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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: www.shutterstock.com

What is the purpose of your long run?

The first step to determining the pace of your long run is assessing the purpose and intensity of the run itself.

Not all long runs are created equal. Some long runs are designed to simulate marathon conditions or teach you how to finish fast. These types of long runs are considered a hard workout and you should have extra recovery days scheduled after your session to recover accordingly.

On the other hand, some long runs are done at an easier pace and lesser intensity to build aerobic endurance and put “time on your feet”. These types of long runs aren’t exactly recovery runs, but they aren’t designed to be hard, either.

A well-written training schedule will make the intensity or goal of a long run clear. Understanding the purpose of your long run is important because long runs are just one piece to the training puzzle.

For example, race-specific long runs are an integral part of a training plan and can help take your running to the next level. However, if your long run is designed to be a relatively easy day and you run too hard, you’ll start your next workout too fatigued and risk poor performance and injury.

RELATED: Take Your Long Runs To The Next Level

Race-specific long runs in half marathon and marathon training have predefined paces aimed at helping you get more comfortable at running race pace. But what about those “easy” long runs on your schedule? How fast should they be? And why?

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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.

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