Want to find out how to get better at long distance running? Training to be a long distance runner can sometimes feel exhausting and when you don’t meet your goals quickly enough, it’s easy to feel like giving up. Luckily, here is a list of our tips for how to get better at long distance running by improving your attitude and endurance!
Don’t Give Up!
It’s important to remember that improving your ability in long distance running takes time, practice and patience. You need to improve your endurance and aerobic capability.
Make sure you stretch properly before and after your run to prepare your muscles, and don’t be afraid to pause in the middle of the run to stretch out your muscles too!
Invest in a Pair of Proper Running Trainers
Poor quality, poor fitting shoes can hurt your feet and make it harder for you to maintain pace and distance whilst running. Getting proper footwear is essential in how to get better at long distance running.
No matter what your budget, you can find specifically designed trainers to help maximise your long distance running performance. Check out this list by Runner’s World for 2018’s best running shoes for men and women.
Follow the “10-minute rule”
Runner’s World recommends that one of the Golden Rules of running is to start every run with 10 minutes of walking and slow running, and do the same to cool down.
This is to allow your body sufficient time to warm up and avoid injury, which is especially important if you want to run long distances.
Use a ‘Couch-to-5k’ running app
If you’re quite new to running with a low fitness level, consider using an app to help you build up your endurance and go from not being able to run far at all to being able to run 5k. This is one of the best tips to improve your distance running ability, as it allows you to build your endurance without pushing yourself too far and wanting to give up. Monitoring your progress is also a great motivator to get better at long distance running.
This ‘Couch to 5k’ running app promises great results and the ability to run 5k after dedicating just 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week for 9 weeks. If you fancy something a bit more fun and silly, bring The Walking Dead to life and download the Zombies, Run! app, which has a Couch to 5k app for building your endurance and another app for logging your runs when you are feeling stronger.
The NHS also provides a free Couch to 5k podcast which you can download to listen while you run, and a personal trainer will motivate you through your runs.
Mix and Match your Runs
It’s very easy to just fall into the trap of putting your trainers on and going for a run without any routine or goals for that run – but that could mean that you see less progress. In order to progress your speed and endurance for long distance running, it is best to mix up your routine with weekly long runs, speed workouts, tempo runs and easy runs, so you are training your body in different ways each time whilst getting stronger.
This is one of the best tips to get better at long distance running, as it trains your body in all the aspects that you need strength in order to run long distances with confidence.
Don’t Neglect Your Strength Training
Developing muscle in your legs to support your runs is just as important as being able to handle the endurance aspect. Strength, especially in your knees, can help you to get better at long distance running!
If you are unsure exactly what exercises are best to improve your running ability, there is lots of guidance on routines that runners should be doing on Pinterest and or fitness sites such as Fitness Blender.
Run Indoors and Outdoors
There is a lot of debate about whether it is best to run indoors on a treadmill or outdoors.
One of the key pros of running on a treadmill is that you can adjust the incline to challenge yourself and push your fitness, which may not be possible to simulate outside if you live in a flat area. You also don’t have to worry about the weather being bad.
However, you don’t learn how to maintain your own pace on a treadmill, and it can be a lot more boring and demotivating to run staring at a wall than is to run outside, surrounded by scenery. This is important to consider for long distance running, as it can feel easier to run for longer outside than it can on a treadmill.
To maximise your training for long distance running, it is probably best to try a bit of both types of running, in order to train different skills.
Watch your diet
Food is fuel that we put into our bodies to enable us to get through the day. Eating the correct foods before and after your long distance running means that you will have more energy to tackle a long run successfully! This is a great start on how to get better at long distance running.
Some of the best foods for runners are bananas, berries, oats, peanut butter, coffee, dark chocolate and wholegrain pasta.
BBC Good Food also has a selection of meal plans for what to eat on your training and rest days.