Extend Your Long Run To An Hour


how to avoid hitting the wallLong run

How does running get more manageable and your long run easier?

The biggest struggle for runners, including myself, when we take time off is to work our way back into fitness. I won’t lie. There is nothing fun about it.

It is one thing if you are a seasoned runner who has been running for years but what if your brand new, overweight, or have never run a day in your life?

Running is one of those sports that no one can truly learn to love unless you spend sometime really giving it a shot.

Get in the routine

The hardest thing is getting back into a routine, it takes me a good 4 weeks to get back into the mindset of loving running again after I take just 2 weeks off.

I am even more in the hole right now because of a little ‘job’ I have to accomplish for the next 9 months that is taking me away from some big races I had planned on running this year.

The trick is getting the rust off your shoulders and get back into great shape. We all need a dose of motivation sometimes and you have to find ways to motivate and fuel your goal.

Stay Positive

Have you seen the movie ‘what about Bob’? Have you caught yourself saying similar mental montra’s to get you fired up,

I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful… I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful… I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful…

Chances are it might have not helped, especially when you are first getting back into it.

A 5-minute run may seem like a chore but let me tell you, don’t lose heart over it. Give it time. This is SO important. If you have to think like Bob Wiley so be it…

 baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps…

Baby steps?

The idea of taking baby steps to get your endurance built up, as ironic as it sounds, is all about taking baby steps until you have finally built up the strength and stamina to get fit enough where running is actually fun.

It is a hassle to get out for a 5-10 minute run but don’t forget the small steps along the way.

I know how you feel and can relate to people who are just struggling to do a 5-minute run and I understand 3 hour marathoners struggling with thoughts that they don’t have the ability to break 2.40, 2.30, 2.20.

Don’t believe the talent myth. It can be done, so how can we progress to an hour for a long run from struggling to run for 5 minutes?

Find your motivationbenefits of running in the morning

I simply get my iPod out because I know when I am out of shape, music is my answer to override having to hear my every step early on.

If married, go out with your spouse.

Join a great team!

I have been going out for walks with my wife talking about how fast I want to run next year.

It takes some steam off and helps me to remain motivated to get back into shape.

Your 5 to 10 minute jog may seem hard now but finding a way to keep motivated and getting out the door on a daily basis is going to build up a great deal of strength to extend your run out to 60 minutes.

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Consistency is so important.

Running with music, especially early on, can make a 10-minute run feel much easier and help your body in producing endorphins that will make longer runs feel much shorter than they actually are. Baby steps!

Be Overly Patient

Do a 10-minute run every day with one 20-minute run and build from that. The beautiful thing about the sport is running is cumulative.

The miles you ran years ago are still in your legs and you can only build strength from every run you do.

The biggest hurdle for most people is the early stages of training is you feel as though you’ll never get into shape.

It is a normal feeling.

Extending your runs from a 5 to 10 minute run to 60 minutes simply takes patience and there is a domino effect to every run you do.

Your willingness to get out the door everyday is huge.

You do that consistently and I promise you, you will be doing 60 minute runs and they will feel easier than the 10-minute jogs you did early in your build up.

The body will adapt to any stress you place on it but you don’t expect instant results. Be patient.

run a half marathon in 2 hoursOne Run At A Hard Pace

It could be a ten minute run early on. You warmup for 2 and a half minutes, then run at a harder pace for 5 minutes, with a 2 and half minute cool-down.

You will notice large gains in how you feel on easy runs a few weeks down the road by practicing running hard one day a week.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Build your lactate tolerance

I am not talking about anaerobic threshold training or molecular adaptation here but doing simple techniques in your weekly training that will pay you back ten fold down the road.

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it – Michael Jordan

The human body is really amazing.
One day your running 10-minute mile pace sucking wind and 2-6 weeks down the road you are jogging at 7.30 mile pace wondering what the heck happened?
Train for physiological adaptation
What happened is your heart doesn’t have to beat as fast to get oxygenated blood to your working muscles and has super compensated.
The pace you once struggled to hold is a total joke to you now.
Have you struggled with this in your own training? Tell me about it. What have you used to get over the hump of the early training blues?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

10 thoughts on “Extend Your Long Run To An Hour

  1. Hi, Nate.  I’m a fellow Clarksville runner.  I’ve been running for about four years and am running my 4th marathon in 2 weeks in Louisville.    My struggle is I simply cannot get speed out of these legs.  I tried high mileage and made small gains.  I tried quality over quantity and made small gains.  I tried Crossfit and made some gains.   My half marathon PR has remained 2:06-2:08 for two years now through all that.   I know I haven’t peaked.  Maybe I need to take a season off marathoning  and focus on speed over distance?  I’m running my first 50K June 9 and then maybe I will adjust my focus.   Honestly, I enjoy running far slowly, but I’d really like to be more competitive in my age group (40-44) locally and push myself more to see what I CAN do.    I’m running this marathon on just 35 mpw or less and hoping for a PR.   Just trying to beat 4:45.   I’m looking forward to reading all your posts!

  2. Nateannabethjulia,

    Thanks for the comment and visiting rundreamachieve.com. Welcome. First, good luck in louisville. I can assure you that breaking 2.00 for the half-marathon is certainly attainable and understand completely your frustration. 

    I don’t know your full history but a few things I can suggest. I am a firm believer in race pace training. Speed is important, yes but the lengthening the time you spend at your goal race pace at just below maximum effort will be a game changer for your training. It isn’t that you don’t have the speed. You have to train in away that you will increase your body’s ability to clear lactic acid quicker than it is building up in your body causing you to slow down.

    A half-marathon at 2.06 is 9.37 per mile. A good aim is to shoot for 2.03 (9.23), than 2.00 (9.09). You can run those types of times. Your motivation to improve clearly shows that but a lot of times runners wonder why they are not hitting their goal times and usually (not always) it is due to not having prepared to run at their goal paces. 

    You start off doing, say a 4 mile run at 9.23 pace and gradually lengthening the distance of your run. If you can get your race pace effort out toward 8 miles solo you will certainly better your 2.06-08 current best. It is very hard to do race pace efforts but as your lengthen the distance of these runs your body is super compensating (in laymen’s terms your getting stronger and not having to work as hard as the previous hard pace).

    Faster running (not maximum) effort but running for a longer period of time with a higher concentration of lactic acid building up is teaching your body to adapt to that pace. Obviously, there are other factors like doing speed sessions, fartleks, taking your easy days EXTREMELY easy all play a part.

    A friend of mine who is a 2.14 marathoner (took 7th at the 08 Olympic Trials) brought this to my attention in 2010. I had written him saying I had done a 15 miler at 5.40 pace. He said it was a good effort but my goal was to hit 5.18 per mile for 26.2 miles.
    The half-marathon and marathon are tough animals to tackle, especially the marathon.
    If you want to run 9.23 per mile pace for a half-marathon and your mainly running 10 minute pace for the majority of your runs or are running faster at times but not for the proper amount of time it will not make the process any easier. Does that make sense?

    You can get 4.45. 35 miles per week will still yield results. That being said, do your best not worry. 2 weeks out, there really is little you can do but maintenance runs, some strides and some very light speed sessions just to get your legs turning over. I really think for you to see improvement all you need to do is focus on doing longer runs at near to at goal race pace.

    I always aim to do my hard runs alone. I try to test myself in training holding harder paced runs without any help and than get into a race where I get pulled along. Training should always be harder than the race itself.

    Keep me posted on how Louisville goes! Hope this helps.


  3. The Bill Murray pic sucked me in and I found great truth in those words he mumbled throughout the movie: :baby steps baby step baby steps”. Needing something to get me unstuck, I found your post encouraging and I am even a little excited to make my way back into shape after reading this.
    Thanks for the dedication to writing your blog; your passion is clear and your thoughts are valuable.

  4. John,

    Thanks for the comment. Glad you got a laugh out of the bill murray picture and found something of help within the post. I am trying John. Wish you all the best with your running and training. 

  5. Safest  way for a fun runner (ie-amateur) is to add some easy walk periods to a regular run. 
    Now thes are brisk walks- keep heart rate elevated BUT they limit impact on legs and allow you to keep going and add time/distance to workouts.

    Soon the base workout is 25% or more longer. Then for safety stay at that distance for a few weeks and then do it again..  Now have a good base to work from.

  6. Nicely said Marty. I think incorporating walking in, especially for a fun runner, is a great piece of advice you shared. Exactly, stay at the distance, adapt, then a few weeks down the road do it again…its all about persistent work.

  7. Hi John,

    Thanks for the kind words. That is the key…baby steps until your running like a prized fighter…just keep fighting for it! Stop back again.

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