10 Distance Running Tips
If you are a distance runner, you should learn these 10 distance running tips. A distance runner runs at least twenty miles per week on a consistent basis. Distance runners can also obviously include elite marathoners who train up to 100 miles per week. Regardless of your personal distance, there are some basic facts that every distance runner should be aware of. Here are 10 distance running tips:
- Distance runners should be consistent runners. One difference between sprinting and distance running is that if you are not prepared for the distance, you can really hurt yourself. If you are a distance runner, you need to maintain a decent "base." This will help you to avoid injuries and maintain optimal fitness.
- Schedule rest days. You have probably heard a coach say, "rest days are as important as running days." This might not seem to make sense, but it is true. During your rest days, your muscles are rebuilding themselves. This is where you make the most progress. You cannot make progress if your muscles are consistently being used. Rest days are usually taken at least once a week and can include anything from complete inactivity to a very slow one to three miles.
- Don't fall in love with your running shoes. Distance runners should buy new shoes often. The general rule of thumb is to get new shoes every 250 to 400 miles. This large mileage gap depends on the quality of shoes you have and the medium you are running on most. Distance runners who run on pavement will need to change their shoes more often than runners who run on the track or on a bark trail.
- Think of eating in terms of fuel for your run. Depending on how much you run, you might need to increase your caloric intake. Regardless of how much you run, certain foods have been demonstrated to increase running performance. Oranges have been said to contain anti-inflammatory properties. Cereal with dried fruit can help prevent low blood sugar during a run.
Include a day of cross-training. Distance running is a very high impact sport. Many high-school and collegiate coaches will have their runners cross-train for twenty to 50 minutes one day a week. Cross-training can include aqua-jogging, swimming and low-impact machines at the gym.
- Include a day of strength training. The most effective distance runners are light. The idea of weight lifting scares some runners for fear that they will gain weight. But strength training will actually make you a more effective distance runner. At least one day a week, you should consider some strength training exercises that focus on your abs, arms, quads and hip flexors.
- Use ice to prevent injuries. Many distance runners only ice after they have sustained an injury. Research has demonstrated that ice can successfully prevent overuse injuries by removing the lactic acid from your legs before inflammation occurs. You can ice up to twenty minutes every couple of hours.
- Vary your running routes. Boredom is a challenge for most distance runners at some point in their career. Running in new places can help you prevent boredom during long runs. Even running your usual route in reverse can offer a needed change.
- Keep a running diary. If you are a distance runner, you will inevitably go through ups and downs with running. If you keep a diary of your mileage, time, eating habits and how you feel, you can see what works best for you. You can do this with a traditional journal or you can join a free online community.
- Don't be a slave to your running program. Ultimately, as a distance runner you have to do what works best for you. If you normally aim to run five days a week, but one week you can only do four, that is okay. It is rare that any runner sticks to a schedule perfectly. Think of your plan as more of a goal, and if five of the seven days go as you wanted then you are doing pretty well.