How long should your long run be?

This week a friend of mine asked, “how long should my long run be?” Obviously the answer to that question depends on a number of different factors — how long you’ve been running, what distance you’re training for, injury history, etc.


But, as a general rule of thumb, your long run should be around 20-25% of your weekly mileage. This is a great guideline for a majority of runners. If you run lower mileage, then you’ll want to keep it closer to 25% (30 miles a week = 7-8 mile long run); if you run higher mileage it’s okay to stay around 20% (70 miles a week = 14 mile long run).


Although that range works for a lot of runners, it may not be perfect for you. Here are a few examples of times when the 20-25% range doesn’t work:


  • Low mileage runners
    Your long run should be long. If you’re doing less than 30 miles a week, a run that’s 20-25% of your mileage may be too short to get a lot of the benefits a true long run provides. As long as you’re not a beginning runner, I recommend a weekly long run of no less than 60 minutes, regardless of your weekly mileage.
  • Half-Marathon and Marathon training
    Just because you need to get in a 20 miler before your marathon doesn’t mean that you need to be running 80-100 miles/week. Do the long runs necessary to be ready for your race and don’t worry about what percentage of your weekly mileage they are. It’s common for people training for a marathon to hit 50% or more of their weekly mileage in a long run.