How To Get Better At Long Distance Running: Red’s Top 5 Tips
Posted by Alex Clasper
Long distance running is mentally and physically very rewarding, however it does present its own unique challenges. What ‘long distance’ means, really varies depending on the individual. For example, for a sprinter, a 5K may be long distance, whilst for a marathon runner, something like a 10k is a short warm up. Whatever you count as ‘long distance’, the same principles for improving your running apply. These are our top tips for how to get better at long distance running so that you can achieve your goals, whilst enjoying yourself more in the process.
Balance Your Long Runs With Shorter Runs
Don’t feel like you need to do a half marathon every time you put your running shoes on. Knowing how to get better at long distance running, isn’t just about focussing on how far you’re running. The type and speed of the run is also important. It’s actually best to stick to one long run a week, and then do a series of shorter-mid length runs throughout the rest of the week. Not only will this prevent you from injuring yourself, shorter runs also allow you to train for time rather than distance, helping you to improve your speed. Not to mention, they also take up less of your leisure time!
Slow Your Pace & Add Miles Gradually
When tackling how to get better at long distance running it can be so tempting to push too far at the early stages. In reality however, this is only likely to cause injury, as your body isn’t physically prepared enough. Setting over-ambitious goals isn’t going to do you any favours in how to get better at long distance running.To err on the side of caution, the golden rule is to avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10%.If you’re starting off with small runs however, say 3 or 4 miles, you can safely increase your weekly mileage by approximately 20%. Being patient and playing the long game will pay off in making you a much better runner in the long term.
Get The Right Kit
In order for you to achieve the best results from your long distance running, it’s absolutely crucial that you’ve got the right kit, starting with a high quality pair of running shoes. They need to offer enhanced stability, durability and cushioning for long distances. In addition to this, high performance moisture wicking clothing is key. The Dri-Release™ technology that we use to make our performance t-shirts and long sleeve tops at Red, stops sweat from clinging to the fibres, keeping you cool and feeling fresh as you run. One of the most important long distance running tips for training during the winter is to layer up - Start with a base layer, like the performance t-shirt, add a top layer, and then a lightweight waterproof jacket depending on the weather.
Fuel Your Body Properly
We can’t talk about how to get better at long distance running without mentioning the importance of good nutrition. It’s a pairing as old as time, but exercise and nutrition really do go hand in hand when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. Before you run, fuel your body with easily digestible carbohydrates and some protein, such as bananas, sweet potato, toast or quinoa (always eating at least one or two hours before the run), and drink plenty of water. If you’re running for more than an hour, then make sure to have some easy-to-eat high energy snacks for the route, and carry a water bottle. This could include carbohydrate energy gels, a small handful of jelly sweets, or a banana. When refuelling after a run, focus on foods that are high in protein like eggs and salmon, as well as carbohydrates like sweet potato. Bananas are also good for replenishing your electrolyte levels, alongside plenty of water.
Consider The Mental Aspect
How to get better at long distance running isn’t all about the physical side of things. Your mental attitude is also key to building endurance in sport. Find what motivates you, whether that’s running with buddies or setting out a clear schedule with achievable goals for each week. One of the most practical long distance running tips for helping you stay positive is to map out a long run into manageable chunks. For example, a 15 mile run seems a lot more manageable when it’s thought of as three 5 mile stints. It’s all about finding out what motivates you to stay on track with your goals.