THE LONG RUN - the science behind how far you should really run


The majority of the physiological stimuli of a long run occurs between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours 30 mins - this is when you get the key fitness benefits. Running for 3+ hours starts to have a negative affect as your muscles will start to break down and fatigue will set in, which in turn leads to a significant delay in recovery time and the quality of your training will start to diminish.

Also running long distance is tiring and puts a significant amount of repetitive stress on the body. So it’s not surprising that the chances of injury also increase as the mileage ramps up.

If you then factor in the varying paces between runners, 3 hours on your feet is a very different distance across a sample of runners. You can expect to run 22.5 miles if your running at a pace of 8 min/miles, but if you’re running 10 min/miles you’re going to cover 18 miles in 3 hours.


Mbition plans give you a variety of quality training sessions to bolster your long run such as tempo, hill and speed workouts, as improving your running fitness comes from a combination of training volume and intensity.

Importantly, these sessions will stimulate the fatigue you’ll experience at the end of the race, but significantly reduce the risk of injury that can be caused from running continuous high mileage. So if you want to run further in your training, it’s best to do more sessions per week than increasing the mileage of 1 or 2 sessions.

Also incorporating high intensity sessions into your training provides more benefits than just running long slow miles. They will help to improve your stride power, running economy, leg strength and aerobic endurance.


Runners from all over the world have achieved their goals by using an Mbition plan - currently 94.5% of our users achieve their event goal. Here’s a handful of them who were surprised by how effective our approach to training is:

Initially I thought the target race time was far too ambitious but after completing the plan together with my gym sessions I even surpassed it (half marathon time 1:31), very happy about that. James M training for Royal Parks Half Marathon

I was nervous about the low mileage, but it ended up working perfectly. The first marathon I trained for using a different program had higher mileage, and I ended up with a stress fracture from overtraining. Careyanne N training for Honolulu Marathon

I ran it in 57:23 which was just under 6 mins faster than the prediction :) Kate A training for Brighton 10k

Mbition was great. I need to get better at following the schedule. :-/ that being said though, I still managed to come in at goal. Tamara H training for Healdsburg Turkey Trot

My goal was to finish in 4:30:00, using mbition for the last 1.5 months of training helped me finish in 3:59:30. Robert Y training for Honolulu Marathon

I beat my own personal goal of 3h 45m, with a time of 3h 39m, and Mbition is definitely one of the reasons for this! Astrid B training for Berlin Marathon

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