The Long Run with Coach K: Let’s Go Long!

As discussed previously, the long run is the foundation of your training, no matter the distance of the event you’ve signed up for. In the previous article in this series, we went over all the ways that the long run benefits you, both physically and mentally, and why it’s important to prioritize them in your training. There’s a ton of great information out there covering the topic, but I’m going to take this post as an opportunity to go over some logistics in three simple W’s. Let’s go!

Written by Coach Karen Peterson
Edited by Pavlína Marek


The days when you have fewer obligations are always the best for long runs. Conversely, the day before your long run should be as stress-free as possible (this is why Sunday is my preferred day!). As I’ve said before, talk to your loved ones about how your training is important to you right now. You may need extra support in other areas of your life—be upfront and ask for help! 

If you’re not a morning person (cough, points to self, cough), it may help to run with a friend or group, even for just a few of your miles. Accountability buddies are a must for some of us!

If you wake up to rain or a cooler or warmer day than you anticipated, get out there anyway! There are zero guarantees as to what the race day weather will look like. As a bonus, you’re almost guaranteed to feel even more of a sense of accomplishment!


It’s important to use your long runs to replicate race conditions as much as possible. For the SF Marathon, that means pavement, asphalt, and hills! For those of you lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, get out on the course. If you don’t, get on bike paths if you have them available to you.


Wear shoes that aren’t old! Even shoes that don’t have a lot of miles on them degrade over time and lose cushioning. “Nothing new on race day” is a great rule but shoes with 500+ miles on them aren’t a great choice, either.

The Long Run and Your Safety

There are a few things you should do before you head out for your long run. After all, running is a slightly risky business whether you run out on the trails or in an urban setting.

  • Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect you’ll return.
  • If you choose to listen to a pod or tunes, wear only one earbud and keep the volume low!
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged.
  • Carry more water and fuel that you think you’ll need.
  • If you drive to the start of your run, have a very secure spot for your key (speaking from experience here, after losing my car key on a remote trail in Wyoming a few years back…) and do not leave any valuables in your car.
  • Share your location live with a trusted friend or a family member.


The long run is a time to use your mantras. Focus on what feels good, and be patient. Let your run unfold. Discipline in your ways of eating and drinking can help the miles go by. 

AND JUST A REMINDER… You don’t have to do this, you get to do this! You are doing something awesome—celebrate your healthy body and strong mind. If you ever need an advice, we’ve got your back! Reach out via the “Ask a Coach” feature in our RUN365 app or shoot me an email (coachkaren1964[AT] Enjoy your long run!

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