I've read a lot about preparations for long runs, and all articles were accenting weekly mileage as the most important factor to keep form. You could almost get an impression, that all you need is mileage, so simply running 60k a week (eg. split for 6 10k runs) would give you form to run marathon.

It seems strange to me, because fatigue after running 10k in days in row is nothing compared to what come after making 30k in one run... I feel all stabilizing muscles, sore foot etc.

From the ultramarathonists' experience, what is the minimum frequency you need to repeat longest run to keep in form? For example, if your goal are 100k distances, do you need to run 100k at least once a month, or at least once every 2 months, apart from doing weekly mileage?

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, you do not want/need to regularly run your goal distance in training when you get to very long distances. Your body needs a lot of time to recover from extreme distances and you risk sabotaging your training plan or even your race-day-readiness. Additionally, there are diminishing benefits of extremely long runs in training.

From ScienceOfUltra

Can your run be too long. Absolutely! At what point do you reach diminishing returns where each additional 10 minutes or each additional mile/kilometer no longer provides the same additional stimulus for adaptations as the previous block of time/distance? We can conceptualize the benefits of any run as having diminishing returns after about an hour. Mathematically it’s useful to think of the benefits following a rate constant of 1 hr.

The general consensus is that you get most of the benefit of a run in the first hour, less but still enough to justify a second hour, and less still in the third hour. Beyond three hours, the benefits of continuing are small while the risks of breaking down too much increases substantially, risking over-fatigue that you can’t recovery from within 24-48 hours, which is what we want.

Camille Herron isn't even a fan of regular long runs. There's some evidence presented in that article relating to bone adaptations and long runs.

The evidence suggests that distance running has diminishing returns when it comes to bone health. Troy hypothesizes that bone may respond to the stress of running over the first half mile or so but then become desensitized to the monotonous, repetitive loading. “You’ll get muscle and cardiovascular adaptations, but your bones aren’t paying attention anymore,” Troy says. “You’re just adding miles and potentially accumulating damage, but you’re not going to add adaptive stimulus that will help the bone become stronger.”

The Hanson brothers have a well-known training plan where the "key" long run called The Simulator which is at 2/3 of the marathon distance goal.

“The Simulator” is the name given to a very precise workout created by brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson, who coach the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. The appellation refers to the workout’s purpose of simulating an upcoming marathon race as closely as possible without stressing the runner to the point of ruining the flow of his or her training. It is intended to put the finishing touches on the runner’s marathon-specific fitness and demonstrate his or her ability to achieve a time/pace goal for the marathon.

The format couldn’t be simpler. The Simulator consists of running 26.2 kilometers (roughly 16.3 miles) at one’s goal marathon pace.

  • Agree generally, but the slight contra to the ‘don’t run more than 3 hours’ idea is that one might be slow and not cover enough distance in 3 hours to psychologically prepare for a longer distance. When marathon training, I’d max out at 22; for my recent 100 miler, I maxed at 40. Dec 16, 2023 at 19:27
  • Should note that I have the utmost respect for Science of Ultra, but he’s very diligent about following the science, which is often woefully lacking in the endurance realm. Dec 16, 2023 at 19:29

I'm not a runner, but I know some professionals. What they do is basically increase the distance for each run and work their way up.

  • week 1: 10km
  • week 2: 15km
  • week 3: 20km
  • week 4: 25km
  • week 5: 30km

You get it. More importantly, you should rest after each session until your body fully recovered! This depends from person to person. Some need more recreational days than others, very important. So, some can run twice a week and some can only run once a week. Listen to your own body and try to push your limits, but don't force anything.

Pro tip: drink 500ml of green leaf juice in the morning and you can run across the whole country. Add apple and lemon for flavour and use a high-speed blender to break up the cell walls, because inside are the good proteins and micronutrients. I like to freeze the ingredients before blending.

  • 1
    I am not a professional and I am not sure if I understood you right but running once a week seems to be way too less (also for ambitious non-professionals). Sep 17, 2022 at 17:26
  • It's an example. If you read on, I wrote: some can run twice a week... it depends on your body and the intervals can get shorter with training!
    – Texxi
    Sep 18, 2022 at 14:23

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