Long distance running guide
How to run longer
Increasing your ability to run longer is all about improving your endurance and cardiovascular fitness in incremental stages. Through honing your training and using certain techniques, you’ll be able to build both the physical and mental stamina needed to cover those longer distances without stopping.
Long distance running tips
Whether you’re a beginner or have been running for a while, the below tips should help you to train towards the goal of covering longer distances:
Run more often
Let’s start with the basics. One of the most effective ways to improve your long distance running capability is to simply up the amount of training sessions you do. The more you train, the better equipped your body will be to run further. Be wary if you’re a beginner runner though, as it’s important not to overdo things at this stage. If you’ve not been running long, always aim to train every other day, and never two days in a row.
If you’re more experienced, try upping your training sessions – say, from three times a week to four or five times a week. Just be sure to incorporate at least one rest day a week into your training plan.
Slow it down
Slowing your running pace is one of the most effective ways to run for longer. Of course, this may be frustrating news if you’re trying to set a new personal best at your next marathon. In which case, you’ll want to start incorporating speedwork training into your schedule (see our next point).
If your only goal is to simply run longer distances without stopping though, slowing your pace is a good way to work towards this.
To be able to run for longer, you need to improve your cardiovascular fitness and increase your lactate threshold (the point at which your body starts producing lactic acid). This is especially important if you not only want to be able to run longer, but you want to be able to cover greater distances more quickly, too.
To get fitter, stronger, and more capable of running long distances faster, incorporate tempo runs, interval training, and hill runs into your schedule. These workouts all help you to build your endurance and strength more quickly than just running more often. In fact, they’re pretty essential for making progress after a certain point.
Work on your breathing
One of the main reasons you’ll need to stop running and walk instead during a session is because you start to feel breathless. Working on your breathing technique can help counteract this – aim to relax your breathing through taking in deep breaths from your belly, rather than breathing in a shallow, rapid way.
Work on pacing
One of the keys to running longer distances is pacing yourself properly. Starting out too fast, for example, can lead you to burn through all your energy too quickly, meaning you won’t go the distance. For the best chance at running for your target distance or time, you should be aiming to run around the same amount of minutes per mile for the duration of your run (called running even splits). It’s also a good idea to start out nice and slow, then build speed later down the line if you feel able to. Check out our pacing chart to find out more.
Long distance running technique
If you’ve been training for a while and still feel you’re not reaching your full potential, you might be wondering if improving your running form could be the boost you need to go that extra mile (or miles). While any runner – especially beginners – should be wary of getting too bogged down in the technicalities of form, taking some steps to improve your technique could help you run more efficiently and comfortably. This, in turn, could help you run further. If this sounds interesting to you, try these form-improving tips:
• Look straight ahead when you run (focus your eyes on the ground around 10 to 20 feet ahead) – but don’t jut your neck and head too far forwards, as this can lead to uncomfortable tension in your shoulders.
• Hold your hands at waist level and keep them (and your arms) nice and relaxed to prevent tension from building.
• Try to maintain an upright posture with relaxed shoulders, and your arms at your sides.
• Swing your arms backwards and forwards from your shoulder joints, not your elbows, and try not to let your arms cross over your chest, as this also builds tension.
Benefits of long distance running
So – why swap out some of your 5Ks in favour of longer distances? The truth is, even if you’re not training for a marathon, long distance running comes with tons of benefits, including:
• Increases muscle strength and power
• Increases your endurance levels
• Trains your body to burn fat as fuel
• Helps improve your mental stamina for running
• Increases your aerobic capacity
• Improves your cardiovascular fitness
Best long-distance running shoes
You’ll need a good pair of running shoes whether you’re aiming for a 5k, 10k or marathon. But when it comes to mastering long runs, it’s crucial to prioritise cushioning and comfort to prevent the dreaded sore feet from kicking in as the miles clock up. Durability is also a key factor to look out for, so you know your trainers can stand up to the test of marathon lengths.
On that note, check out our range of high-performing long distance running shoes for designs featuring plush cushioning and our NDurance rubber sole technology. These include our Fresh Foam X 880 range, and Fresh Foam X Hierro range for running long distances off the beaten track. Be sure to equip yourself with lightweight, breathable and sweat-wicking running clothes for those longer distances, too – as discomfort can end up being one of the biggest barriers to progress when it comes to enduring mile after mile.
Finally, give yourself an added comfort boost with some long distance running socks to keep the negative thoughts at bay as you stride towards your PB.
So, ready to take your distances to new heights? With some carefully considered training, the right footwear, and a good old pinch of grit – you’ll definitely be able to rack up those miles and reach your long distance goals. Good luck!