long run

How Long Should Be the Long Runs to train for 13.1 Or 26.2 Miles Races?

One of the keys of a half marathon (13.1 miles) or a marathon (26.2 miles) is train your endurance, the characteristic that will allow you to run for hours.

To help you attain this, a type of workout that should not be missing is the long run, hard training sessions aimed to run for a longer amount of time and thus cover a greater distance.

For these workouts to be effective, they must be challenging enough to provoke the desired physiological adaptations. Furthermore, they should not be extremely stressing to increase the risk of undergoing injuries.

For that reason, it is so important to know how long they should be to run a half marathon or a marathon.

Even though, in order to attain that, it is essential to analyze the physical condition, the background and the goals, we will now give you some recommendations.


Both if you want to finish a half marathon or if you want to attain a better record, we recommend you to try to include a long run every 7/10 days.

To do that, it is important to try to have long runs of 01:45/02:30 hours long.


Training for a marathon poses a great difficulty: It is impossible for an amateur runner to run 26.2 miles in a long run, without surpassing the amount of hours.

Even though trying this can be a way of gaining confidence and making sure that you can cover the distance, the risk of suffering from an injury is too high and it will also obligue you to take too much time of rest (and you will miss other trainings).

For that reason, we recommend that your long runs for a marathon are not longer than 03:00 hours or shorter than 02:00 hours.


As we mentioned before, in order to decide how much you should run in your long runs, it is necessary for you to analyze the following factors:

–  Physical condition

Avoiding excessive long runs when you are not in a proper physical condition is vital for their effectiveness.

If you are injured, or if you have recovered from an injury or if you have not run for long, your long runs must be short, and you should increase their duration progressively.

If you have had a good pre-season, you will be able to have more long runs of good duration that guarantee good results in your competitions.

– Background

Having experience in distance and running is vital to determine the length of your long runs.

Resistance is an ability which requires a lot of time (years) to be improved. The more years you spend running, the higher your resistance will be and the easier it will be for you to run longer with less effort.

Be careful and intelligent. Do not try to do more than what your body can cope with. Injuries and poor performance could be lurking to attack you.

– Goals

Are you trying to finish the race, win it or attain a better record? Defining your goals will help you determine the length of your long runs.

flickr photo by Chicago Running Tours & more http://flickr.com/photos/cityrunningtourschicago/19811819208 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license