QT: Your Longest Run Isn’t the End All/Be All When Training for a Race

“How long should my longest long run be before my race?”

This is a question that I see quite a bit on social media, and at least occasionally from the runners that I coach.

Can I be honest for a minute?

Of Course

I hate this question.

Missing the Point

I get it. I totally do.

When you’re getting ready for a race, especially if it’s your first time running a new distance, you want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

So making sure that your longest long run is long enough to prepare you for race day makes perfect sense.


This is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Brittany What?

What I mean is, the entire training cycle is more important (by far) than any individual run.

Even your longest long run.

So Many Factors at Play

When it comes to preparing for any long distance event, there are so many variables involved in being ready to go on race day.

Total volume. How long you’ve been a runner. Whether or not you’ve run the distance before. What your goals are for the race. What/how much cross training you’re doing. Strength training. Sleep.

Need I go on? No? Good.

But because of all of these variables, there is no “perfect” longest long run distance that you need to do in order to be ready for your race.

Trust the Process

When races start happening again, and they will start happening again, stop focusing on that one long run as the determining factor of whether or not you’re ready for your race.

Instead, trust the process.

Start building your base now.

Already have a solid base in place? Great. Now focus on raising your floor by building further solidifying your base.

Then when you start officially training for your race, do so intelligently.

No worries, we’ve got you covered.

I wrote a book that will help you put together a solid training plan. Shoot, it even has some suggestions for helping you decide just how long your longest run should be.

Don’t want to figure it out for yourself? Rather just be told what to do?

Cool. I’m happy to work with you as your coach in any of the different capacities that I have available.

Just do me a favor, no matter what you do going forward, stop worrying so much about your longest long run, ok?

How Long is Your Longest Long Run, Typically?

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