Long Run Religion

Hey, Coach Randy, what’s the deal with weekend long runs? I’m not in training for any specific race right now. Can I give them a miss?

—Jeff Z., Columbus, Ohio

On Sundays, Jeff, we worship at the Church of the Long Run. For a bible-thumping old road-runner like me, it’s the holiest day of the running week. Plain and simple. I don’t want you on your knees, stuck in a pew. I want you out there on the roads or trails, rolling along, and getting a little religious with it, baby.

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written . . . that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left. Joshua 23:6

Long runs train your body to burn fat instead of glycogen. They help your joints and ligaments get accustomed to taking a pounding. And they get you used to being on the move for a couple hours or more.

How long? Shouldn’t be more than 25-30% of your total weekly mileage. If during the week your longer runs are six milers, try nine or ten. And so forth.

But let’s leave the watch at home today and just run easy, at whatever pace comes naturally. And if you need to pause for a bit to smell the roses, be my guest.

Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Genesis 18:4

The goal today is easy and steady. Focus in the last few miles of really keeping your form together and not getting sloppy. If you have to slow down to keep it together, that’s fine. We want you feeling fresh at the end, not worn out.

This is a maintenance run. A base-building jog. As opposed to a training run for a long race.

Run now, I pray thee. 2 Kings 4:26