Long and Recovery Runs are two key elements of any training program. They are crucial regardless of the race distance goal. They are both done at conversational paces. As a result, a runner should be able to converse the whole time of the run. In other words, these runs are aerobic, meaning with oxygen.

Long Run

This run is typically done on the weekend, usually Saturday and constitutes the most distance covered by a runner in a week. The exact distance varies by experience, conditioning and week of the training cycle. Distances go up a mile or two each week over the first half to two-thirds of a training cycle. 5k runners move from three to ten miles. 10k runners will be going from four to twelve miles.

As mentioned above, the pace Determining Training Paces is conversational and should be roughly 1:30 to 2:00 minutes over projected race pace. Heart rate-based training would indicate a long run pace in the 60-75% of maximum heartrate area. I have also used a simple method of determining maximum heartrate would be 205-.5 times age.

The purpose of the long run is twofold. It builds mitochondria cells which transport oxygen and blood to muscles. First, this process means more oxygen and more endurance. Secondly, the long run develops mental toughness and confidence.

Recovery Runs

This run is done in the minutes immediately after the completion of a hard effort like a tempo or speed workout. The day after a long run can also be a recovery run, sometimes called a medium distance run. For example, for a 5 or 10 k runner the post speed workout recovery run might be two to three miles. A medium distance run might be four to six miles.

Paces for the recovery run are often a bit slower than the long run or medium distance run since it follows a hard speed effort.

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