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Why the Long Run?

why run long runs?

As runners most of us are running long distances, we’re going out for long runs. Why the long run? When is it a long run? How long should you be running? Ok, let’s talk about long runs.

Recently I made a remark that I hadn’t been running that much lately and my longest run was only 15K. Now later on I realised that to some people that might sound kind of strange. But it all depends on the context. I was training for a marathon so I should have been running 25 to 30K’s and 15K is actually shorter than I normally would run even when I’m not training for a race.

However I do realise that for some runners 15K seems like a crazy amount of running. I remember when I started out running or even before I started running, I couldn’t even imagine somebody would actually run 10K without being in a race or being chased by the police. So me saying ‘only 15K’ is just a reflection on my training. If you are just starting out with your running you might be happy to run a mile without stopping or see running a 5K as your goal to some day be able to run.

The long run is different in that way for everybody. And it’s in no way to brag that I can run longer, cause I don’t see it as an accomplishment on my part at all, I just trained for it and slowly but surely it got easier to do and now I can run 15K, but anybody could do the same thing. If you put in the time and effort you can do the same.

running longer distances

So that means the long run changes, for me the long run used to be 3K. I had a route I would run and that was 3K. I was proud when I had run it, felt good about it and was exhausted. Then when I started training I got up to 5K and thought how will I ever run 10K? But I got to 10K and it got easier to run longer distances. It also got easier to improve on the distance. Going from 3 to 5K seemed a lot harder than going from 8 to 10K.

The long run is at the heart of most of our training schedules. We are training for races where we want to run a long distance goal. This can be a 5K, half marathon or a marathon, but at what ever level you are running it’s that long run that gets our attention and that is the achievement we strive for.

long distance running

I like running intervals, I love Fartlek runs, mixing up my training runs is what keeps it fun, but it’s the long run that gives me that feeling of fulfilment, the feeling of knowing you went out to achieve something and you went out and did it. For me that is the strength of the long run, the feeling that you accomplished something that you felt you needed to do. Whether it’s for your training, to de-stress or to push yourself, the long run gives that feeling of fulfilment. I might not always feel like it, but when I’m done I’m always happy I did it.

So whether you go out for a 3K run or a 15K run, they can both be long runs. It’s what’s a long run to you. And as long as you keep working on your goal, you keep expanding on that distance your long run will change and you will eventually get to a point where you’ll say: I only ran 15K. Now when I think about it it still sounds crazy to me. Even though 15K is an easy run for me now, the fact that I think of 15K as ‘only 15K does still amaze me. But if you keep running, keep training and keep taking care of your body so you don’t get injuries, that long run will continue to get longer and longer.


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