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The Long Run: Beauty And The Beast

golden-eggThe long run is often touted as the golden egg of a person’s weekly run training. This extended effort is not without its drawbacks and does require some consideration as it is integrated into your overall ultramarathon training plan.

The Beauty

The long run is usually my favorite run of the week which is most likely the case for most long course trail runners and ultrarunners. You probably won’t see too many 50 mile and 100 mile athletes say they dislike the long run unless they have been recently visited by the beast (see below).

Here are some benefits of the long run:

  • It’s fun. – You get to run for a nice chunk of time. You are also running at a fairly aerobic pace so you could have conversations with other runners. Not a lot of talking going on during tempo or interval days.
  • Develop your running efficiency and strength. – Running helps you run. Running longer helps you run longer (and shorter).
  • Develop your mental strength. – The greater amount of time on your feet provides opportunities to increase your mental fitness for those challenging times in a race. It can be somewhat comforting to know you have been in a funk before and can get out of it.
  • Try out nutrition and gear options. – What does your tummy like? Does your shirt remove a layer of nipple after a couple hours of running? Find out in training before the race. Bloody nipples are really not a badge of honor although a buddy of mine did say his wife thought it was hot (but that’s another story).

The Beast

The long run can also chew you up and spit you out.

Here are some of the potential ugly affects of the long run:

  • Smoked – The distance or time ran has extinguished most of your life force. Your fuel tank is running on empty for a number of consecutive days. Life sucks attitude.
  • Injury – Ouch!
  • Consistency Elimination – Having to drop a number of training days due to being smoked or injured.

How to create more Beauty and reduce the presence of the Uglies.

Run training is an art. The training that works for one person may or may not work for you so be willing to listen to your own body and adapt your training accordingly. This is no easy task but I think it is part of the fun and personal growth opportunity of endurance sports. The process becomes an exploration of yourself.

Part of this learning journey is creating a personal relationship with injecting a new running stress (such as the long run) and then allowing appropriate recovery to generate an increased fitness response. (Training Plan Secret) Just as important, this all happens within a consistent routine of run training.

This my friends is the art of running and how one can create more beauty while receiving a positive return on your training investment.

What are some of the things you do to keep the long run a training asset versus a pain in the asset?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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