Learning how to run farther is one of the goals for both beginning and avid runners. The United States Department of Health and Human Services maintains that significant health benefits can be obtained by including a moderate amount of physical activity in their daily lives. Many people have chosen running as a popular and effective way to exercise and improve their fitness. A person who is gradually learning to run further is improving their endurance and overall physical health. Here are five simple steps to increase distance and endurance!
- Do not push too quickly. A beginning runner who tries to run a full mile the first day he puts on his running shoes is at risk for a variety of injuries, including shin splints, iliotibial band injuries and more. The same holds true for an experienced runner who regularly runs four to five miles and suddenly decides to run a half-marathon. Be patient and gradually increase distance. A beginner should try going out for thirty minutes and running for a minute at a time with two-minute breaks of walking in between each burst of running. This type of gradual running is ideal for avoiding injury,
- Create a training plan. A training plan is an effective for staying on target when learning to run farther. Put the end-goal (fifteen miles, for example) at the end of the plan and use gradual, weekly increments to meet the goal. For example, if a person is running in a half-marathon in two months, that is the end goal. Each week should gradually increase in mileage until the runner is confident that he will be able to run 13.1 miles safely on the day of the race.
- Do one long run every week. The training plan should include one run that is longer than all the others every week. It should not be too much longer than before or a runner could be injured. Instead, the runner should decide, according to experience, if he wants to increase by one or two miles each week or by a quarter of a mile. A beginning runner could consider trying to increase his run by five minutes each week. A more experienced runner could try to increase his distance by one mile each week. Always remember–don't push too quickly!
- Between each weekly long run do several shorter runs. This keeps a runner's endurance up, but keeps him from pushing too hard. For example, if the long run was seven miles, do one three-miler and one five-miler that week. These shorter runs can be relaxing, easier and magnify the joy of running.
- Enjoy your rest days. Always select one or two days to rest each week. In order for the body to heal and build endurance, it needs time to recover. For one or two days a week do not run at all. These days can be used for cross-training, going for a walk or curling up with a book! The rest days are as important to the training plan as the long runs.
Following these five steps will encourage a runner to exercise more, increase his fitness, as well as his mileage and endurance. Happy Running!