Are you shooting for your first long distance running event? For some long-time runners, training for such an event—5 kilometer, 10 kilometer, half marathon, or marathon—is not so much of a problem. For first-time distance runners, however, training is quite laborious and boring. If you are currently undergoing training, the following tips can help you get by and prepare you for an experience as exciting as long distance running:
1. Take some rest days between the trainings. Doing so will give your body ample time to recover energy and reestablish muscle stamina. Some runners have a week or two of rest in between days of hard workouts. For relatively easy workouts, they schedule at least one day-off.
2. Mind your pace. Running long-distance is less about running fast, but is more about covering as many miles as you can. To be able to do this, you need to conserve your energy and run slow during the first few miles. Change your pace as you progress and approach the finish line.
3. Work on improving your speed. Allot two to three days of fast running per week. There will be times, however, that your body won’t feel like working at a faster speed. Don’t push, as your body is trying to recover energy.
4. Increase your mileage. Successful distance runners increase their mileage at a gradual pace. Some of them add two to three miles after every week of training, while others have an easier approach, only adding a few more strides at the end of every run. But because your body works differently, you can design or look for a training plan that can help you increase your mileage at a proper intensity.
5. Put some diversity. To take the monotony out of your training, make sure to run different routes from time to time, run at different paces in a single session, and run at different paces on given days. The thing is, because running is most likely the same each day, you need to make it a little more exciting, something you always want to look forward to.
6. Have a running partner at certain points of your run. It’s okay to run solo, some runners even prefer it, but without someone to talk to the entire run, training gets impossibly boring. Try to catch up with someone, or agree to meet with a fellow runner halfway through the run. Of course, you have to be willing to change your pace to encourage small talks.
7. Listen to music. Long distance running is a mental activity as much as it is a physical challenge, so you need to get motivated and inspired to keep your body moving. Music does it well by keeping your mind off the physical discomforts of running and relaxing your mental state. During a run, bring an mp3 player with you and load it up with inspirational or your favorite music. Make sure your player has enough battery life to last the entire run.
8. Bring energy foods with you. Not only will they pump up your energy level, they also will give you something else to do other than running. It is also wise to have water or energy drink to keep you hydrated during your training for long distance running.
“People ask why I run. I say, “If you have to ask, you will never understand”. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels.” — Erin Leonard