If you spend anytime around runners and running publications, you will hear about the benefits of long, slow distance runs. A long run in the runners world is a run that is 1-1/2 to 2 times the length of your regular run. It is also done at a slower pace – an easy pace than your regular run. I’ve documented it here that this summer has not been the summer for long runs. Most of my runs this summer have been short runs and I can tell it.
Today’s run changed all that. My regular runs are now back at around an hour so today – after missing a long run in Clarksville – I ran 11 miles. It was awesome – it was suppose to be slow but I had no part of that today. The first 5, 6, 7 miles felt great and I couldn’t believe how pain-free I was running even at 7 miles. The only tough part of the run came at about the 1:20 mark – as I was getting into the 9 to 10 mile range. I had to keep telling myself – just two more miles. As I approached the 10 mile mark, I had one minor hill and then it was gravy. I knew I was on a decent pace, but not aware how good until I got home and crunched the numbers. It was 11 miles at an 8:38/mile pace. This is easily the best run since the Park to Park 1/2 Marathon and gives me some confidence with some good training over the next 6 weeks that I could PR a half marathon in Roanoke in November. That would be awesome.
As I runner I have found I love the benefits of the long run. It makes the regular runs feel so much better. I am looking forward to this week’s regular runs – I should be able to keep all of them under an 8:30/mile if not faster. I’ve also noticed that I am not as fatigued in the later miles of those regular runs now. It has been a summer of perseverance, but I have done it – I have overcome – and my comeback is complete for the most part. The added benefit of long runs is some serious calorie burning – like 1,600 for today’s run. I really miss those high calorie burning runs. As you can tell – even late on this Saturday evening, I am quite please with today’s results and plan to keep Pressing On!