Couch to 5K
52,708 members84,830 posts

Long Training Run Advice

Firstly... sorry for not posting much recently... life is hectic at times, but its great to see sooo many newcomers offering great advice that I can't really add to. Well done to all you just starting out... it will change your life!!

Anyhow... I am doing a HM in Sept and my ASICS plan calls for a 14km training run next week! This will be the furthest I will have ever run so I am think about preparation for this run.

I'm thinking....

- Take it easy.. slow the pace right down

- Take a drink and perhaps a gel

- Choose a time that is cooler and less humid

- Choose a route that is not too challenging.. perhaps my local canal towpath

And perhaps

- Use my metronome app to keep the pace going

I wonder if I should schedule the odd walking break??? I have run 10k non stop once before and did 7k the other evening... not sure..

Any other advice???

13 Replies

Slow is the key - and don't be ashamed of taking walking breaks, and take before you need them - sometimes 30-60 seconds every 2 k can make all the difference in finishing your long run with still some energy or being completely worn out. And if really you don't want to walk you can always slow right down.

Check the link I posted yesterday - it is exactly about long slow runs an distance training :)

Drink : definitely, don't even dream of not taking one. If you don't want to carry it hide small bottles on the route - and remember to pick them up afterwards!:) - ideally try to keep them at the same distance of the drink stations of the HM - I saw someone doing it one day and thought it was a brilliant idea.

I never tried gels - but I have a favourite sugary snack: I freeze grapes and carry 2 or 3 for 10 K - a bit more for longer runs. They'll be defrosted but still cold, and really lovely!

Happy running!

1 like

A walking break is fine. Walking is always fine if you need to do it. It helps enormously if you do flag as you know you can walk a bit, find your breath again, then on you go. I used to have a break at 10 k. I never took a drink but I think it's a mistake and I should have done. Dehydration can get you injured. I would take a home made energy bar which was in my jacket pocket (tied round my waist) Stuff tends to melt when it's against your body! Nuts and dried fruit is quite portable. I have gone right off sugary sweets as they make your mouth feel so sticky and your hands. Yuk. They do give you an energy boost though. I 'd rather do the nuts and dried fruit though cos it's healthier. You don't need much though!

I would go slowly as well and do the run when it's cooler. Your canal towpath sounds perfect. I would listen to my music as 14 k is quite far so having a mix of music might be very helpful for when the going gets tough. I use Sami Murphy podcasts as they have such inspirational lyrics and never fail to get me out of dire situations when I feel like I might expire.

Take a hankie! If you're lucky there might be somewhere along the tow path where you can go to the loo or get a drink and a snack, which would save you having to cart stuff with you

Good luck, have fun!


Sounds to me like you've got it pretty much covered, Andy.

If you do take a gel (and that's often a good idea when you go beyond an hour), then remember that it takes your body about an hour to turn the gel into running fuel, so take one after half an hour to have enough energy to finish the distance rather than saving it till the end when it won't really have much time to work.

As for the route - I always like to plan a new route where I haven't been before, as I find that keeps the mind engaged and keeps it fresh.

Enjoy the 14 km, you can do it! :)

1 like

Everything these guys have said - plus perhaps think about your fuel and hydration _before_ you go out. Depending on what time you are running, have a good but not too heavy meal around 3 hours before and perhaps some dried fruit during the 60-30 mins before you go. And make sure you're well hydrated before you start.

Good luck!


What everyone else said, really. Definitely slow and definitely at a cooler time of day. Anything over an hour it makes sense to have water, and at this time of year, particularly - you don't need a great deal though. one of those small 250ml bottles would probably suffice. You won't need gels or foods as your body will not deplete its glycogen stores in 90 mins or so.

Topath sounds a good call. I usually do my 'increasing distance' runs on the flattest route I can find. There is a time and place for hills and your Long run is not it.

Wlaking breaks - take them as you need them but I wouldn't schedule them. You have no idea ahead of time whether you will need them or when. I find on longerruns I sometimes take 30 secs at each 5k/30 min mark and take on some water or a jelly baby or whatever at that point. This is also reasonable raceday practice as it is a lot easier walking through wtaer stations than trying to swig from plastic cups while running.


hey Andy :) HM superb Andy :) Long distance runs not my forte :)

All seems very reasonable to me . just go out and enjoy the run :D


Slow Rob

Why don't you try slowly extending the lengths of your runs - but do so by using a short run/walk ratio. Start out by using say 30seconds run/15 seconds walk - after you are happy doing a certain distance then start over again by extending the running time - say 1 minute running/30 seconds walk.

You might be surprised just how far you can get by doing that. I can remember about 18 months ago when I was just starting out running - before I started C25K. I did a 7 week 3 times per week Galloway inspired running course - which had me running/walking 30 seconds/30 seconds (only) after 7 weeks !!! -- but I did get out to 6.5 Klms , which at that early stage of my running, I thought was absolutely amazing. I hadn't ever even walked that distance before !!! :)

I think that my future lies in doing much longer distances - but using run/walk.


I always break up my long run ( although not done one for a while!!)...into 2 to 3 miles. So after 3 miles, I slow right down, have fluid and sweets and chill for half a mile... Then speed up for the next 2.5 miles and the next break.... Hope that helps and good luck 😎


My understanding is that long runs are to introduce our bodies (and minds) to the concept of "endurance" - as opposed to "stamina" or "speed" . The endurance element is to be able to go a distance - it could actually be walking ( for example - do you or I have the endurance to walk for 100 miles??) Because we are runners, we obviously think in terms of being able to "endure" running ( say 14 klms) -- but before we can endure running for 14K, it makes sense that we should be able to walk or run/walk 14K. If we can't walk for 14 K, then we can hardly expect to be able to run it.

Personally, I don't enjoy non-stop running for long periods- I CAN do it - but I don't enjoy it - so, at my age of life, I have decided that I will run non-stop up to 5K - and anything over that will be run/walk. I am right now also "training" for a HM at the end of October - I will be doing that run/walk and will be doing long runs out to 20K over the next couple of months.


I'm not convinced about the need for food/energy over runs of only 2 hours - ( water certainly!!) Anything that I have read regarding our bodies says that a person who eats well has plenty of glycogen readily available for long periods of endurance - provided they have trained their bodies to utilise their bodies store of fat by plenty of aerobic exercising ( for aerobic - read low intensity/low heartrate endurance training)

It is only when we go past aerobic exercise that we need sugar to replenish energy - but this is not particularly good for us - ALA diabetes.


I always made sure I had enough carbs the night before my longer runs, I ended up being happier with 60% carbs the night before a long run, it seemed to stop me bottoming out but being of the slower persuasion they took me quite a long time so I needed a bit more fuel in the tank. Slow and steady as everyone has said. I just opted for a couple of jelly babies that I ate in halves after 7km one 1/2 every 2.5 km. happy running


Great question Andy as I have recently got to the same point on myasics. Struggled a bit as tend to run first thing with no food and little water, so these answers have been great. Hope it goes well you will do it but also take the rest days after


Thanks for all the great advice... I'll let you know how it went... but hopefully I will get a new "Gold Cup" from Garmin Connect for the longest distance. :-)

It is interesting how longer runs need a bit more planning and thought than a 5k on a Saturday morning.

Just couple of 7k's to do before the 14k... hey ho... :-)

Happy running folks.


You may also like...