The 3 Step Formula How To Run Longer Distances
When it comes down to discovering how to run longer distances, I like to look at it as a 3 step formula. And this 3 step formula will help you run longer distances.
The first step is to adapt your body to running longer distances. The second step is to be a more consistent runner. And the third step is to become more resilient, as a runner, mentally. These three steps actually then deliver better endurance, which means that you can go for longer distances, and the bonuses, then you can start to work on not only going longer be able to go longer and faster.
So let’s have a look at these three steps more closely.
1.Adapt Your Body.
So the first thing you’ve got to look at is, you’ve got to adapt your body now this will depend very much on weekly mileage. But let’s assume that you can run 5k. But you want to be able to run, say, 10k, or even a half marathon. So what you have to do is communicate with your body.
This is what you’re going to do. The analogy I like to give is, and some of you might not remember this if you’re too young, But many years ago, when you bought a car or a motorcycle, you had to run it in. So for a certain amount of miles, you had to make sure that you didn’t go too fast in the car or the motorcycle to the engine had been running. So what tends to happen is runners go off too fast. They go too far too soon.
Obviously, the caveat here is that it will depend very much on your weekly mileage and your injury risk, but long distance is a very subjective thing; it will depend on your past performance.
So some tips.
Get A Good Training Plan.
Get a good training plan that you can work too, but remember that the training plan is the map, not the territory. So be flexible with the training plan.
Start steady with your running. So, if you’ve never run 10k before, get the training plan, and start at steady paces, give your body a chance to wake up to your making changes.
Recovery is key, particularly if you’re an older runner. So if you’re say over 40, then your body’s recovery will take longer, but all our bodies need
Suppose you want to achieve longer distances. Then part of adaptations is consistent. This isn’t the same thing as being perfect, but you have to be consistent. I see so many runners that will go out and do seven days running, get tired, and then not run for two weeks. What you are doing by doing that is sending mixed messages to your body; your body, in effect, is being confused by your actions.
You need to make a consistent programme that enables your body to recognise what you are doing. Your body wants to support you.
Here Are Some Tips To Stay More Consistent
Get A Running Buddy
So one of the things that can get you out the door more on a more regular level is finding a running buddy; if you can find somebody that shares the same goals as you, then this can be a great motivator on the days that you don’t want to get out the door. I think the only thing I would add to this is, be aware that you’re never gonna find a running buddy that can run the same pace as you. The likelihood is one of you is either going to be faster or slower. So, that can sometimes be a problem. Also, you’ve got to find somebody that has the same level of motivation as you. If they do not go consistently out the door, then the running buddy idea sometimes can fall flat on its face.
Join A Running Club
Joining a running club is a fantastic idea as well, obviously, with the present pandemic that’s been a problem but moving forward. Joining a running club and running with like-minded people is a major way to become a more consistent runner.
Use The Run Walk Method
Another way to be a more consistent runner is to make it easier on yourself. Suppose you’re struggling with getting to certain distances. So something I recommend very highly is the run, walk method by Jeff Galloway, where you actually walk, some of your run. Many people have a problem with this in the respect they feel it’s not running, but think of it as a strategy to be a link between your present running ability and the running ability you want to attain.
The thing is to use run, walk as a strategy. So, for example, you might decide that you’re going to run five miles, then you would perhaps walk for 60 seconds or two minutes, every mile, or you might decide that you’re going to run 10 miles, but then walk for two minutes or three minutes when you reach the halfway point. The strategy can be variable depending on your ability. What Run walk does, though, is it takes the strain off certain muscles in your leg because when you walk, you use different muscles in your leg than when you run. And also, it brings your heart rate down. So it gives your body a mini rest.
I even use run, walk-in some of my long runs of 15 and 20 miles. I use it as a strategy because for three reasons. One, I like to get my heart rate into a controllable area; two, I’ve quite often refuelled when I walk in my training sessions because I prefer it when running.
And three, it’s always good to have that strategy. If you’re going to do something, say like a marathon, because if you do have the unfortunate scenario where you bonk. Then you can utilise run, walk to get you around the marathon course.
Break Your Long Run into Bite-Size Chunks
Another great thing is to utilise is to chunk the run into bits. So, for example, if you’re running 10 miles. You’ve got obviously a halfway, but you can break it into quarter points as well. And this works better in the longer runs. So if you were, say, for example running 15 miles. It’s great to be mentally chunking down that run; I find it very useful on long runs to be looking at it and going right. What am I doing for this first three miles of the run so that I might start, say, from a 15-mile run, do the first five miles at a very, very easy pace? And then I will hit the second five miles, and I might decide that I’m going to do a quicker pace in the middle of that run, and it keeps the run interesting the whole time because you’re thinking the whole time.
Pacing Is Key
Pacing is key to all of this; when you get into long runs, people tend to go off too fast, as I’ve said earlier. It’s not that they think they are going off too fast, but they genuinely go with how their body feels. At the time, and of course, if you’ve got no other way of knowing how fast you should go, if this is a distance that you don’t do regularly, then your body is going to tend to go at speed it’s used to. So if you’ve been used to running, say, for example, five miles, and now you’re running 10 miles, then your body. If it goes off at the five-mile pace, then you might find that you get to six or seven miles, and you could be struggling depending on your ability.
So something to do with that is to get a running watch or some way to pace yourself. And in the early stages, always be very conservative with the pace you set yourself, whatever pace you think you can run; you’re much better to actually start 20/30 seconds slower per mile and see how that goes. You can, of course, increase that pace as your confidence, and as you start to run the distances more regularly, and you’ve got a catalogue of runs that give you the knowledge of what you can and can’t do.
It really is. In the early stages, being conservative in your running and learning what your body can and can’t do, instead of overestimating your ability and having a rather than pleasant experience, turns you off running longer distances.
So how do you build up mental resiliency mental strength? I call it the inner game of running. The longer the distance you want to run, the more the balance starts to swing towards the mental side of running, so I’m just going to share some tips that I would say will help with the inner game of running.
Part of the inner game of running is just that level of consistency that we’ve mentioned earlier, that gives you like a back catalogue of runs that if you’re having a bit of a tough time, then you know that you’ve got this in the bag, or at least you’re confident that you can get around.
Positive Self Talk
I find positive self-talk is really important or at least becoming aware of yourself talk. I don’t think many people are aware of they talk to themselves mentally. So, if you’re feeling down on the run, tune in to what are your thoughts about yourself. What are you saying about yourself? And could you have a better conversation, because what I often say to people is, would you say what you say about yourself to someone else? So, you know, if somebody else was having a hard time. Would you be as hard on them as you are on yourself? And this, in, in this respect. Quite often, runners are mentally running themselves down while running, telling themselves that they are getting tired.
Now, that might be the reality, the strategy I use is I check in with myself, and I accept certain realities. So, for example, I will sometimes accept that I am getting tired. There’s no point in being delusional. However, once you’ve accepted that situation, which by the way, is quite a relief from the resistance that sometimes goes on in our minds, then you would look at how you wish to frame that so for example, if I was getting tired in a run, then I might say, well I want, I know there is always more within me. Because, broadly speaking, there is more within most of us than we actually know. So yes, you can get tired, But then you start to say to yourself. There is more. There is always more within me, and amazingly, that can profoundly impact your mental attitude.
Smile While You Run
Also, things like this might sound a little bit crazy; smiling, moving, you’re facing that upward direction can have a huge impact on you mentally. And also, it may have a huge impact on the people that you pass on your run.
Keep Relaxed When You Run
Loosen your body while running, so sometimes, just for a second dropping your arms, making sure that your jaw isn’t clenched. Because when we get tired or we get tense, guess what, our body gets tense. So, sometimes loosening off slightly, just making sure that from the top of your head down to your feet, what areas are starting to tense up. And this is where sometimes a walk, run strategy. As mentioned earlier, it can be really beneficial because if then you walk, and stretch out certain areas of your body, then it’s like a little mini refresh for your body for the next part of the run, but this has huge impacts on you mentally it gives you a little boost.
Give yourself a little treat if it’s particularly if it’s a very long run. I take little things to eat when I’d go on a very long run, so 50 Miles plus. And sometimes, you know, if you get a little treat, you can take on a run with you. It’s amazing how that gives you a little lift.
Music is an exciting one because I don’t run with a lot of music these days, but I have found it a tremendous distraction, I suppose, when I’m running. All I would say is, almost to the point of contradiction here, I would say get used to not running with music as well. I think it does strengthen your mind not to have that distraction, and you also have to be aware that there are quite a few races these days. And I think this will increase over time where you cannot wear earphones when you run.
So if you’ve never run without earphones or music and then suddenly on race day, you have to run without music. That’s quite difficult for some people. So I would get used to running some of your runs without music. However, running with music or a podcast for many people can be a great distraction, helping with that. They’re running on the mental side.
How To Run Longer Distances Conclusions.
So what do all these three steps actually do for you? So, by adapting your body, running more consistently and building up mental resilience, what does it actually deliver.
By adapting your body by running more consistently, you start to build more endurance in your running. And guess what, when you build up more endurance in your running, then you’ll have the ability to run further. So once you can run further, then you have achieved. One of the main points of this blog post, which is how to be able to run longer.
But there are also added benefits because once you’ve built the foundations of building your endurance and being able to run longer, you can start to look at building more speed work into your running if you haven’t already started. Not only can you run for longer, but you will ultimately be able to run for longer and faster, which is quite often the next step for many runners.
I think something I should mention as well is that of strength training. Now, particularly if you are an older runner. We, unfortunately, start to lose our strength as we get older, into our from our 30s. So, this is something that many older runners should look at to build more strength into their running routine to help with their
It reduces the risk of injury and ultimately make you a faster runner, as well. To look at some form of strength training is ideal for many runners, but almost, I would go as far as to say essential for many older runners. It doesn’t have to take up many hours of your time: