Few things in running are more consistent than the weekend long run.
One can easily get into the habit of getting lazy with this workout and just going out for 2-3 hours at an easy pace.
Recently I was talking to an athlete with a Boston qualifying marathon time, who said she has never done anything but “get the miles in” during her long runs.
If your weekend long run has become a dreaded boredom induced two hour slog, I’d suggest you take a peak at the below suggestions to spice it up a bit.
We often get into the habit of doing the same routes over and over again. Search out new trails that you’ve never been to before, explore your city, run a local race course, or find a running group and join their weekend long run.
This may be the most overlooked aspect of a long run. If you have a half or full marathon coming up, performing durations at 90% goal pace can be extremely beneficial. Start with a few miles at 90% goal pace and every couple weeks extend how long you run at this speed. You could start at 2 x 2 miles and you end it 3 weeks out from the marathon with 18 at 90% goal pace! If you can do that outside of a race before a taper, you can run 26.2 miles at goal pace tapered in a race!
Do them bi-weekly
Consider that the long runs of elite athletes training 100+ miles per week are generally the same 18-24 mile distance as the weekend warrior. The difference is the elite may cover 18 miles a half our sooner and that 18 may only be 18% of their weekly volume vs the weekend warrior’s 45%. There is nothing magical about a 7 day cycle, instead try a 14 day cycle where one weekend you do a long run and the other you do a mid-distance tempo run plus. Combine that with a mid-week speed workout and fill in the rest of the days with rest or easy running, and you have a respectable bi-weekly format.
Another great way to ease into doing goal pace during long runs is to start with progression runs. Go from doing the entire run easy to having 1 moderate effort mile at the end. 2 miles next time, then 3. Cut back and do 2 hard, then 3 hard, then 5 moderate. Don’t worry about the pace, just focus on the perceived exertion.
Subscribe to our newsletter & be entered into our monthly free shoe drawing!