How To Keep The Distance Going On Long Runs
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, one of the biggest challenges you face is learning how to increase running distance, safely and effectively. It’s not uncommon for beginners to face injury, boredom or burn out before meeting those mileage goals. If you’re amongst those that are struggling to hit those targets and reignite your passion for running, you’ll want to read on.
As with any training process, when you’re working towards reaching new distances and truly pushing your limits, you’re sure to come up against both mental and physical obstacles along the way. That’s why we’re on hand with some top tips to try out so that you can not only increase the distance of your runs but get more enjoyment out of them.
Before we hit you with our advice, it’s important that you remember in order to prevent injuries and set realistic goals, you should not be increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10 per cent week on week. So, even if you’re feeling all fired up by the time you get to the end of this post, always remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Invest In A Pair Of Running Shoes
When it comes to running long distances, there’s a lot more to it than just throwing on a pair of any old trainers and heading off on a 5-mile run. It’s important that you buy the correct running shoes for the types of terrains and distances you plan to take on. First, determine the frequency and distances you’ll be running, then consider where you’ll be running before going out and investing in the perfect shoes for the job.
Purchase The Necessary Attire
Whilst we’re on the topic of running attire, if you really want to invest in your running, you should shop around for some decent running socks and running shorts. You’ll appreciate the value of comfort as you rack up those miles! If you’re heading out in cooler climates, you should also consider purchasing a running jacket so that you can regulate your temperature to prevent your body from working even harder to stay warm.
We’re not just going to leave it there. All the gear, no idea springs to mind! Don’t worry, we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeve.
Start With A Warm-Up
A good warm-up before you set off is essential to prevent common distance running problems like stitches and muscle tightness. To avoid this kind of sabotage during your run, you should do some dynamic stretches and some light jogging to increase your body temperature and prepare your muscles for the miles ahead. Similarly, don’t forget to cool down by easing the pace of your run towards the end.
It’s super important to fuel your body before, during and after a run. There’s no need to weigh yourself with unnecessary snacks if you don’t need them, but if you find yourself hitting a brick wall as fatigue sets in try a handy hydration pack or a couple of sweets to give you a little boost as you dig deep for that extra mile or two.
Use A Run/Walk Combination
If you struggle to keep up a consistent pace for the entire distance of your run, it really isn’t the end of the world. Sure, we’d like to be able to, but that’s something that comes in time. There’s no need to pressure yourself, instead, you should use a run/walk combination to allow you to cover more distance. This type of interval training will mean that you still get a great work out in whilst improving your fitness level and endurance to allow you eventually rack up those longer distances in the future.
Mix Up Your Routes
If you’re running the same route every day or find yourself hitting the treadmill, it can get a little boring. Although you might get used to a certain route and find it easier physically, it can sometimes be more of a mental challenge when it comes to finding the motivation to reach your target distance. Be sure to explore new routes as and when you can, you might just find that the distraction will have you running longer distances than normal without even realising!
Create A Fire Playlist
Whilst we’re on the topic of distraction, it’s worth mentioning that a great playlist can be a valuable companion. Simply invest in a strap or fanny pack so you can take your phone along, pop your headphones on and block out the world as you head out on a lengthy run with your favourite music for company.
If you’re a beginner, you might lack the confidence that you really need to run through any discomfort you encounter. Every long-distance runner will experience some kind of discomfort, you just need to tap into your potential to overcome it. With that being said, it’s important to recognise the difference between discomfort and pain. Listen to your body as you build up your endurance and mental stamina.
Set Realistic Goals
Be sure to set short term goals that are realistic to carry you through, one run at a time. Even something really simple like ‘run to the next tree’ during your run can help you to break through into new distances. The same goes for long term goals, there’s no use setting yourself a target of running 10 miles after one week, it’s always best to increase distances gradually. Remember, consistency is key, all you need is a little determination and you’ll be reaching your mileage goals before you know it.
The beauty of running is that you can do it solo at your own pace or with the extra support of a group, just remember that everyone is different. Finding the running essentials and practices that suit you best might take a little time, but once you find your flow and break through those mental and physical barriers, you’ll be smashing through those targets in no time.