The Definitive Long Run Episode: David Roche Explains Everything About Running Long

It’s no wonder that runners often say that they’re attending service at the Church of the Sunday Long Run. This single run gives us endurance, strength, and speed. Today, we dig in to the gritty details of it all.

long run

The distance, pace, and specifics of a long run vary depending on your goals. But often, our gut instincts on what to do in training are misguided. Let’s look at a few common mindsets that runners have during a long run:

  • “I’ll start eating these gels once I get hungry.”
  • “This is feeling pretty easy, I’m going to run faster.”
  • “I can make it through this run without food.”

I’ve made these mistakes myself. It’s understandable that runners want to challenge themselves. Somehow we’ve collectively embraced the “no pain, no gain” motto (even though it should be “train, don’t strain”). I want to help you avoid the mistakes that are actually hurting your progress.

Running is a tough sport, no doubt about it. But constant hard training is not going to yield positive long-term results. A thoughtful and sustainable training program is your best bet for longevity, gradual improvement, and enjoyment with running. Since the long run is a key element, we’re focusing an entire episode on exploring it in detail.

And of course, if you prefer to have the training details worked out for you, most of our coaching programs include training plans.

Coach David Roche Shares His Expertise

David Roche is a two-time USATF trail national champion, the 2014 U.S. Sub-Ultra Trail Runner of the Year, and a member of Nike Trail Elite and Team Clif Bar. You might have read his work that he publishes regularly on the Trail Runner magazine website or perhaps you’ve read his book, The Happy Runner. You can hear me talk about that book with David’s wife Megan in episode 82 of The Strength Running Podcast.

David isn’t just an incredibly talented trail runner, he’s a wonderful writer and a coach who works with a wide variety of athletes. With his legal background, David is able to clearly explain some difficult concepts which is just why I wanted to have him on the show today.

The Ins and Outs of Long Runs

We cover the benefits of doing long runs and discuss the details of:

  1. Aerobic endurance
  2. Musculoskeletal strength
  3. Metabolic adaptation
  4. Mental resilience
  5. Improved mechanics

Truly, there’s so much to gain from going long.

BUT longer (and faster) isn’t always better. Pushing yourself – yes, but risking overuse injuries and hormonal stresses – no! A “long run” is a nuanced concept that varies by runner and hopefully our conversation helps to put it in context of your own training.

I love David’s focus on feeling good, even during those grueling long runs. Hint: fartleks are a key part of it. He approaches workouts with the long view in mind, rather than having his athletes hammer out the hardest possible workout.

In this episode we also cover:

  • Glycogen depletion and recovery – you can read more here
  • My personal long run mistakes
  • Importance of fueling
  • And how to adjust long runs based on your experience

Here’s a preview of what we talked about:

I hope you get a lot from this episode. I loved diving into the details with a fellow coach!

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcher, iHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Listen to the entire episode:

Show Links & Resources:

Thank You Gatorade Endurance!

gatorade endurance

This episode is made possible by support from Gatorade Endurance. Use code Strength20 for 20% off at

Reformulated in 2017 to be even more effective, Gatorade Endurance Formula is a specialized sports drink. That means it has higher amounts of sodium and potassium to help sustain hydration, maintain proper fluid balance, and replace key electrolytes that you lose when you’re running.

Plus, it has no artificial sweeteners or flavors and has a lighter flavor designed for athletes training longer. I know the last thing I want when I’m two hours into a long run is a strong flavor that might turn my stomach.

Gatorade Endurance Formula also now offers a multi-carbohydrate blend to help you dial it in and maintain performance over much longer runs. Different carbs are utliized at different rates, so this advancement helps you both run longer and lower any risk of stomach distress because it won’t be working so hard all at once.

You can check out all of their flavors, including caffeinated and non-caffeinated options, at and don’t forget to use code Strength20 for your 20% discount.

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt