How To Run Long Distances
Learning how to run long distances may seem intimidating, but taken one step at a time, it really is not that difficult. Allow yourself time to gradually build up to your goals instead of becoming burnt out and frustrated. In time the elusive ten, fifteen, and even twenty mile Saturday morning runs will not seem like such a big deal. If you want to run long distances, consider these tips.
- Set reasonable goals. How many miles do you run a week? Increase your mileage by ten percent each week. Making the transition from short distances to being able to run long distances gradually is essential for preventing injury along the way.
- Vary your runs. Start out running three or four miles six days a week. If you want to increase your distances, make each training day unique and beneficial. Incorporate a hill run, a short fast run, and an interval workout into your longer, slower distance runs.
- Sign up for races. This is a great way to stay motivated and to mark each milestone. Start out with a couple 5k races and then sign yourself up for a 10k, a ten miler, and then a half-marathon. Allow yourself weeks if not months in between each race to build up to the long distances slowly.
- Eat a runner's diet. Eat like a long distance runner. This means lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and easy to digest protein and fat sources such as peanut butter, beans, tofu, chicken, and fish.
- Stretch. Make it a habit to stretch for at least ten minutes before and after every run. This is not only important for preventing injury, it will also increase your running efficiency. If you aren't in the habit of stretching once you are running for an hour or two at a time, you are going to have problems.
- Hydrate. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, as well as fresh fruit juices. It is also important to take liquids, preferably something with electrolytes, once you are running long distances.
- Start changing your sneakers. If you are running a minimum of twenty or thirty miles a week you need to start changing your running sneakers every three months, especially if you are running on pavement all of the time.
- Find a friend. Join a running group or start running with a friend who is a long distance runner. You can keep each other going.
- Keep a journal. Keep a log of your training. This will help to keep you on track, to organize your increases in mileage, and to make you feel good about yourself because now you can run long distances!