Longs runs are the foundation of any training plan for a marathon or half marathon. You need all types of runs to meet your race goals, but none are going to be as effective for getting you ready for a race than the longs run. The benefits are just for racers though. Every runner can benefit from weekly longs runs. All of the benefits of long runs are too many to list, but I want to cover a couple.
Calorie Burn – If your goal is to run for weight loss than you can’t skip long runs. Even if you don’t run the entire time and do the run/walk method you will still likely burn almost a days worth of calories. When you get a little more endurance you could be burning a couple thousand calories before you even get your day started.
Endurance – You have to build up your long runs but if you start with the mind set of being out there for 90 minutes you may get 4 or 5 miles with some walking. Over time though you will run more and walk less and you could be running twice as far in the same amount of time.
Community – You want to get to know the other runners in your community start running with them on long runs. Long runs should be done at a pace that is still easy to have a conversation. So you will have plenty of time to find out why that person started running and what motivates them to keep going. Which quite possible will help you find your motivation to keep going.
This article from Runner’s World will give you some advice if longs runs are a new thing for you. If you are looking for people to run with check out Run Richmond’s Group Run page and see if you can join us for a run.