How Fast Should Your Easy Long Runs Be?

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Jan. 27, 2014
  • Updated Jan. 27, 2014 at 7:36 AM UTC
Understanding the purpose of your long run is important because long runs are just one piece to the training puzzle. Photo:

Let’s look at the physiological benefits of the long run and see how pace affects the intended benefit.

The long run is a staple in almost every runner’s weekly training schedule. It doesn’t matter if you’re training for the 5K or the marathon, more than likely, you have at least one day designated as your long run day each week.

However, despite the near universal application of the long run, many runners don’t know how fast they should be running for optimal benefit. If you run too slow, you won’t produce significant stimulus and adaptation. Run too fast and you run the risk of not being recovered for your next run. Making things more difficult, long runs can serve multiple training purposes, each with its own set of intensity and pace recommendations.

RELATED: The Art Of The Long Run

So, what is the optimal for your easy long runs? In the next couple pages, I’ll outline the different types of long runs and then examine the scientific literature behind easier long runs to help you determine your ideal pace for those sessions.

Next »

FILED UNDER: Training TAGS: / / /

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

Get our best running content delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to the FREE Competitor Running weekly newsletter