Sidenote from Coach Jen: Who knew that this would be one of my top blog posts with JenRulon.com. It’s crazy because I HATED running growing up, but then I got good at it! And that is why I am floored that this is one of my top blog posts! AND I have an Endurance Running Program to guide runners to a 10k, 13.1 miles, and a Marathon! So head to my store today and grab it! AND, for Global Running Day, use the code GRD22 until THIS Sunday, June 6th!
Long-distance running is physically demanding but very rewarding. However, it can also take some getting used to if you’re starting. This article will provide you with 10 top tips that will ease you into long-distance running when ‘you’re a beginner.
1 – Invest In Some High-Quality Running Gear
If you want to stay comfortable, avoid injuries, and maximize your running performance, buying some high-quality running clothing and shoes is essential. Make sure you invest in some well-ventilated, moisture-wicking clothing that you can wear while you run to keep you cool and dry. Also, you want to buy some high-quality running shoes that will support your feet, protect against injuries, and improve your overall running form.
2 – Increase Your Mileage Gradually
When ‘you’re just getting started with running, it can be tempting to try and increase your mileage substantially every time you hit the road. However, by doing this, ‘you’re going to set yourself up for injuries and harm your long-term running performance. So no matter how eager you are, make sure you increase your mileage by no more than 10% each time you run.
3 – Pace Yourself
Many people who are new to running start out WAY too fast. They quickly find that they ‘can’t maintain this pace for the total distance and have to either walk the rest of the length or cut their race short. To avoid this, keep a slower pace than ‘you’re comfortable with for your first few runs. Once you get used to running longer distances at this pace, gradually increase your pace. Then find a challenging speed that you can maintain for the entire run.
4 – Rehydrate Regularly
Many new people to running believe they only need to rehydrate when they feel thirsty. However, running causes you to lose a lot of fluids, and these need to be replenished, even when you ‘don’t feel particularly thirsty. So to avoid dehydration, you should aim to drink around 500ml of water for every hour you’re out running.
5 – Refuel Regularly
Running is a high energy activity and blasts through up to 500 – 1,000 calories per hour, but it also depends on how much you expend (different blog!). So if ‘you’re going to be running long distances, you need to supply your body with plenty of fuel to meet this caloric demand. Make sure ‘you’re consuming between 30g and 60g of fast-acting carbohydrates. Our goal is to try different forms of CHO. You can try dried fruit, energy bars, energy gels, or sports drinks for every hour that you run after the first 30 minutes.
6 – Listen To Your Body
Long-distance running is very strenuous and places a lot of pressure on your body. Therefore, you need to pay attention to any signs that your body gives you. You may need to slow down on your run or take a day off from training if you start to feel any significant pain or discomfort during or after your runs.
7 – Keep Yourself Motivated
Running long distances can seem monotonous, and without the proper motivation, ‘it’s easy to get bored and discouraged. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep your motivation levels high during long runs. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to put together an inspirational playlist that you can listen to while you run. You can also try changing your running route regularly and running with friends.
8 – Give Yourself Fitness Rewards
Fitness rewards are an excellent tool for ensuring that you continuously improve when training for a long-distance run and involve rewarding yourself for achieving specific fitness goals. These fitness goals could include:
1. Running a set number of miles in a week
2. Reaching a certain pace
3. Establishing a new distance record
The rewards can be anything you choose! By incorporating fitness rewards into your long-distance running training program, ‘you’ll feel much more motivated to run! I always love a new pair of shorts from lululemon; OR what about grabbing a ROAD ID for yourself to make sure you are safe!
9 – Stretch & Strengthen
We know running is necessary to accomplish a half marathon or a marathon. However, if you want to perform at your peak, ‘you’ll also need to incorporate stretching and strength training into your regime. By stretching regularly, you can lower your injury risk and prevent the onset of soreness after your run. Likewise, you can maximize your running speed and boost your endurance by implementing strength training into your routine.
Sidenote: Check out my book, “Rulon Rules: Strength Training and the Triathlete,” on Amazon.com.
10 – Don’t Run Every Day
When you start to see consistent improvements, you may want to go out for a run every day. However, getting plenty of rest is just as important as training regularly, and for the best results, you need to strike a healthy balance between the two. To do this, aim to have three days per week where you ‘don’t do any running and keep physical activity to a minimum.
I hope this article helps to make your introduction to the world of long-distance running a little easier. Now all ‘that’s left to do is get started and complete your very first long-distance run. So grab that Endurance Running Plan today!
Jeff was completing his 11th Ironman Triathlon at IMFL!