The Long Run - Build your endurance with a easy but longer distance run

A long run should be a part of every distance runners routine. If you are training consistently (at least three runs per week) add one longer run each week. It doesn't matter if you are training for the one mile or the marathon, you need to run a slower paced, longer run once a week.

Their are many benefits for running for a longer period of time. Some of these include increases endurance, improves leg strength, burns body fat efficiently, and increases the time you can hold onto a faster pace.

There are some rules you should follow though for your long run. If you stick to these tips, you should have an enjoyable time.

1. Don't run too fast! This is by far the most important rule because if you go out too hard, you will be miserable later. The idea of a longer run is not to improve your speed. It's all about endurance. A good check of the pace is by simply seeing if you can talk. We call it conversation pace. If you are just getting in shape, this might sound crazy to you. It's true though, when you are in decent shape you can actually talk on a run. Also, you might want to run for time instead of distance.

2. Don't run too far. If your longest run is four miles, then shoot for five the next week. A safer way to approach a long run is to run for time, not distance. That way you aren't worried about how many miles you have covered. If you are all about mileage, at least follow the 10% rule. This means don't increase your distance ran more than 10% each week.

3. Make sure you are hydrated and have enough energy before the run. You are going to be out there running for a little while, so make sure you have drank enough water the day of your run. Don't forget to eat some food during the day. If you run in the morning, drink a lot of water the night before, and eat dinner. You can bring water with you too on a run. Check some of the prices right here for different hydration packs or water bottles.

4. Run a route you are very familiar with, or run with a partner. Remember, safety first on a run. If you are out on the trails all alone and you get injured or lost, it is not a good feeling. Trust me on that one. If you are alone, run a route you know, or a route near civilization. Some people I know will carry their cell phone with them on a longer run, just in case.

5. The final rule. Pick a route that is enjoyable to run. I love running by beautiful scenery, so my long runs are routes that go by rivers, through parks, or through our little downtown area. It makes it easier to relax when you enjoy your route.

I hope these tips help you understand the value of a long run, and howt to approach it. These runs are the most rewarding for me because I don't push myself to go fast. I just relax, jog around town, and enjoy the run.

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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