What is Considered Long Distance Running?

What is considered long distance running

If you’re wondering what is considered long distance running, you might be surprised to know that it is probably easier to achieve than you initially thought.

Are you thinking about starting as a long distance runner? The actual term itself refers to any singular run that is three kilometers or approximately 1.9-miles or longer. For most avid fitness fans, this probably means that you’re already beating this distance just by enjoying your daily workout.

Of course, this isn’t where beginners want to start if they aren’t in peak physical condition. Long distance running is something that you build up to once you’ve mastered the basics. Then you can start with local 5K, 10K, or even half-marathon events.

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What Is Considered Long Distance Running?

What is considered long distance running
What's cool about long distance running is that it is a pretty attainable distance for most people of nearly all fitness levels

As mentioned above, long distance running is anything over three kilometers at a given time. This means that even a Couch to 5K training program for beginners is the start of a solid long distance running program.

This type of physical activity tends to attract various types of fitness enthusiasts. There are those that just enjoy a good 5K race for fun with friends. And then there are people who take their training very seriously, competing in marathons or even triathlons.

The really cool thing about long distance running is that it is a pretty attainable distance for most people of nearly all fitness levels. Three kilometers is just over 1.8-miles, which is easy enough that you could even practice it on a daily basis by going for a jog around your neighborhood or through your city.

The Benefits of Long Distance Running

Of course, that level of fitness activity does have some key health benefits. The good news about long distance running is that it is a moderately efficient aerobic workout that gets your heart rate up to a healthy level. Additionally, running for distance also works key muscle groups.

If you’re looking to lose weight or tone up, long distance running is a very effective activity to add to your daily or weekly routine. For some people, setting a goal like running a 5K can also be very motivating.

Plus, experts agree that long distance runners generally have lower cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health, and a boosted sense of self-esteem. If you’re looking for a great workout that is nearly free to enjoy except for a new pair of shoes, then you’ll really enjoy running.

Health Risks of Long Distance Running

What causes side aches when running?
Knees and hips seem to be the most often cited source of pain for routine runners

Of course, all types of physical exercise come with some sort of health risk. Those who regularly engage in long distance running do have a greater chance of joint problems due to injuries. Knees and hips seem to be the most often cited source of pain for routine runners.

However, this is where the saying everything in moderation rings true. Adding long distance runs of under five miles per day, three to four days per week have more health benefits than just sitting at home on the couch.

It is only when most people start training in excess that they start to see a large amount of health consequences associated with their chosen hobby. If you’re considering long distance running of greater than this amount, it is important to have a conversation with your doctor about your particular fitness level and overall medical needs.

Is Long Distance Running Fun?

For a lot of avid enthusiasts, long distance running is a ton of fun. Many state that lacing up their shoes, putting in those earbuds, and hitting the trail is one of the most relaxing parts of their day. This is especially true for those who work in stressful occupations and just need a good outlet to blow off steam at the end of the day.

Others enjoy training for 5Ks and other events with friends. By keeping track of distance and competing with others, they’re able to stay motivated more easily. Even setting goals and running by yourself can be a great way to improve mood and achieve a sense of accomplishment.

Furthermore, the process of running creates a chemical in the brain called oxytocin, which can help reduce sadness and fend off depression in some people. For many, long distance running can really be a mental health game changer.

Final Word: What Is Considered Long Distance Running?

If you’re wondering what is considered long distance running, it is anywhere over three kilometers or approximately 1.8-miles. For most healthy and active adults, this can be a great way to improve health, reduce stress, and enjoy a better quality of life.

However, it is advised that you speak with your doctor about the risks and benefits before starting any major long distance running hobby.

FAQs About What is Considered Long Distance Running

Do you have to be in good shape to try long distance running?

While jumping from the couch to a five mile sprint is probably not a good idea, just about anyone at any fitness level can try long distance running. 

Does diet affect long distance runners?

Food is the fuel that your body uses for energy. As you might have figured out, long distance running requires a lot of energy. Thus, it is important to eat right in addition to getting enough sleep before starting this type of fitness hobby.
 

Can long distance running increase your chance of heart disease?

This is a tricky question that really comes back to your individual level of health. While some studies have shown that long distance runners have a greater chance of experiencing a heart attack or stroke, the vast majority of people enjoy more physical benefits than risks. This is why it is so vital to take your overall health into consideration before starting this level of physical activity.
 

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