Running is one of the best cardio workouts you can include in your fitness routine to help you stay in shape. Although any exercise program can help you get in shape, a fitness routine that includes running long distances can be incredibly beneficial to your health. One of the biggest challenges for any runner, whether a beginner or veteran, is increasing their distance. If you wish to make your runs longer, use these 6 tips to help you extend your distance.
Slow down your pace- If you want to run longer distances, you will want to conserve energy so that you can spread it out for a longer period of time. Taking your speed down a couple of notches will allow you to add distance to your runs with the same amount of energy you would put into a “normal” distance. It is hard to keep your regular pace up for a longer run, so try adding about two minutes onto your usual pace. As you tackle and complete longer runs, you can then begin to increase your speed again.
Build up gradually- Jumping right into a much longer running routine can run the risk of injury and burnout. To avoid risks like overtraining and hurting yourself, you should slowly add milage to your runs rather than tackling a much longer run immediately. Try adding increments of one and a half miles at a time to build up your stamina for longer distances. There is such a thing as the 10 percent rule in the running world- never increase your weekly milage more than 10 percent from the previous week. Create a training schedule to run longer distances so you can do it in a healthy and manageable way.
Break it up- You can still do a longer distance run without running the entire time. To ensure that you are tackling an increased fitness regimen in a healthy way, you can decide to break up your run. This can help you conserve energy as well as accomplish your goal while keeping your body in good condition. Break up your long distance run with walking, slower and faster paces, or stopping to stretch. If you feel tightness or fatigue, don’t push yourself even farther, take care of your body and make sure that you will last for your entire long distance.
Add strength training- A lot of runners and cardio-lovers aren’t aware of the benefits that including strength training can do. Two or three short strength training sessions a week can help you build more muscle mass and make you stronger overall. Strength training conditions your body to better deal with the stresses of running, and you will be able to run longer distances without getting fatigued or tired. Incorporating strength training sessions into your fitness routine will benefit you a lot as a runner.
Find your motivation- Every runner knows that tackling long distances (or any distance for that matter) is just as much a mental battle as it is physical. Running long distances can not only get boring, it can become daunting and overwhelming. If you want to run longer distances, you will have to increase your mental strength and overcome the mind over matter dilemma. When you begin to think about stopping during your long runs, you will want to be equipped with whatever is a powerful motivational tool to keep you going. Whether you make a playlist with your favorite songs, have a list of inspirational mantras to repeat to yourself, or find a route with beautiful scenery, finding your personal motivation is key in accomplishing longer distance running.
Rest is key- Taking care of your health and your body is number one in any exercise regimen. If you wish to build up your stamina and run longer distances, you have to allow your body the proper amount of rest. Taking one day a week to fully relax and let your body recuperate can mean the difference between reaching your goals and hurting yourself so they are pushed back. In addition to rest days, you should also remember that every run doesn’t have to be an intense one that leaves you exhausted. Some of your runs can be light and casual to help relieve your body of stress. Longer distance running is about going farther, but it is also about better control and form that you will only learn through experience and body awareness while running.