So called as most running training plans to improve 5k, 10k, 10 mile or half marathon include at least one long run per week. This is a conditioning run, run at a comfortable pace (easily hold a conversation whilst running) lasting approximately 90 minutes.
So whilst in other sessions you may be doing a track session for speed improvements, the long run increases your aerobic base, improves running economy… And boosts confidence. According to Ed Eyestone on Runner’s World
The long run delivers the predictable physiological benefits: increased max VO2 and blood volume (the amount of blood ejected from the heart with every beat), and new capillaries and red blood cells.
He then goes on to say:
…Just as important, the long run teaches your body to spare glycogen and reply more on fat as a fuel source.
Plus it’s just nice to really get out and ‘go some’ on a Sunday morning.
Unfortunately, 11 miles in to my long run yesterday I tripped off the curb and went for a ski down the road on my shoulder and face. VERY sore today!