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.
Winter, in my view, is about building mileage.Get good miles in, run the odd parkrun, even after a good week of training, and you will get fitter.
Getting off-road regularly is very good advice.
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