What is a long run? Obviously the answer varies for each runner. As a boy, I remember my first “long” hike in boy scouts, a five-mile walk from close to my home, to Salt Water State Park on the Puget Sound in Washington. It seemed like it took all day and was so very far. To me back then, a one-mile run was long. As a teen, as I began to do some regular one-mile runs, three miles seemed long. As I again tried to run regularly in college, a very long run became eight miles.
As I discovered ultrarunning, a long run in my mind was ten miles. A 50K run (31 miles) seemed to be a very long event that took careful planning to do. In 2005 I would look at the race calendar and started to think about traveling to participate in 50K runs which to me back then, was still a mega-distance. But as I gained a longer mileage base, and with more experience, that 50K distance seemed to grow shorter and no longer seemed to be a massive run. 50K eventually turned into my definition of “the long run.”