What happens to your body if you run for 2 hours?

In this article, I will answer in detail if it is good to run for 2 hours. Likewise, I will name all the benefits of a 2-hour run.

Running for 2 Hours

Is it good to run for 2 hours?

As a general rule, 2-hour runs are good for experienced runners as long as the pace of running is in line with their current fitness level and capabilities. It is also important to consider the necessary recovery time and make sure that the 2-hour run fits the overall training plan.

Below you can find all of the benefits of 2-hour runs and answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Benefits of 2-hour runs

There are numerous benefits of 2 hour runs, both for the mind and body of the runner. Moreover, longer running also brings about certain physiological adjustments.

1. Increase your aerobic endurance

Running for 2 hours increases your aerobic endurance significantly. This means that you will be able to maintain a certain pace for a longer time period.

2. Improve your cardiovascular system

Running for 2 hours increases the number of capillaries, small blood vessels, which help deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and remove waste products from them.

The more capillaries surround each muscle fiber, the faster the transfer of oxygen and carbohydrates to your muscles is, which also means that you produce energy faster.

3. Improve your fat burning capability

Additionally, 2-hour runs will also teach you how to use fat as a fuel source. The result of this is that your glycogen stores last longer, allowing you to avoid “hitting the wall” during a race.

4. Increase the amount of stored glycogen

Furthermore, the goal of every long run is to use up all glycogen stored in your muscles. Your body reacts to this stimulus by learning to store even more glycogen to prevent future exhaustion.

5. Strengthen the muscles used for running

2-hour runs strengthen your heart and muscles that you use for running, helping you adjust your tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints to stress from running.

Read more: Key Muscles Used in Running (8 Main Muscle Groups)

6. Allow you to test out nutrition and hydration

Running for 2 hours allows you to test and find the most suitable nutrition and hydration, helping you prevent any surprises during a race.

What you eat the night before a race, on the day of the race, and during the race is important when it comes to avoiding indigestion, the appearance of early fatigue, and making you feel well. For example, test whether a sports gel with water is a better refreshment for you than a sports drink.

7. Allow you to test clothes and running gear

Likewise, 2-hour runs are a great opportunity to try out running gear and clothes that you will use on the race day, helping you know what suits you best and to avoid unnecessary inconvenience during a race.

Tip

Remember the rule “nothing new on the race day”! Besides nutrition and hydration, this rule also applies to your running shoes, gear, and running clothes.

8. Increase your pain tolerance and build self-confidence

With all that, 2-hour runs help you deal with discomfort and teach you how to overcome fatigue. That way, they build your self-confidence and mentally prepare you for exertion during a race.

9. Help you achieve your target weekly mileage

By running 2-hour runs, you will run a great number of miles and that will help you achieve your target weekly mileage.

Tip

It is important to gradually increase your weekly mileage to avoid the risk of injury.

Regardless of whether you’re preparing for a 5K or a marathon, it is important to run a certain weekly mileage. This will allow you to achieve your running goals by preparing your body for stress and physical and mental effort.

Read more: The Purpose of the Long Run (21 Long Run Benefits)

9 Benefits of 2-Hour Runs

Is it safe to run 2 hours a day?

Running 2 hours a day is safe for experienced runners who are preparing for some kind of an ultramarathon.

However, before all think about the purpose of running 2 hours a day. Personally, I don’t see the point in that.

In order to advance in training, it is important to be diverse. This means that you should employ different kinds of workouts and train different energy systems in your body to induce certain changes and adjustments in your body.

In addition to diversity, rest is also important. As much as you feel fresh and energetic, don’t go overboard with training. It is better to have a day of rest than to rush and accumulate mileage. In the long term, this doesn’t make much sense. Besides not giving your body enough time to rest, you also put yourself at a greater risk of injury and the appearance of overtraining.

With all that, monotonous training leads to overload and loss of motivation which often results in giving up.

If you are not experienced and you don’t know how to go about with your training, better consult a trainer or enroll in a running school for beginners.

I believe that everyone’s goal is to train and improve their overall health, and not waste time recovering from injury and overtraining.

Can we do 2-hour runs more than once per week?

You can do 2-hour runs more than once a week if you are an experienced runner if it suits your weekly mileage and fits your general training plan and everyday activities.

Naturally, the answer also depends on the pace with which you will run for 2 hours and the type of workout that you will be doing. If you plan on doing a long slow distance run, I see no problem in that.

When we speak of 2-hour runs, we mostly think of long runs. Therefore, if you want to know more about long runs, read the article What is Considered a Long Run? (5 Long Run Examples).

How many calories are burned during a 2-hour run?

Generally speaking, running for 2 hours will burn between 1100 to 1800 calories.

It is hard to give a precise answer because the number of burned calories depends on many factors, including the runner’s weight and fitness level, distance and running pace, terrain, and weather conditions.

The heavier you are, the more calories you will spend as you need to carry more weight and work harder to run the same distance at the same pace.

Example

A runner weighing 200 lbs will spend around 1850 calories while running for 2 hours at a pace of 10 min/mi, while a runner weighing 130 lbs will spend around 1200 calories.

Read more: How Heavy Is Too Heavy to Run? (17 Tips for Heavy Runners)

The running pace affects calorie burning, as faster running is generally a result of increased effort, which also requires that you burn more fuel.

Example

If a runner weighing 200 lbs runs for 2 hours at the pace of 10:30 min/mi, they will spend around 1700 calories, and if they run at the pace of 9:40 min/mi, they will spend 1850 calories.

However, keep in mind that the runner’s fitness level also considerably affects calorie spending. The more fit you are, the less energy you will need to run a certain distance at a certain pace.

The terrain you run on also affects the number of calories spent. Research has shown that you will spend more calories while running uphill, as more effort is required to overcome the incline. On the other hand, you will spend fewer calories while running downhill.

Likewise, it is not the same if you run on sand or asphalt. When you run on a softer surface, you spend more calories as the surface cushions your every step, pushing you to activate more muscles to maintain balance.

Weather conditions can also have an impact when it comes to calorie burning. When you run in strong winds, you burn more calories to maintain a certain speed.

Running in the extreme cold leads to a greater number of burned calories, as your body also needs to spend energy to warm you up and maintain your body heat. Moreover, the same applies to extreme heat, as your body requires additional effort to maintain an adequate body temperature through sweating.


Matea Matošević
Matea Matošević

Article by:

Matea Matošević

Hi, I’m Matea! I’m Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…

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