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Types of Long Distance Runs for 5K & 10K Training

written by: GreggH • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 1/7/2009

If you've decided to begin training for a 5K or a 10k, understand the different types of runs that you should do in order to train effectively. Training for a 10k or a 5K demands employing different types of long-distance runs.

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    There are three different types of long distance runs you should run while training for a 5K or a 10k. You can probably guess what they're called: Short, medium and long runs.

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    The Short Run

    The short run is approximately 2 to 5 miles. You will use this run in order to recover from races, speed training and more difficult runs. The short run takes about 20 to 45 minutes to complete. The goal of this is to be relaxed and not stressed. The level of strain of this run will depend on your training level. For some, 5 miles will be relaxed. But for others it will be too difficult.

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    The Medium Run

    The medium run is anywhere from 3 to 10 miles. This run should be considered your average, daily running distance. It should take anywhere from ½ hour to 1 ½ hours to complete. The goal of this run is to boost your weekly miles without too much stress on your body. The pace of this medium run is what you would consider an average pace.

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    The Long Run

    The long run is anywhere from 5 to 24 miles depending on your present level of fitness. You should make this run at least double your daily run. If you are running 6 miles every day, then you will to make this run between 12 to 24 miles. This type of run is difficult even if you run at a slow pace. It will usually take you 90 minutes or longer. The long run is more likely to deplete your glycogen storages, which are your muscles main source of energy. At the most, you'll want to do this run once a week. Try for a range of two to four long runs per month.

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    The goal is to mix and match these types of runs in your weekly running routine. After a long run, follow it up with a short run. Don't do two long runs in a row. Remember, short runs are for recovery from difficult training or races. Your "bread and butter" run is your medium run.

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    Glover, Bob, The Competitive Runner's Handbook

Running Training for 5k and 10k Races

Training for long distance running requires understanding your body and how fast to run, how much to run, and what types of runs to do. This series of articles are designed to help you know how to progress toward race day.
  1. How to Train for Speed and Endurance for the 5k or 10k
  2. Types of Long Distance Runs for 5K & 10K Training
  3. Learn How Much You Should Run When Training for a 5K or 10K Race