I would say you get quicker by doing quick runs (necessarily short) and gain endurance by doing long (and gradually longer) runs, so why not both.
I've always done fine on 2 runs a week - one short (10k) pushing the speed all the way and one long (15-20k) trying to maintain the pace I set out on (which gets faster as you get fitter). No serious injuries in 30 years of running because no overtraining. And I guess my performance has been OK - best half M (on hills) in 1:30. And the approach scales up - I did the London M in 3:30 on one short run (15k) and one long run starting at half M and getting longer up to almost the whole distance, every week, over about 6 months.
If you're in this for life, then the only thing I can add is - new shoes every year, and run off-road as much as you can. That way hopefully your knees won't quit on you in middle age.
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