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Long Distance Running Tips - Six Tips You Need to Go the Distance

10k running tips

Nowadays, long distance running is becoming a more and more popular hobby.

People are in need of long distance running tips.

And with good reason. Obesity is on the rise and you want to stay fit and healthy.

And you may, just like me and many others, have found out about some of the benefits of running.

The calming, meditative effects for example.

They make running just as much about your mind and soul as it is about your body.

To be able to successfully run long distances, you need some dedicated training and some useful distance running tips.

distance running tips
Water, always good for the long
distance runner.
Running is usually not more than a hobby or a way to stay healthy. But, want to achieve more? Want to run long and want to improve your running performance?

Then here are some helpful distance running tips that you can use.

Distance Running Tip #1: Wear Quality Gear

Now, don't start breaking the bank to get the latest and greatest gadgets and tools.

But when you go beyond a once-a-week jog around the park, you will want to invest in some quality running gear.

Items to consider are:

  • Running Shoes. It is very important to wear the right running shoes for your feet. They help prevent many running injuries.

  • Running Apparel. You will want to get some moisture-wicking running apparel. Moisture-wicking materials can help you avoid chafing problems. Good running socks can help you prevent blisters and sores.

    Running socks, shorts and shirt are essentials. Depending on weather you may need to look into running tights or pants, long-sleeve shirts and/or jackets. Check out the running apparel link above as it will provide you with reviews of all kinds of running apparel. 

  • Running Gear. Depending on your wants as much as your needs you may want to look into some useful running gear, like running sunglasses, heart rate monitors or an interval timer.

Interested in any of the above? Click any of the pics below to get some more information:

running shoes running apparel running gear

if you see me collapse...

Distance Running Tip #2: Start Slow

Planning to run long distances? Then what you need to focus on first is your pace. You cannot simply increase your speed, or run at too high speed for too long.

Instead, run slowly at first. Build up your distance. For any distance upto a half marathon you can aim to cover more than the race distance in training. Yes, that's right, when I train for a half marathon I regularly run further than that distance.

Why do I do that?
Well, it will help my body get used to that distance. It will help increase my stamina. When I can successfully cover the distance (and more), I can then use my increased stamina to run that distance faster.

When you are a beginning runner, chances are that you are going too fast.
In fact it is the number one mistake I see beginning runners make. In fact, it is a mistake made so often that I don't even know what the number two mistake is... :)

You have to keep in mind that long distance running is a totally different thing. Distance first, speed comes second!

Also see the following pages for more explanations about why slow / easy running is so good for you:

easy running running for fitness

There is a place for faster running in your training as well. But first create a solid base, then work on the speed, not the other way around.

Distance Running Tip #3: Increase Your Mileage Safely

When you want to run long distance, you need to build up your mileage.

You can't go from running 2 miles to running 20 miles in one week.
That's pretty straightforward.

You need some kind of gradual build up. But how do you do that?
There are some rules of thumb. The 10% rule is a popular one.

It states that you can't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. E.g. run 10 miles this week, then you can run 11 miles next week (10% increase).

The rule is a bit too general for my liking.
Get used to listening more to what your body is telling you. This means that sometimes you have to stay at a certain level and sometimes you'll be able to push on by more than 10%.

The key is to listen to your body and react to aches and pains. See more about this on the increasing mileage safely page.

Distance Running Tip #4: Get Enough Rest, Take Breaks

distance running tips
Get enough rest and reap the benefits

New to this "running thing"? Then you may get tired easily and your muscles may ache as well. This is normal as your body hasn't adjusted to long distance running yet. Hence, don't deprive yourself of the hard/easy principle. After a hard day, do an easy day.

It is a good idea to give your body enough rest because your muscles are still not used to running long distances and they need to recuperate as well. Take note that your body generally needs 36-48 hours to recuperate of a day of hard training.

Now, what is an easy day? It can be anything.

It could be complete rest, it could be some cross-training or even an easy recovery run, short and slow.

The idea of the easy day is to give the running muscles a decent break.

So, it does not have to be complete rest.

Distance Running Tip #5: Hydrate and Eat Well

distance running tips

Take a holistic approach to your running and fitness.

Now, doing all the running required to become fitter and faster is great.

But you need to make sure other elements of your life are in sync with this.

This means eating and drinking healthily.

And getting enough rest via sleep and recovery.

Check out more about healthy eating on the runner's diet page.

About eating and drinking during running.....

Water is vital to efficient running. It is important that you are well hydrated during long distance running.

Even if you don't feel thirsty during your run, get used to drinking a few mouthfuls every 20 minutes on your long runs, provided your long runs go well over 60 minutes or when it is very hot outside.
Running for 90-120 minutes or more? Then you need to bring a beverage that contains electrolytes to keep your body well hydrated.

Furthermore on really long runs, e.g. when preparing for running a marathon it is recommended that you eat at least 30-60 grams of quick burning carbohydrates every hour to give you fuel for running.

Remember, you need to choose fast or quick burning carbs over the slow burning carbs. This is because fast burning carbs can get into the blood stream rapidly, thus, providing your body with the needed energy.

After your running it is always good to replenish with some water and a tasty snack to refuel your muscles and help stimulate recovery.

Maybe the single largest benefit of long distance running is guilt-free snacking afterwards...!

Distance Running Tip #6: Get Motivated

The abovementioned distance running tips won't work if you don't have the right attitude and mindset. The importance of having the right motivators can't be underestimated.

Why are you running? Think deeply. What is it that you want from this?

Is it to lose some weight? If so, how much and by when? Is it to run a marathon? If so, when are you running it? Is it to set a time goal on a challenging distance? Whatever it is, make sure you know for yourself what you want to achieve and why this is important to you.

Only if this desire comes from within you will be able to keep things going when the weather is bad, you are tired or are having a bad day at work.

So, set some clear attractive goals and follow it up with the right actions!

These distance running tips are just the top of the iceberg.
There are plenty more tips to improve.

Depending on what you are after or what your starting level is you may want to have a look at the following pages:

improve running interval running training running technique

barefoot running

Distance Running Tips

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