Make More Of Your Weekly Long Runs

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Technical Articles

Long runs are a core part of half marathon training – here’s how to progress yours.

The weekly long run is part and parcel of being a runner. Whether you do long runs as training for a race like the Windsor Half Marathon, or simply enjoy them as time out to focus on yourself, long runs are important.

But there’s the problem of hitting a plateau. How can you prevent your long runs from getting stagnant, and instead make them a strategic part of your fitness or fat loss efforts?

Here are 5 ways to progress your long runs.

Build the distance

This is the most obvious way to progress your long runs. But it carries the risk of overtraining. After all, you can’t keep adding mile after mile to your weekly long run – where would it end? Instead, we suggest you approach it in a “wave” format. Add distance for 3 weeks, then back off for a week before going again.

Best for: long run training with a race in mind (check out the Windsor Half Marathon in September!)

Choose a hilly route

Flat long runs can get easy quickly. That’s because you’re only challenging one element of fitness – your endurance. Add in some incline and you’ll put new demands on your body, which will pay off in terms of strength, power, and calorie burn. Seek out an undulating route to tackle hills – see what difference it makes.

Best for: a big boost to your fitness, building leg strength, or breaking through a plateau.

Take to the trails

If you stick to the same long run routes, you’ll lose out on some of the more meaningful mindset elements of long runs. Heading off road for your long run is stimulating and relaxing for your mind. After all, isn’t that partly what running means to you?

Best for: long runs that really take you away from it all

Add some pace

Long runs should always be slower than your mid-week shorter training runs, but there’s no rule that says they need to stay the same pace throughout. Why not take a month to focus on pace, not distance, for your long runs? Aim to run the second half faster than the first (a negative split) or add a few race-pace miles in the middle?

Best for: boosting fitness or fat loss, training for a distance race

Mix and match exercises

Why do you run long? If your answer is “fitness”, then here’s an out of the box idea that will boost your results like nothing else. Split your long run distance into miles or half miles, and add in exercises like air squats, press ups, lunges, or burpees after every run segment. That way you get a great calorie burn, and tone your body in the same session!

Best for: fitness, toning up, reshaping your body

Need a focus for your weekly long run? Come and join us at the Windsor Half Marathon on Sunday 29th September 2024.