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As the name implies, long-distance running entails running for extended lengths of time, generally at least 3000 meters. When most people think of long-distance running, they envision a stroll through the neighborhood or laps around a track. Distance running emphasizes cardiovascular endurance and is primarily an aerobic activity. Distance running is an excellent technique to work up a sweat and raise the heart rate. However, over time, this form of exercise leads to a loss of muscle mass. Depending on your training goals, distance running may or may not be a beneficial kind of exercise to integrate into your daily fitness regimen. It might be a suitable alternative for athletes who require cardiovascular endurance, such as hockey or basketball.
From my personal experiences and research, I have tried to cover each common question regarding long-distance running training. So let’s start with the beginner’s mindset.
A dedication to regular physical training is required to become a long-distance runner. There are a few crucial components of a training regimen that aspiring long-distance runners may follow, in addition to pacing themselves and being patient with their progress.
A proper warm-up before running may help you avoid issues like side stitches and muscular stiffness, which can ruin your run or put you at risk of injury. Start with a brisk walk or gentle jog to warm up your body and prepare your joints for more rigorous action. Then, to prepare your muscles for the kilometers ahead, do a few active stretches. Similarly, remember to cool down for at least five minutes at a slow pace towards the end of your run. This will assist in avoiding muscular discomfort by reducing the accumulation of lactic acid.
While you may believe that side stitches are an unavoidable aspect of running, they are not. Take precautions to avoid side stitches so that you don’t have to cut your runs short. Applying pressure to the region and altering your breathing pattern are two effective methods for removing those pesky cramps.
Tip: When aiming to run longer distances, adding a mile or two per week is the ideal technique.
In the same way that you gradually increase distance, you should consider slowing down your pace. If you’re going to be running long distances, you’ll need to save some energy so that you can finish your run. Slow down your pace as you extend your journey to avoid placing too much effort or stress on your body.
Start with your head and work your way down your body. Make sure you’re gazing upwards rather than down at your feet. Relax your shoulders, maintain your back straight, and maintain your arms, wrists, and hands free of strain. Make sure you’re breathing deeply, and your footfalls are straight. It is critical to run with an appropriate running form to avoid injury. It can also help you avoid weariness, which may hinder you from running for extended periods of time.
Don’t worry if you can’t keep up the speed for the full course of your run. You shouldn’t push yourself to run or jog the full distance. Instead, use the run and walk method to cover more distance. This interval workout has several advantages. Even so, you’ll get tremendous exercise and burn a lot of calories. However, you’ll improve your fitness, endurance, and confidence, allowing you to run larger distances in the future. Interval training is a terrific approach to improving your fitness and aerobic capacity, keeping the intensity low. Before you start (gradually) adding bursts of increasing speed or effort, be sure you’re comfortable at a slower pace.
Treadmill Boredom might prevent you from running a longer distance
On days when you cannot exercise outside, the treadmill provides convenience, and many runners find that it has lower stress on the joints than running on concrete. However, don’t just get on the treadmill and run. Make a strategy to combat boredom and make treadmill running more enjoyable. In brief intervals, you may increase the tempo and incline. Alternatively, you may attempt gently climbing a hill while slowing down your pace. These boredom-busting treadmill exercises are a great way to stay on track with your running program no matter what your schedule or weather conditions are like.
Always Stretch your Muscles
Tightness in various muscles is a typical reason why new and veteran runners quit long-distance runs early. Stretching in the middle of your run might assist if you’re experiencing muscular tightness. Stretch the afflicted body part for around 30 seconds if you start to feel tight while running. Then continue running.
Tip: If you’re experiencing discomfort that doesn’t seem to be going away, you should probably stop running. It’s crucial to know when it’s OK to push through discomfort and when it’s time to quit.
Control Your Pace
When you go for a run, do you keep track of your pace? You ought to. Running too quickly is one of the most prevalent causes for new runners quitting before reaching their desired distance. When you initially begin running, keep your pace conversational. That implies you’ll be able to converse in full phrases while jogging. You’re probably running too quickly if you’re gasping for oxygen.
Cross-training with strength training on days when you aren’t running helps your body cope with the physical impact of running. Your muscles will be able to function for longer periods of time before becoming weary, allowing you to run more kilometers. A good strength training regimen doesn’t have to take up a lot of time in the gym. Bodyweight workouts that don’t require any equipment and workouts that employ dumbbells or resistance bands and can be done at home can provide the same advantages. Only do two or three 15–20 minute strength training sessions each week to gain muscular mass.
Let me tell you about my personal experience. I started from zero, as I was a 6’3” tall guy with a weight of 60KG, as I always had a problem with gaining weight. Fortunately, I had a friend who owned a gym. He is a fitness trainer. I followed his training and diet plans strictly. I had a plan for each day, an elliptical machine or treadmill warm-up of 10mins and then arms, chest, legs, back for each day. On Saturdays, I only did treadmill cardio for one hour. Eventually, I started focusing more on cardio and going to nearby parks for running sessions.
Your Body Needs Time To Recover
Your first run went great, and you’re eager to go back out there? This is fantastic! However, you should wait a day before trying the following workout since your body needs to recuperate from the previous running session. It must adjust to the increased demands on the cardiovascular system and prepare your muscles and bones for the next run. Plan your workouts such that you run one day and relax the next. Beginner runners may utilize this easy training plan to get the most out of their workouts while avoiding overuse problems.
Why is Strength Training important for Long distance running?
Although many runners’ training programs eliminate strength training or see it as a form of cross-training to be done on non-running days, it is the foundation of effective endurance training. Running fitness may be enhanced when race preparation includes periods of general strengthening, such as running-specific strengthening, hill training, and explosive work. Each type of strengthening builds on the modalities that have already been done. Combine these running-specific exercises to develop the strength, agility, and explosiveness you’ll need to take on difficult hill intervals and speed sessions.
Every long-distance runner has to work on their strength. A strong, well-balanced physique decreases the chance of injury and can also help you perform better in races. This necessitates concentrating on a single muscle area and taking a holistic approach to the body. A runner with a strong lower body will be less likely to get injured since the leg muscles will work together to support each other. A strong upper body will aid a runner in powering through the last phases of a race when other runners’ form breaks down.
Strength training is one of the most significant training components for runners who want to avoid injuries and enhance performance. In recent research, heavy resistance, explosive resistance, plyometric training, and standard weight lifting have been proven to increase running economy and neuromuscular coordination. Because running is a cyclical and asymmetrical repeat of actions as you move from stride to stride, exercising your body asymmetrically will allow you to detect muscle strength imbalances on both sides more clearly.
How To Train Your Legs for Long Distance Running?
Plyometrics workouts can also help you improve your running economy. Muscle contractions become more powerful when they are stretched and shortened repeatedly and rapidly. However, because of the high-impact nature of this sort of exercise, you should proceed with caution if you are a novice. Before including explosive workouts into your training regimen, you need first establish a reliable amount of muscular strength. Choose a few workouts that train legs independently rather than both at the same time. Starting a plyometric practice without two or three months of weight lifting or bodyweight workouts will almost certainly result in injury (However, two or three months may stretch to 6 months or maybe more, like in my case, I focused on weight lifting to gain muscle strength). To help you get started with your legs strength training program, I’ve compiled a list of the finest leg exercises that you can perform at home.
To begin, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, engaging your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Ensure that your knees are aligned with your feet (toes behind the knees), that your back is straight, and that your chest and shoulders are lifted. Start using dumbbell weight for deadlifts when you progress.
Begin by standing up straight. Step back with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle in the first phase of the exercise. Maintain a straight spine and a forward gaze. To pull your feet together and return to starting position, you’ll concentrate on knee and ankle stability, as well as quad and hamstring strength.
Begin with your feet parallel and hip-width apart in a standing stance. Take a large stride to the side, keeping your back straight and the other leg extended. Concentrate on lowering your hips until your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Return to your original starting position. This exercise targets the quadriceps and glutes, as well as the inner and outer thigh muscles.
Standing with your feet hip-width apart is a good idea. Raise your heels till you’re on your toes and your knees are straight but not locked. Then slowly lower yourself back to the beginning position. To add resistance, you can train one leg at a time. Although it appears to be a simple workout, it is quite helpful in strengthening lower legs to sustain the load placed on your Achilles tendon and shins during running.
Lift one leg off the floor and raise it behind you, maintaining your knee straight and your hip from shifting to the side while you stand with your feet hip-width apart. Your torso should be lowered till your elevated leg is parallel to the floor. As you lower your body, keep your back straight and completely engaged. Return to the starting position slowly. You can carry dumbbells as you advance to boost the workout impact. It’s a terrific workout for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings and core, and it helps stabilize the hips and ankles.
Bring your heels closer to your buttocks while lying on your back with both feet on the floor, and lay your arms alongside your body with palms facing down. Lift one foot off the ground, keeping the bent knee of the elevated leg. To produce a straight line from your knees to your shoulder, push down the foot on the floor while raising your hips as high as possible. When you return to the beginning posture, try not to rest your hips on the floor. This exercise works the glutes and hamstrings while also improving hip mobility.
Begin in a standing posture, drop your hips into a squat, and then leap as high as you can off the ground. Land lightly on the floor, striving to put your feet parallel to each other in a squat posture, and go for another rep right away. This plyometric workout targets glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves to improve power.
It is similar to squat jumps in terms of execution, but it is more explosive. Start with your arms stretched behind you in a low squat stance. Jump off the ground, allowing your arms to assist you in getting high enough to land lightly on the box with both feet. With your hips and knees slightly bent, you’ll be in the best landing posture. When landing on the box, keep your hips above your knee line. Restart by stepping down, not jumping, from the box. Landing forcefully on the ground after jumping from the box is significantly more dangerous since it puts a lot of strain on your knees and Achilles tendon.
Make sure you’re beginning from a stable posture and moving in a controlled manner. It’s critical to choose a proper-sized box and concentrate on your landing mechanics during each repeat. It’s too high for you if you land with your knees bent too much, or merely with the balls of your feet on the box, or if your feet strike the box’s edge. Only when you’ve mastered jumping to a lesser height should you progress to a higher box.
Why You Need A Strong Core for Long Distance Running?
The whole chain of muscles that link the pelvis, spine, and trunk to each other and the rest of the body is called the core. These interrelated core muscles stretch from the diaphragm and pelvis to the hips and back, providing stability, strength, and power to both your upper and lower body.
While a shredded six-pack isn’t always a priority for runners, increasing core strength has many advantages when it comes to running. A strong core can help you run faster and with better posture. Because your arms and legs all originate from your core, your limbs are inextricably linked to your torso’s strength. A strong core provides a stable foundation for the rest of the body’s strength.
The biggest advantage of core strength for runners is torso stability. When you run, your core muscles (chest, back, abs, and obliques) hold your torso straight and decrease “wobbling” when moving your arms and legs. Core strength helps the pelvis, hips, and lower back work together more smoothly during running, resulting in less swaying and thus less wasted energy. Core strength also enhances balance, allowing you to recover swiftly from tiny and huge mistakes.
Core strength is very crucial for long-distance runners. When you’re exhausted towards the conclusion of a long run or a race, your form starts to deteriorate. Poor form not only slows you down but also exposes you to injury. Building core strength will aid in maintaining good posture and reducing the aches associated with bad posture for distance runners.
The human body’s core consists of the following muscles:
Interval core muscles that wrap around your spine and sides are known as transverse abdominis.
The muscles of your lower back are known as the erector spine.
The exterior and internal muscles on the sides of your abdomen are known as obliques.
When most people hear the word “abs,” they think of the rectus abdominis.
The glutes, scapula, flexors, and pelvic floor are among the other muscles.
How to Train your Core for Long Distance Running?
Recognize that your “core” is more than simply your abs. Your hamstrings, glutes, hips, lower back, and oblique muscles are also included. To avoid running injuries and preserve fitness, runners’ core routines should focus on these areas. The following is a list of five exercises that you may do easily in the comfort of your own home.
Planks are, in my opinion, the most crucial core workout a runner can perform. They won’t give you a six-pack of abs right away, but they will build a wide range of upper-body muscles that are essential for long-distance running. Although there are many other types of planks, we’ll focus on the two most common: front and side planks. Start by lying face-down on the floor with front planks. Raise yourself onto your elbows and stay there. To bear the weight, concentrate on engaging your abdominal muscles. You can execute side planks by supporting yourself on one elbow and turning your body perpendicular to the floor. To bear the weight, concentrate on engaging your obliques. Cycling through a set of Front Plank – Left Side Plank – Right Side Plank is a fantastic plank routine. I recommend that you hold each one for 45 seconds. You’ll be able to perform numerous sets without taking a break as your strength improves.
Place hands firmly on the floor, exactly beneath shoulders, to begin a plank. To stabilize your bottom half, dig your toes into the ground. Brace your core (as if you’re about to take a punch), engage your glutes and hamstrings, and keep your back flat, so your entire body is neutral and straight. Maintain a flat back and a 3-foot concentration in front of you. Keep your neck neutral and descend your body until your chest grazes the floor. During the exercise, keep your body in a straight line from head to toe, and don’t let your butt drop or poke out at any moment.
Draw your shoulder blades back and down, keeping your elbows tucked in close to your body. Exhale as you return to the beginning position, keeping your core engaged. As you push yourself back up, imagine screwing your hands into the floor. A rep for 10–20 reps, or as many as you can accomplish while maintaining proper technique.
Raise both arms and legs into the air while lying face down on your stomach, hold for 2-3 seconds, then return to the ground. This exercise will strengthen your lower back. Perform 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions.
This is a glute strengthening workout. Lie down on your back and raise your feet to your buttocks, forming a 45-degree angle with your legs. Lift your buttocks off the ground and concentrate on contracting your glutes. Hold for a few seconds before lowering yourself. Perform 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions.
5: Russian twist
This is a workout for the abs and oblique muscles. Sit on the floor with your legs bent, and your stomach pulled halfway in. Raise your feet off the ground and concentrate on activating your tummy. Twist your arms from side to side, contacting the ground with each twist. You may make it more difficult by holding a ball in your hands.
How to Train Your Mind for Long Distance Running?
Long-distance running is all about mental as well as physical discipline. You should also train your mind to go the distance in addition to your physical fitness. Many runners are familiar with the apprehensive thoughts that may take over their heads minutes before the starting pistol fires in a race. They understand how daunting the number of miles might appear the night before a big run. Running, in addition to being a physical exercise, may also be a cerebral workout. It’s been done for a long time in sports to replace negative ideas with positive ones, but how effective is it? Our ideas, according to research, have a big influence on our performance. So, how can we harness that energy and put it to use on race day?
How do our brains affect our performance?
According to research, athletes’ performance improves when they train their thoughts to work to their advantage. Dr. Robert Udewitz of the Behavior Therapy of New York evaluated two groups of high school runners: one who sought to distract themselves from the agony of running and another who deliberately noticed and sought to work through their unpleasant thoughts. The second group, according to Udewitz, ran faster.
Why Positive Thinking is Important to build Endurance?
Perhaps you’ve heard that smiling intentionally while working out might make your mind into believing you’re feeling better and stronger. Expectations, according to Scientific American, “are capable of creating physiological effects.” That is to say. If you believe you can, you will most likely set a personal best or complete your first marathon with correct preparation.
According to Scientific American, “such expectations and learned connections have been demonstrated to modify the chemistry and circuitry of the brain.” “These changes may result in physiological and cognitive effects such as decreased tiredness, decreased immune system responses, increased hormone levels, and decreased anxiety.”
How can you feel happy in your brain?
Here are some recommendations for incorporating more happy thoughts on your next run:
Recognize and replace your illogical beliefs (“I didn’t get in enough training”) with sensible ones (“I didn’t get in as many miles as I wanted, but I’ll still try my best”).
Consider the specifics on race day. This, according to Udewitz, “primes the mind and body for achievement.”
On race day, concentrate on what you can control. Keep your focus on your form while remaining calm.
Recognize that it isn’t going to be easy. Running is a strenuous exercise, so congratulate yourself on each mile you complete.
Concentrate on other aspects of the race, such as spectators and other runners. To help break up a long distance run or race, select a runner or landmark and run to it, then select another and run to it.
Treadmill running might get boring as you try to run for longer distances. Treadmill running may be less physically demanding, but it may be a far more challenging mental battle. Go outside for your runs if the weather and safety allow. You may be so distracted by the fresh air, scenery, and novel routes that you run for longer than you would on the treadmill.
Run With Other People
If the voice in your mind isn’t enough to get you through a difficult workout, consider bringing a friend or two along so you can encourage each other to run longer or harder. Many new runners claim that they would never be able to go long distances without the assistance of a running companion. Runners who buddy up frequently discover that they can run longer, whether it’s due to peer pressure, conversational distraction, motivational support, or a mix of all three. If you generally run alone, enlist the help of a friend or family member, or join a local running group. You may discover running groups by searching online or going to a local running store.
Overcome your Mental Barrier
Some rookie runners are physically capable of running a given distance but lack the confidence or mental endurance to go further. So, how can you develop mental strength? It’s often a case of “mind over matter.” You may divert yourself by running with others, being creative and playing mental games, or simply losing yourself in the excitement of running. Many runners find that keeping track of their performance data and listening to energizing music is a terrific motivation. If you’d want to be completely connected with your mind and body while running, mindfulness might help you stay focused on the current moment.
Although there are benefits and drawbacks to using headphones in a long-distance run, one of the benefits is that it might help the miles pass more quickly. However, it can distract you from the voices of your surroundings, which you need to pay close attention to as well.
Do you always run the same route when you go for a run? If that’s the case, you’ll quickly become bored and exhausted. Try various running routes to keep yourself entertained, so you don’t get bored and stop. Try running on the streets in your area or on a nearby walk or trail if you usually run at your local track. Discover new areas to visit. Alternatively, look for popular running routes on the internet.
Push Your Limits
Beginner runners frequently lack the confidence they require to run through the discomfort that all long-distance runners face. You, on the other hand, possess it. All you have to do now is tap into that potential. During runs, experiment with different strategies to dive deeper. It may be uncomfortable to push yourself, and you may need additional strength and stamina, but mental stamina is a muscle much like those that carry your body through the miles. Long-distance runs will become simpler to manage if you exercise your brain.
Set Small Goals
Having defined short-term goals to strive for can assist with the mental hurdles of running longer distances. “Run to the next stop sign,” for example, maybe one of your objectives (and then the next stop sign, and the one after that). It makes no difference how tiny your objective is as long as it motivates you to keep going.
What is the Best Nutrition Plan for Long Distance Running?
Whether it’s a 10k, half marathon, or full marathon, distance running is a high-calorie-burning endurance exercise that necessitates a well-balanced diet. You’ll need to change your nutrition plan or fuel depending on your body weight, the length of the run, and the intensity of your training program. In fact, timing your meals to fit the demands of the sport might be the difference between a good finish and a disappointing finish. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the main sources of energy. Here are some ideas and suggestions to help you get more out of your practice and competition:
Carbohydrates should make up most of your diet during rigorous exercise times of one to three hours each day. Every day, consume 2.7 to 4.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. A 140-pound runner, for example, would require 378 to 630 grams of carbohydrate each day. Choose whole-grain bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables, as well as fruit, low-fat milk, and yogurt, as high-quality carbs.
Protein is the primary component of muscle mass. Protein is required in the range of 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. A 140-pound runner, for example, would require 84 to 112 grams of protein per day. It’s crucial to understand that consuming more than the suggested quantity won’t help you gain muscle mass faster. Lean beef and pork, chicken and turkey, beans, almonds, eggs, and low-fat dairy products are all good protein sources.
Although there is no special fat prescription for runners, healthy fats should be included in everyone’s diet. Nuts and seeds, nut butter, avocado, and olive or canola oil are all good sources of healthy fats.
Diet Before, During, And After Long Distance Running
Eat three to four hours before a big training run or competition, if feasible. A low-fat supper with 250-300 grams of carbs and 35-40 grams of lean protein is ideal. This will guarantee that you have adequate nutrition while also giving your stomach time to empty before beginning your run. A turkey sandwich with baked chips and a side of fruit is one example. Eat food one to two hours before your run or race if you don’t have time to eat three to four hours before. Fruit, milk, cereal, yogurt, a tiny bagel with peanut butter, cheese, and crackers are all good options. If you have less than an hour before you exercise, liquids might be the best option, such as a sports drink or a low-fat liquid meal replacement.
Eat 40 to 70 grams of carbohydrate per hour if your training run is longer than one to two hours. Sports drinks, salt, potassium, and energy gels or chews with water are all options. Recover with carbohydrate and protein-rich snacks after practice. Protein drives muscle protein repair, whereas carbohydrates restore muscle glycogen lost during a long training run or race. Sandwiches with turkey or grilled chicken, low-fat chocolate milk, cottage cheese, and fruit, or cheese and crackers are all good options. If you expect to run the next day, begin your recuperation within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. If you’re taking a day off the next day, include recovery meals in your next meal.
Hydration Before, During, And After Long Distance Running
When it comes to drinking, it’s not just about what you’re drinking or how much you’re drinking; it’s also about when you’re drinking. Depending on where you are in your day and your run, your hydration strategy will change.
It’s critical to stay hydrated in the days preceding up to your long-distance run, especially if you’re performing a long run or race (more than 8 to 10 miles). If you empty significant amounts of pale urine at least six times a day, you’re well-hydrated. Water and non-alcoholic drinks should be consumed in large quantities. Alcohol not only dehydrates you, but it also makes it difficult to obtain a decent night’s sleep. Running with a hangover is not a smart idea since you will most likely be dehydrated when you begin. Make sure you’re hydrated before a run of any distance by drinking at least 6-10 ounces, depending on your weight, just before you start.
Drinking on the Run
During your run, you’ll need fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, so either bring it with you or make sure it’s available along the route (say, at a drinking fountain or by running a loop that takes you back to your home or car where you have extra water). Drinking tiny quantities of fluids often helps your body absorb it better, and you won’t get that sloshing sensation in your stomach. To remind you to drink, set a timer on your watch or phone. As a reminder, utilize landmarks or mile markers. According to one research, athletes who made a hydration strategy and documented it drank more than those who didn’t. It’s difficult to catch up on hydration if you fail to drink. To preserve energy and chill down, you may need to take a short walk.
Post-Run Hydration and Recovery
After your run, remember to rehydrate with water or a sports drink. Distance runners who do not drink enough fluids after their runs experience the consequences of dehydration hours later. After your run, weigh yourself. For every pound lost, consume 20 to 25 fluid ounces of water. You should maintain rehydrating if your urine is dark yellow after your run. It should be the hue of pale lemonade.
How Important is Rest and Recovery for Long Distance Running?
If you think you can do back-to-back training sessions or races without providing your body enough time to recover, you might prepare yourself for an injury that could put you on long bed rest. Rather, Include rest days just like other crucial parts of the training plan. Solid 8 hrs sleep is a must, or else you will face fatigue quicker during your training.
You wouldn’t go to the gym every day and do the bench press, would you? You understand the importance of muscle recovery, so you allow each muscle group to rest after a strenuous workout. Running is the same way. If you want your body to improve, you must allow it time to recuperate. Treat your hard runs (speedwork, threshold, or long run) as workouts while you’re just starting, and make sure to rest in between each one. Take a day off, go for a short cross-training session, or go for a fairly easy run at a conversational speed.
This is ok on a week-to-week basis. If you’re training for a long race, though, you’ll need a map that shows you how to increase your mileage over time as you get closer to the goal distance, as well as a nutrition plan to ensure you’re eating enough calories to keep your body running. Remember Lao-insightful Tzu’s words: “A thousand-mile journey begins with a single step.” Don’t be disheartened if you can only run for three or four minutes at the moment. In such a scenario, set a time limit of five minutes. Work your way up to number ten after you’ve reached it. Running longer distances in a day than most people drive isn’t the product of insanely tough training or an abnormal hunger for punishment (ok, maybe that one helps on race day). Instead, it’s the consequence of a series of little, consistent steps. You can’t help but get stronger, quicker, and more durable if you go out every day and challenge yourself a little bit.