Looking to increase your endurance on long runs? When I first started out, running 2 miles was daunting to me. But with training, persistence, and a lot of hard work, I am now able to breeze through two miles and push on to new goals! If you are in that same spot, or even a veteran runner looking to reach a new PB then keep on reading. These tips are for you! Here are a few things you can do to increase your endurance on long runs.
1. Start out Small
The best way to increase your endurance on long runs is by starting out small. You can’t go from running 3 miles one week to running 8 miles the next! It’s a gradual hill to climb. Increase your mileage by no more than ½ or 1 mile increments weekly. Remember to add an easy week once per month, where you just run smaller distances to give your muscles a little rest.
2. Cross Train and Take Rest Days
Running every day of the week may grow tiresome, and even if it doesn’t ,you should still cross-train! Cross training works other groups of muscles that are essential in improving your endurance run, such as core work. Add plyometrics once a week and you will be shocked at how much improvement you see in your run! High intensity cardio training also serves a wonderful purpose. And rest days are essential to allow your muscles healing and recovery time.
3. Prepare Properly
Before heading out the door on a 10-mile trek, make sure you have prepared. Eat a good meal with whole foods and enough carbs to get you through your run. Hydrate enough, and bring water along. Make sure you stretch and warm up before your run. These seemingly little steps will help more than you know by giving you energy and prepping your muscles for all the work that lies ahead.
4. Mix up Your Running Route
Sometimes it helps to keep our mind off the pain and fatigue by having new scenery to look at! Different routes will also work different muscles, so switch up your running path as often as you can. Try trails at your local park, running on a track, using the sidewalk downtown, or even a treadmill while you catch up on your favorite shows.
5. Turn on the Tunes
Blasting some tunes may get your heart pumping and help you find your second wind! Create a playlist of various songs and styles of music to change up the beat and your pace and really energize you. Always use caution when running outdoors with earphones in.
6. Use Mind Tricks
One thing that helps me is breaking up my big run into little chunks in my mind. Instead of saying “I plan to run 9 miles” I tell myself that I’m going to run three 5K’s. At the end of each 5K, I wipe my mind clean, and start over! The miles speed by that way. Other mind tricks you can use; grab something in the distance, a tree, a car, another runner, and imagine “hooking” yourself to the object and slowly being reeled in by their “power”. Or imagine yourself running away from something bad and towards something you want.
7. Get an Accountability Partner
Maybe you can’t afford a personal coach, but how about a friend to motivate you and encourage you? It’s amazing what a person can do with a little motivation from someone! Even if your friend can’t go along on your run, have them send you a little text halfway through that inspires you to keep going. Or meet up once a week to share your progress.
I’ve been running for 3 ½ years now, and it’s something I have a big passion for! I have learned a lot along the way, and continue to learn as I progress. These tips will help increase your endurance on long runs, but don’t forget about your speed training! Alternating speed runs versus endurance or distance runs will really improve your overall fitness level. What tips can you offer to someone who is looking to boost their endurance on long runs?