings I run at 5am, so I will either plan to run with a friend, or use the treadmill at the gym (set incline to at least 1%). It’s totally understandable to feel unsafe, given some of the news reports on females being assaulted while exercising alone. Just don’t go running through a desolate area, and also try to mix up your route every couple days so you don’t have a pattern of the same run at the same time. :)

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