How far should the long run be?

I started running last September and am now doing at least four runs each week. I mainly run at lunchtime and so am limited to about 2.5 miles per time but over the last few weeks I have run 4, 5 and then 6 miles on Sunday.
I use Monday, Thursday and Saturday as rest days when I will do a 30 minute stretching routine.
So, should I continually add a mile each Sunday? Where does it end. My reason for running is to lose weight and get fit. When I have I might consider racing.
So, "How far should the long run be?"


  • aim for 26.2 miles then progress further
  • it does depend on your goals. I am training for the Paris Marathon, so i am adding 1 mile per week with a rest week every four. It seems most people think that i long run is a run of over two and half hours or 16 Miles. so even say that its 20, but if your used to 6 miles then 8 would be long enough.

    No right or wrong, good luck
  • I agree with IWDI. It really does depend on your goals, and these will change as you get fitter and stronger. I would carry on adding a mile a week to your long run and just see how you feel.

    If you decide to start racing, then your long run will be couched round the distance. For example a long run for a 10k , may only be 7 miles ish, whereas an 18-20 mile long run (built into a proper programme)would be right for a full marathon.

    As you are not looking for a race at the moment, just increase your mileage gradually and go from there.
  • I also run on my lunch-hour at work during the week, so can't run more than about 4-4.5M max at a time, and then do a longer run at weekend.
    I've been able to build up to 8-10 miles, but it starts to get silly after that.
    During recent training for a HalfMara, I had to start having a few odd days off work, so that I could do an "intermediate" distance run (7-9M) to allow me to get any benefit from a 12M+ weekend run.
  • If you're running for weight loss, the longer you run for has an effect on how high your metabolism is for the hours after the run. The longer you run, the higher the metabolism.
  • 26.2 miles is just being silly.
    I am going to aim for 6 miles consistently and then do an 8 mile run once a month. I know the more I run the more calories I'll burn but if I do progress to racing I think that 10K would be may goal.
    Once I am fitter there is a 3.5 mile run that I could do at lunch - at the moment it takes too long with my 15 minute stretching cool down and shower. I will probably change my rest days around in a month or so and add a longer run on Monday evening as well as Saturday in order to up my milage.
    Thanks for your comments.
  • On thing I found, Neil, was that I simply didnt have enough time in my lunch hour for the runs I wanted to do. It was OK for a quickie, but steady longer runs just hurried me.

    I found by switching to either evenings or before work were better, as I was able to give myself time to sort myself out.

    There are considerable disadvantages. It takes a lot mentally to get up even eralier that I do on a standard work day (currently 6.15 am). And its even harder after a days work and having of course to run in the dark this time of year. But it does give me the opportunity to run for a little longer without the pressure of having to get back to work/ start work.

    Incidently, you are quite capable of doing a 10k now. Just take your first one easy, dont go blasting off, and you will find you will cover the distance.When picking a 10k race, I always look at previous years results to check Im not entering a race beyond my capability (as I am a slower runner). You will probably surprise yourself. Good luck!!
  • Thanks for the advice Kingfisher. Lunchtime running suits me at the mo - I try to beat my previous best and once I am going consistently quicker than 8min miles I can switch to the 3.5 mile run. I won't skip the cool down and stretch and so 3.5 will be my lunchtime limit.
    I'll see what happens when the morning's get lighter and might change things but then I need to find something to do at lunchtime.
  • Ran 6 miles today with a 5W25R2W3.5R3W8R2W10R2W6R split. My 25 minute session covered 2.75miles and so I was happy with that. Need more speed before I can do the 3.5 mile lunchtime course. Will add another long run in during March and then aim for 8 miles at the weekend. By then I will be almost doubling the amount of weekly running going from 13.5 this week to 25. Can't wait to see the effects on time and body.
  • Its a hard enough to get a work . home life balance and even harder when you want to go running. When i get home i just want my tea, so trying to get the other half to smile as i wonder out fo the door is harder than some of the hills around here.

    Good luck with the lunchtime runs!
  • Despite the plan to get more speed before doing the 3.5 mile lunchtime run, I did it today. Had to reduce the stretching to 30 seconds rather than 1 minute per stretch but still did 15 stretches at the end of the run. Aim to do the same tomorrow and then rest on Thursday (which means a 30 minute lunchtime stretching routine after a gentle warm up) and then back to the 3.5 mile run on Friday. So that will mean 16.5 miles in the week. A big improvement.
    I also aim not to weigh myself until March when I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Certainly beginning to feel the benefits now.
  • Sounds like a good effort. Its hard but worth it :)
  • The good news is that I ran 20 miles last week. The bad news is that I ache and had to miss scheduled runs.
    I accept that I over did things and now need to take a few days off and re-evaluate.
    I know that time on your feet is paramount but am obsessed with pace and distance as well. I just want to run further and faster.
    Will set new goals = 4*30min runs in the week and 1*60min run at the weekend = 180 mins of running. Do that for a couple of weeks and then add 18 mins to the weekend run.
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