Tips for Long Distance Running
It’s natural for beginners of any new feat to start off small. This includes running, where most people start by running a couple of miles twice a week, eventually fitting it into their schedules every other day. Another next step would be to extend the distance of your run, which sometimes seems to be the more intimidating step. But don’t fret because I’m here to give you my 5 best tips on how to tackle longer runs when it’s still uncharted territory!
1. Focus your mind.
Taking the first step from going from a couple miles per session to 10 miles can be daunting. Before psyching yourself out and just staying in your short-distance comfort zone, take a few moments to think about your run. I mean visualize it: your route, your strong finish, and your positive energy. You may think it’s crazy, but mentally preparing for a long run can help your confidence and get you in your groove.
2. Keep your run interesting.
Visualizing your run doesn’t have to be the same monotonous routine each time. Changing your route can help for this. Keep things interesting and explore other running routes around your area! Switching up the routes with different sceneries can distract you from the mental challenge of long-distance running.
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3. Use the right gear.
Short distance runners can get away with not having the necessary gear, but when it comes to long distance, try not to skimp on the quality of your gear. I learned the hard way around the 8 mile mark of my 15 mile run, when I had to stop every 5 minutes to pull my loose ankle socks on top of my blistering heels so they wouldn’t slide down into my shoes. I recommend buying a good pair of sweat/moisture wicking socks, a durable pair of running shoes, and clothes that won’t chafe. Trust me, it’ll save you from being mentally frustrated or ruin the flow of your run.
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4. Follow the 10% rule.
While you might be used to running 7 minute miles when you run the 4 mile loop at the park, the truth is it might be hard to keep up that pace when you’re running longer distances. Instead, focus on gradually increasing your pace, and most importantly, set realistic goals! A good rule of thumb is to never increase your distance or decrease your time by more than 10% from the previous week, or you might put too much stress on your body.
5. Break it into digestible sections.
Something that helped me was to change my perspective of my running distance. Because a lot of the beginning battles revolve around the mental aspect of running, I realized that tackling this may help in the long run (pun intended!). If you are planning on running 12 miles, think of it as 3 chunks of 4 mile runs, or 2 chunks and a third victory set. A digestible combination can help motivate you to try long distance running!
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