Short-distance running is beneficial to your health, but long-distance running is an excellent method to enhance your fitness and reduce stress. According to specialists, long-distance runners have better cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, more self-esteem, and faster metabolism. One of the most significant requirements for becoming a long-distance runner is to increase your speed gradually. There are measures you may take to make the switch to long-distance running if you have less experience. When running long distances, it’s still crucial to pace yourself, even if you’re an experienced runner. Your body will let you cover longer distances with improved form and efficiency as your fitness and endurance improve.
1: Don’t Be Afraid To Start Where You’re At
When people begin long-distance training, they may be concerned that they will only be able to run 3 miles, making training for a 26.2-mile marathon seem impossible. The fact is, it’s not that far away. All you need is consistency and a significant amount of time, and you’ll be amazed at what your body can do!
2: Make Most Of Your Runs Easy
When it comes to distance running, I prefer to think about the 80/20 rule. Easy, pleasant runs should account for 80% of your total running time. To increase your difficulty, put speed work or hills into the remaining 20%. However, too much of the latter raises the risk of injury (source) and reduces training effectiveness. There is a delicate balance to be struck here.
3: Take Care When Running In The Heat
Allow yourself time to adjust if you’re running in hot conditions. It takes around 2-4 weeks to become acclimated to running in hot weather, so go at a slower speed and lower intensity as you adjust. If there’s a heat advisory in effect, though, avoid running outside during the hottest part of the day. Instead, attempt to run early in the morning or late at night, when the temperature is at its lowest. Take things inside if you have a treadmill! Stay hydrated when running, of course.
Check out our top picks in Best Running Caps For Men to avoid direct sunlight and protect your head.
4: Try A Sweat Test
If you don’t regularly feel thirsty during a run or don’t drink much at all, a sweat test could be worth your time. Some persons (especially older athletes) may have a muddled thirst cue and risk dehydration if they ignore drinking during a run. How do you do a sweat test? Without any clothing on, weigh yourself before and after a run. Then have a look at this:
- You’re on the correct track if you’ve shed 1-2 percent of your body weight and are appropriately hydrated.
- You’re probably drinking a little too much if you’ve gained weight.
- If you lost more than 3% of your body weight on your last long run, you might want to pay a little more attention to hydration on your next long run.
Here are our top picks for clothing for long-distance running.
5: Prepare For The Mental Battle Of Long Distance Run
Negative thoughts are the easiest way to set yourself up for failure before you ever start. One of the worst things you can say to yourself before a long run is that you’re going for a tremendously long run that will take forever. Long-distance survival takes retraining your brain and focusing on a good outlook. Starting your run on a bad note will add to your sense of impossibility. Prepare your mind for the distance by telling yourself anything you need to hear to make the run feel doable and doable. You may need to do your typical 4-mile run four times, or you may need to run for the duration of a movie. Whatever it takes to make it sound a bit less difficult!
Related Article: How to Train Your Mind for Long Distance Running?
6: Plan A Reward For Your Run
If you’re having trouble staying motivated while running, think of a reward that will push you to finish those miles. Perhaps a refreshing shower after a hot run or a slice of pizza while binge-watching your favorite program is all you need. Schedule your favorite activity or meal to coincide with your long run days. Running greater distances means you’ll be more exhausted and hungry at the end of each run, so take advantage of it.
7: Find Somewhere You Love To Run
With each of those long-distance runs, give yourself something to look forward to! You’ll need a longer running route when you start running more considerable distances. Explore your surroundings or take a drive to some nearby trails to see what they have to offer. Trails can be found beside the river, in the forests, or in attractive neighborhoods. Run in a setting that makes you joyful and eager to get out there and run. My favorite place for long-distance running is my university. During Covid, the university was closed for classes due to homeschooling, which allowed me to explore all its places. I love the solitude and peace there while running.
8: Use The Right Gear
Long-distance running necessitates correct attire, which may seem self-evident. Depending on the weather and time of day you choose to run, this might imply various outfits. Dressing down in light, loose shorts and a loose shirt keeps unnecessary sweat from clinging to your body in hot temperatures. A headband is also an excellent option since it keeps the sweat from getting into your eyes. Runners sweat less in chilly temperatures. Tights and woolen headgear can give the necessary protection from the cold and avoid excessive heat loss. To prevent injuries, it is essential to dress warmly.
Please check our top picks in long-distance running gear before you leave.
9: Get Durable Running Shoes
Long-distance running is difficult enough without having to worry about your footwear holding you back. Because you’ll be on your feet for the duration, you’ll want to invest in some comfy, long-lasting footwear. Stopping a run halfway through due to blisters disrupts the flow of the workout and negatively influences your stamina and momentum. Improper assistance might result in long-term consequences. Wearing an extra pair of decent sports socks, in addition to comfy shoes, may give an extra layer of much-needed comfort during a run.
Related: How To Choose The Best Long Distance Running Shoes
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10: Have A Well-Tailored Training Plan
Long-distance running may soon turn into a way of life. The training should be tailored to the individual’s fitness level, and it’s critical to establish tough but achievable goals. The general guideline is to increase strength, endurance, and cardio progressively. A consistent balance of long-distance runs through the week and proper recovery are required to achieve this. Lifting some weights to supplement exercise and improve overall fitness is also a good idea.
11: Eat Healthily
Any sport needs balanced meals and snacks to help in muscle rehabilitation and general health. Because attempting anything new might produce an upset stomach, it’s best to eat familiar foods and beverages before and after training. This is particularly true before a marathon. Before and after hard exercises, eating correctly and consistently helps to regulate your body.
Warming up before a high-intensity sport like long-distance running is essential for every athlete or leisure runner. A mix of stretching exercises and a ten-minute stroll before the run is strongly suggested to avoid muscular pulls and cramps.
Related Article: Warm-Ups, Cool-Downs, and Stretching for Running
Most individuals remember to warm up before a run but often neglect to cool down afterward. The importance of a cool down is equal to that of a warm-up. Walking for 10 minutes after a hard run will help your body cool down and shorten your recovery time in half.
14: Staying Hydrated
Long-distance running causes sweat and toxins to be released, but it also causes the body to lose a significant amount of water. Longer runs require more hydration, which should begin even before the workout. Drink lots of water before, during, and after each meal. Consider drinking a glass of water amid your run, or every 30-45 minutes if your run is longer than an hour. It’s vital to consume not simply water after a marathon or long run but also alkaline-rich recovery beverages like Gatorade.
Here are some hydration packs you might need during long runs.
15: Don’t Run Too Soon After Having A Meal
Having a meal before a run is an important step in enhancing one’s energy level and raising the chances of completing a good long run. It is, however, necessary to wait at least 3 hours to allow for proper digestion. During a run, not giving enough time for the stomach to empty might cause stomach pain, ranging from bloating to abdominal pains to vomiting.
16: Pace The Run
Long-distance runners frequently make the error of neglecting to pace themselves. Pacing your run entails being aware of your body’s inherent boundaries. You may find yourself unable to complete the distance during a workout or in a competition if you push too hard, too soon. Make use of a pace calculator to keep track of your averages and splits during your run. For runners who want to go the distance, mastering the art of pace is essential.
17: Switch Up Your Playlist
Have you lost some of your distance magic? To help you stay motivated, change up your playlist and include some new songs. If that’s not your thing, try stand-up comedy, audio novels, or podcasts. Keep the level down or take one earbud out no matter what you’re listening to. This allows you to be more aware of your environment, including other people, automobiles, and animals.
18: Use A Timer
Although not everyone is interested in long-distance running for competition, using a timer to help evaluate your threshold for a certain distance is still a smart idea. This knowledge will come in handy when it comes to pacing long-distance runs. It will also assist you in creating successful running exercise regimens for the future. Many capabilities are included in our complete running software, including workout information with distance and time.
19: Increase The Mileage, Gradually
The importance of incremental progress in long-distance running cannot be overstated. Increase the weekly mileage by no more than 10% on average. As you raise your training load, this strategy will help you avoid injury. Keep note of your distance so that you can be exact. When you increase your distance too soon, you increase your risk of injury.
It’s unusual for a runner to raise their weekly mileage without a strategy. We at TRE believe that everyone, regardless of fitness ability, should have one. That so, understanding the goal of training planning is especially vital for rookie runners. With a strategy in place, you’ll be able to track your progress and determine how to increase your distance. In general, for the best long-distance running outcomes, you should strive for regular, stairstep-style rises in mileage, with periodic dropdowns.
- Beginners can increasetheir mileage by 20-25% weekly
- Experienced runners can increase their mileage by 10-15% weekly
Tip: Reduce the length of your long-distance run. Your body will be able to recuperate fully as a result of this. Reduced training volume and run duration may seem counterintuitive, but there’s a purpose for it.
20: Injury Prevention
Long-distance runners need to avoid injuries as much as possible. Warming up before a run and cooling down afterward are terrific places to start, as previously discussed. During exercise, paying attention to your body might help you avoid injury. The majority of long-distance runners have learned to pay attention to their bodies’ aches and pains. If one is experiencing continuous discomfort when running, it is better to rest for a few days and then start training once the discomfort has subsided. If the discomfort persists, seek medical attention. The essential thing to remember about pain is not to push through it. Remember that a slight setback is preferable to a huge one.
Related Article: How Beginning Runners Can Improve Endurance Without Injury?
21: Make Time For Mobility Work
After a run, mobility work is a terrific way to unwind. Your pulse rate will settle down, you’ll be able to stretch out tight calves and shoulders, and you’ll be more prepared for your next exercise or run. Most significantly, it will assist you in opening up your hips and ankles, which may take a battering in the long run. Leg swings and hip circles are two of our favorite post-run mobility routines.
- Standing on one leg, make sure your hips are level (no sinking down on the standing leg)
- Swing the other leg around 20 times back and forth.
- To target your hip flexors, keep your swinging leg reasonably straight.
- Kick the leg back into a deep lunge stretch after 20 swings.
- For support, place your hands on the ground near your front foot.
- To rotate your hips through their complete range of motion, move them clockwise and counterclockwise.
These two exercises are excellent for mobilizing your lower body after a run. The hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves are all given special attention. Make time in your training schedule for mobility work—your body will thank you!
22: How To Breathe While Running Long Distances?
Take it slowly. Because long-distance races take time, you can’t keep pushing your lactate threshold or VO2 Max and panting the entire time. You’re probably pushing yourself too hard if talking or humming a tune is tough.
Related Article: How to Breathe While Running Long Distance
23: Resting After A Marathon
Anyone who has raced a marathon knows how hard it is on the body. As a result, getting enough long-term rest before returning to hard exercise is critical. After a long-distance running competition, the typical guideline for rest and restoration is to give your body one day of rest for every mile you run. So, if you ran a ten-mile race, you should take ten days off before returning to heavy training. Allow your body 26 to 27 days to heal after completing a full marathon of 26.2 miles before beginning strenuous training.
24: Preparing For A Long Distance Race
Preparation for a race, regardless of fitness level, should be gradual. Eating correctly, staying hydrated, and sticking to a weekly mileage-based training regimen are important aspects of training. This method ensures that your body is fully equipped for the arduous challenge of long-distance competition. If you want to start long-distance running to complete a full marathon ultimately, make sure you start with plenty of preparation time to avoid injuries and gradually develop your fitness level.
By the time the marathon comes around, the goal should be to have run at least a 20-mile distance in moderate comfort. You can run a marathon with less risk of hurting yourself or stopping before the finish line if you can run 20 miles. Some people enter a marathon intending to finish in the fastest time possible, and some intend to complete the route regardless of the time it takes. Whether you’re a teenager or an elderly citizen who wants to run a marathon one day, the goal is to start small and gradually increase your fitness.
25: Make Your Runs Interesting
As much as some individuals like it, long-distance running may rapidly become tedious and tedious if done regularly. Explore several paths to keep things new and inspirational.
This doesn’t have to take away from your running concentration, and keeping track of your training can help you stay on target. You’ll rapidly uncover several avenues to explore that you weren’t aware of with a little effort. For example, run a route that encompasses a segment of the park and a portion of a neighborhood. Then run the other half the next day.
Trail running is great for the runner who appreciates nature and has a good level of fitness. On the other hand, the terrain requires some acclimating since it entails jumping over stumps, crossing rivers, and running up and down hills. Altitude training is a terrific addition to the schedule for more experienced runners. Running on a beach or along the shore is a relaxing experience for those who live near one. Changing up your running routes keeps the surroundings fresh and fascinating every day, which improves your running experience.
26: Alternate Hard Days Of Training With Rest
The key to being healthy and making the fitness gains that one wishes is to train wisely. There are days when you need to put in a lot of effort at the gym. Long periods of recuperation should follow these days. This method provides for optimum muscle healing in the body. There’s no need to think of a rest day as a day off; rather, it’s an important element of the training routine.
Related Article: The Importance of Rest for Runners
27: Altitude Training
Competitive athletes benefit more from altitude training than non-competitive athletes. When you work out at a higher altitude (7000 to 8000 feet above sea level or above), the air is thinner than 4000 feet. Athletes who train at a higher altitude develop a higher endurance threshold than those who exercise at a lower altitude. You’ll gradually get a competitive edge in endurance over other runners if you train at high altitudes and then race at lower altitudes.
28: Break Your Run Into Sections
It might be difficult to think about big distances before you begin your run. Breaking down a long-distance run mentally is frequently the key to getting started and staying motivated.
In your imagination, a 10k run may be divided into three 3.5-km segments. Once one level is completed, the following one doesn’t seem as difficult, and by the time you’ve completed the second stage, you’ll be ready to tackle the last stage.
29: Train In A Group
It may be simpler to find a safe club in your region that meets regularly to run when it comes to long-distance running. Even experienced long-distance runners might benefit from running with a local group once in a while. Beginners will find it motivating, and everyone engaged will benefit socially.
30: Be Aware Of Your Running Posture
When running long distances, you want to keep your wrists, hands, and arms as relaxed as possible. It’s best to keep your head up so you can see where you’re going. Your back should be straight, and you should take deep breaths. The runner’s footfall should be straight as well. Running in the proper posture guarantees that the athlete performs at their best.
Related Article: Tips for Proper Running Form
31: Run And Walk Method
Running and walking are the greatest ways to improve stamina if you are a novice. Don’t put any pressure on yourself to complete the full distance. Instead, you may cross the distance by running and walking. You’ll still get terrific exercise and improve your fitness and endurance using this strategy, allowing you to run longer distances in the future. Before adding miles or kilometers of greater speed or exertion, start at a comfortable, slower pace. Also, before you begin your long-distance run, remember to stretch and warm-up.
Related Article: How to Do the Run Walk Method
32: Long Distance Running Tips for Kids
I’m an athlete who enjoys running. I enjoy running and want to instill that passion in my children. I was overjoyed when my son and daughter wanted to run with me for the first time. And what about when they truly wanted to run a race? I would have done a back handspring if I could. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes for my children to catch the running fever. A children’s fun run may be found at practically any local race. Alternatively, you’ll find a child of any age group lining up with you at the starting line.
After the gun goes off, there are typically two outcomes: the youngster will either sprint for the first quarter-mile before slowing to a walk, or they will blast past you, and you will never see them again. In any case, it’s always entertaining to see. Fun runs and 5Ks may not be enough for your youngster as they get older. So, when your child is ready to run greater distances, such as a 10K or half marathon, what do you do?
Related Article: How Kids Can Benefit From Running as Exercise?
Long Distance Running Involves Consistency
You must be constant in your training to run long distances without becoming exhausted. After routinely completing long runs of 14, 16, and 18 miles the month prior, heading out for a 20-mile run felt a lot simpler. Running 20 miles after a three-week break, on the other hand, is likely to be unpleasant. Many rookie runners are surprised by how much they like the sport and how motivated they are to improve. You’ll probably decide to run your first 5k after a mile seems easier. Following a 5k, a 10k, half marathon, and a marathon are the next logical steps. Long-distance running is addictive, as most runners would agree. Long-distance running has several advantages, whether you’re preparing for a long marathon, want to increase your mileage, or be in better shape.
Becoming A Better Long Distance Runner Is A Lifelong Process
Long-distance running aids in the development of a distinct sense of success. Each week, challenge yourself to long-distance runs to build mental and physical power that can be used in almost every aspect of your life. Learning to run large distances is only the first step. Spend time strengthening your stamina so you can finish your long runs without feeling weary, and you’ll soon be achieving objectives that were unachievable previously. We are finding more and more possibilities to practise our sport as long-distance running becomes more popular.