How To Get Faster At Running Long Distance
Do you want to know how to get faster at running long distance?
Are you willing to accept what goes into answering that question?
Are you ready for some hard facts and blunt, honest information to get you to see your results become reality?
The fact that you have sought this answer in the first place is the biggest step in the success formula because you cannot be merely interested to get to the answer.
The committed find out for themselves.
The key to get faster at running long distance takes patience, commitment and the willingness to do what most will not.
There is no special trick one must use.
No secret sauce unless you want to use performance enhancing drugs and be a loser.
I hardly thing that is you.
There is more to life than running and my goal has always been to put into my goals everything that I have, regardless how long it takes.
Once I start, I don’t stop.
You have to be hungy – Les Brown
Long Slow Distance
I once heard a great quote by former world-record holder for the 800m, Sebastion Coe who answered the above question brilliantly.
Please keep in mind this is coming from one of the fastest runners in world history.
I have always believed that long slow running makes for long slow runners
We are talking about how to get faster at running long distance not on how many miles we can run in a week.
Quantity doesn’t produce fast running.
If you have as a goal to break 2:37:00 for the marathon which comes out to 6:00 pace for 26.2 miles you had better accept the fact that long runs at 7:30 pace isn’t going to get you there.
Mile repeats at 5:50 per mile isn’t either.
Long runs will have to encompass spending time at 6:10 or faster at varying distances within that effort and mile repeats will be south of 5:00 to get comfortable at that 6:00 pace.
26.2 miles is a long way and half-hearted effort will not cut the mustard.
I had to learn the hard way because for many years I, too, was caught up in the quantity fan club.
Run as many miles as possible and see how fast it would make me.
I got up to 142 miles a week at my highest and it made me feel flat.
I ran my current personal best for the marathon, 2:19:35, running 90 to 110 miles per week.
You will not learn how to learn how to get faster at running long distance by merely running at speeds that are not in line with your dream goal.
What are your goals?
Is it to run a marathon in under 4 hours?
Run a new personal best at the 5K distance?
Breaking a 4:20 mile?
Regardless what they are you are going to have to challenge your body’s energy systems.
I went from 2:40:02 to 2:19:35 by way of a radical new way of training and at the heart of it was running my long runs at a much faster pace per mile then I ever tried in the past.
The Long Run
The magic lies in the long run.
If you want to know how to get faster at running long distance you have to have an enormous level of patience.
Any sane person would quit this sport if they didn’t love what they were doing.
If you have no true love for making this goal a reality do not try.
Please bare in mind, I have been an extremely disciplined athlete my entire life so I am not going to be easy on you here.
You wanted the answer, the hard truth, of how to get faster at running long distance and I intend on delivering the answer the best way I know how.
I started running at the age of 15 and from the moment I started competing I was always motivated to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Failures and setbacks are part of the game so don’t expect getting faster at long distances is going to be a cake walk.
It will challenge you.
You will have days when you are out on the roads wondering what in the world you are doing.
No one is going to hold your hand through this.
What Must Be Done
The first and most important piece of advice I can share with anyone seeking the question of how to get faster at running long distance is to write down what it is you want to achieve.
What is your goal pace?
It is to hold 6:00 mile pace for the marathon distance?
Be prepared to do a lot of speed work at 4:50 to 5:00 mile pace and long runs at 6:20 pace or better.
You almost have to be obsessed with this and there is nothing wrong with being obsessed about your goals.
Tough goals require being a little obsessed.
People who like comfort and safety will label those obsessed as being ‘unrealistic’ or even ‘greedy’.
Stick to your game plan, write your goals down, make it your duty to succeed and don’t be easy on yourself about it.
I remember while I was a 2:40:02 marathoner with personal bests of 1:07:06 for the half and 51:53 for 10-miles doing long runs way outside of my comfort zone.
How does anyone go from holding 6:06 mile pace to aiming to hold 5:25 mile pace (2:22:00 marathon).
An obsesses, fully committed individual.
You have to visualize what you want as if you have already achieved it – Nathan Pennington, founder of RunDreamAchieve.com
I can remember doing 20-22 mile long runs at 5:45 pace and every 4th mile I dropped a 4:50 mile then got back into the 5:40’s per mile pace.
There is only so much long runs at 1 minute per mile slower then you are focusing on racing at is going to do for you.
We’re talking about running faster at long distances, not leisurely strolls.
Anyone can run easy. It takes art and commitment to run fast and commitment hurts folks – Nathan Pennington
There is nothing easy about running fast for long periods of time.
It takes guts, the willingness to risk and the not being afraid to fail.
I failed numerous times before I ran 1:07:06 for the half-marathon and 2:19:35 for the marathon but the willingness to get better was always there.
There was never a doubt in my mind that I would ultimately break my short term goal of running under 2:22:00 for the marathon.
Do What Others Won’t
So you want to know how to get faster at running long distance?
How long are you willing to endure and persist to get what you want?
I don’t know what your personal goals are but the fact that you are reading this and have visited RDA tells me a lot because winners come to my site.
Average is not welcome here and anyone who cares about their health, other people, who want more out of life are by no means average.
Average training gets average results.
I don’t ask for you to be a national or world-class athlete to get my attention.
What I do ask if you take what I write and do something with it.
Spectators pay, players get payed – Grant Cardone
You have to be willing to the type of training most other people are not willing to do.
Everyone wants to run faster but it takes a special kind of commitment to do the type of training need to run faster at longer distances.
No one cares if you are up at 5am putting in the work before the sun comes up.
You have to care.
No one cares if I post on Facebook what my mile splits were on the track.
It is pointless.
I got past that garbage only about 2 years ago.
I would post my splits, workouts as if so doing would get me closer to my goals.
They didn’t and I stopped doing it.
My training is a mystery and most haven’t a clue what I am doing, what races I am going to run and where I am focused on bettering my marathon best at in 2016.
I have friends at the top of the running world, some of the top American marathoners, all of whom I respect and are friends with, who cannot go a day without posting their workouts on social media.
The best piece of advice I think I have ever received was from the last American female to win the Boston Marathon, Lisa Rainsberger.
Lisa won the 1985 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:34:04 and has a personal best of 2:28:15 when she won the Chicago Marathon.
Lisa told me,
Speak softly and carry a big stick
Do you want to want to know how to get faster at running long distance?
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Put in the work.
Get off of social media as it pertains to your training.
You can share what you are doing if you wish but the bottom line is this.
If you want to get faster at running long distance you need to let the main thing be the main thing and that is to train to get faster, do the necessary workouts, not boast about what you did on social media.
No one cares.
Sure, you may get some likes or a ‘that is awesome’ or ‘wow’ or ‘you are fit’.
The race itself doesn’t care how many likes you received on Facebook.
When you get to mile 20 in the marathon and you are falling off pace and know you have to pick it up 5 seconds per mile to make it to your goal do you think your ‘like’ numbers are going to matter?
You need to be razor sharp on where your focus is being placed and it better not be social media.
It needs to be on the roads, track and treadmill and at paces much faster then you intend on racing at.
The Hard Facts
Listen, regardless what people say.
You need to rely more on your work ethic and willingness to do the necessary training at the necessary paces then on talent.
I wasn’t born with talent.
I started running marathons in 2002 and didn’t run my best marathon until 2007 but it really took me from 1992 to 2007 to run my best time.
15 years of sacrifice and all out commitment.
I am nothing special but I can tell you this.
Anyone willing to do anything for 15 years is eventually going to do it better then someone who does it for a few months.
I ran the mile in 5:30 the first time I ran it and fell in my brother’s arms at the finish line as if I had just broken the 2:20 marathon barrier.
There was nothing left so please don’t expect to rest on your laurels with the level of ability you have.
I had to do everything in my power to run that mile in 5:30 that day.
It took nearly a decade to run 26.2 miles consecutively at 10 seconds faster per mile and put them all back to back.
Average training wouldn’t have gotten me that results.
How committed are you?
The runner who relies on talent and half-asses his or her effort is going to get destroyed on the track and road by the athlete 100% committed to his or her goals.
The athlete putting in massive action with minimal talent will outsmart and outperform the talented runner who is only working at 30% effort.
I know because I am living proof of it.
I wasn’t born a 2:19 marathoner and the morning I ran that time I was a 2:40 marathoner competing against and pushing guys that were far better then me.
Kenyan and Russians with personal bests of 2:08 to 2:12 to be exact.
The work had been done and I endured long enough to answer the question to anyone who asks me such as how to get faster at running long distance.
They know I have failed miserably along the way.
They know I am humble enough to admit my own mistakes of having gone out far too fast for my own good in past races and learned from it.
How can you expect to look up to someone who hasn’t walked in your shoes?
Who doesn’t know what it feels like to DNF or run 20 minutes slower then they are capable of running?
Running fast isn’t about talent alone.
It is about doing an activity long enough, aggressively enough to get results.
This isn’t an overnight success sport.
I talk a lot about entrepreneurship here for a reason.
It is the closest thing I have encountered to long distance running.
Most Don’t Care And Those Who Do Get Results
I have had this site for 4 years now at the time of this writing.
Do you think most of the time while writing all of these posts people have cared?
The love for it kept me going and I know the internet doesn’t sleep.
It doesn’t bitch and complain like we do and I know a post I wrote years ago may be read by you or someone else that could drastically impact that persons life.
Your love has to drive you to get faster, want more out of life and live differently.
You have to do be willing to put in extensive workouts at or far below the paces you want to race and compete at.
This is the only way you are going to answer the question of how to get faster at running long distance.
There is no easy way.
Running fast is an art and anyone can do it but not everyone is committed.
You can just be all in for a few weeks or months and expect to get by on that.
The committed will keep training hard for years, endlessly perfecting their skill until that golden moment comes when opportunity falls on their lap.
99.99% of the time no one could give two shits what I write about it.
They’ll salivate on how to run faster but making more money to free them from debt, their mortgage and leverage time is simply not their interest.
If I could have a penny for every runner who told me over the years that they wish they could be in Kenya training or had more time to train I would be a billion by now.
Do something to get that time back then.
The facts are most people don’t live the way they truly want to live and most don’t run as fast as they truly want to run because they are settling.
You have to ramp up your hunger and do more.
Running long slow miles just for the sake of telling your friends and family you ran 50 to 100 miles last week isn’t going to make you faster.
Do you want to minimize slowing down in a race?
Spend time training at heart rates of 165 and higher.
Focus less on quantity and more on quality.
Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck?
Start changing the way you think and start taking massive action because I can guarantee you this, most won’t.
Paradigms, habits control most people and most people are far too comfortable and reserved.
The greatest risk today is not taking one and most have the employee mindset of safe and secure.
News flash folks.
Jobs are no longer safe and secure and I hate to hurt your feelings.
I don’t write comments like this to disrespect you or anyone else that works as an employee but your time is precious and most people who work jobs are reliant on them to pay their bills.
Jobs are safe and secure but like running fast, you have to take some calculated risks to live and run like people at the top do.
What are you doing to leverage it?
I am not here to make you feel good but to challenge you to take greater actions toward your goals.
Running faster at longer distances is much like entrepreneurship.
You have to want this more then the guy or gal to your left or right because he or she is most likely not as determined as you.
I didn’t earn an Olympic Trials marathon standard by way of running easy and just going through the motions.
I couldn’t complain that mile repeats at 4:46 per rep at 6400ft hurt and to back off the pace.
Do you want the answer of how to get faster at running long distance?
Do what I have instructed in this message.
Do what you and I know damn well most people are not going to get off their asses and do, work.
You were not born to be average and have far more then you currently even realize in you.