How To Run Longer
This has been a question I have been asked numerous times over the years, how to run longer?
How can I get better at running for longer periods of time without having to stop?
To improve as a runner, how to run longer should be a question you can never stop asking yourself, you have to gradually extend the distance you are running.
You don’t start a strong training block by sprinting, fartleks and hill reps. You always start by building your endurance and stamina by running mileage.
It is a gradual process and to be honest, not always fun at first. It takes an enormous amount of energy to build up your fitness and a great deal of patience.
Why are the Kenyan runners so good?
Do you really think it is specifically because they were just born to run?
There is no question about it, there are some extremely talented athletes in our sport, but far too often the media and what we read, do not convey the enormous amount of work that is never seen or recognized.
The public only sees their winning efforts and smooth stride on television. It is not specifically that these runners and other athletes from their respective countries are simply better than you or I.
It is due to the fact that they have spent a great deal of time doing speed sessions and running long.
Long distance running hardens your body to handle the discomfort of a race effort.
You not only gain fitness, but on a physiological level, you are building more red blood cells which will help transport more oxygen to your working muscles.
Your body supercompensates over time and grows stronger than we you first started training.
I dropped 21 minutes off my marathon going from a 2.43 PR to 2.19 based on focusing more on running longer. It isn’t only focusing on the length of the run but the pace at which you conduct the run.
There are a few things that you have to consider to run longer and drop time off your racing performances.
You Have To Have a Vision And Not Sway From It
I say this because running success is not overnight.
Your fitness will not come initially and your vision has to drive you.
You may not see results in a week, two weeks, a month but with patience and focusing on lengthening the distance of your runs, fitness is going to come, it always does.
Your vision cannot be strained by anything. The quickest way to make gains in this sport, to drop your ‘so called’ fixed ability level, is running long and being consistent.
There is no magic formula.
Running longer demands your willingness to work at in day in and day out for a long period of time, only than will it become automatic.
This cannot be stated enough.
One week you are running 5 miles for your long run and 4 weeks down the road it can be 10 miles. You never want to lose your enthusiasm for this on account of not running as far as you would like early on.
We all, regardless of ability level, have to start somewhere.
I have been competing for over 20 years and running professionally for the past 4 years, when I take time off, my long run is no more than 7 miles the first week back and I am a veteran in the sport.
I never rush into fitness and neither should you.
Break Your Long Run Into Smaller Segments
This is a great mental technique to lesson the stress you may feel trying to run father than you ever have. If you get your long run out to 18 miles, break the run up into 3, 6-mile segments.
Running longer and the question how to run longer is much less mentally draining when you break the distance you run up into smaller sections.
I have done this several times.
I do this because my long run is the hardest workout I do, by breaking my long run up to smaller runs within the long run, the effort is broken up.
Drop Time By Running Longer But At Moderate Effort
‘Moderate’ pace is going to have different meaning for different people.
I will never advocate running long runs at anything other then relaxed pace in the early stages of an athlete’s build up. I jog my first few weeks during my longer runs.
Pace is completely irrelevant, as should be your recovery runs. The fitter you become from the build up of mileage and the lengthening of your long runs, the pace can be increased.
I wear my heart rate monitor during my long runs.
I always run my long runs early in my training block at a relaxed effort (135-50BPM) and when I have built up enough fitness I gradually increase the pace that I run them in and increase the heart rate I will maintain for the entire distance.
This will teach your body to not only handle lactic acid building up in muscles but will increase your ability to hold race pace for longer and drop your times.
How to run longer is a question you have the power to answer. Read a great book, search articles and posts on the subject, send me a personal message or leave a comment if you wish. Your best runs are ahead of you.