If you’re a runner, chances are you are focusing on two things to build on over time: speed and distance. Most people set distance goals for themselves, since that is easy to monitor, and once the distance goals are met, they work on improving their times. Instead of jumping into a marathon right away, try these tips for increasing your distance over time. Your body will thank you for it.
Choose the Right Course
The first step in increasing your distance is finding the right course. Sadly, not many places maintain long running courses, so you need to decide what is best for you: a treadmill, an out and back course, or a loop course. A loop course has the most advantages, especially if the loop is a set mile or 2 miles. Since the loop is pretty set, you can slowly add distance over time. And adding distance is safer than an out and back course, because you are never more than half a loop from where you started, where as with an out and back course, you could go pretty far away from where you started.
Set a Solid Pace
The next step is to set a pace that you can maintain evenly through your run. You should start at a pace that feels comfortable, which may not be very fast at first. Try to keep the easy pace up for at least the first half of your run, then challenge yourself to go a little faster for the second half. Lastly, allow your to body cool down a bit for the last mile or two by going back to your initial pace.
Make sure that when you step up your pace, you do it in the middle of your run so that you body has already warmed up. Don’t try to start out at a fast pace because you could burn yourself out.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, as your distance increases, make sure that you take care of yourself by staying hydrated. Dehydration and heat-related illnesses are more common during long runs, so drink plenty of fluids as you go.
What are your best tips for increasing your distance?