Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Crush Your Running Goals With These 5 Tips for Long Distance Running!
Oh man, if you would have told me that I would actually enjoy running like 5 years ago, I would absolutely have laughed at you! No seriously, I probably would have been choking back my laughter as an avid volleyball player that would run maybe a half-mile at max on a good day. 😉 After graduating college, I was looking for ways to still fuel my competitive nature, gain some mental health clarity, and just stay in shape in fun ways. Welp... I landed on running. If you are anything like me, you are definitely a beginner runner, and as new runners, we have to stick together! It's easy to read a blog post by an already experienced runner, but it's refreshing to hear running tips from others that are on the same path as you! After some months of training and becoming a long-distance runner, I am excited to share my 6 tips for running long distance for beginners! Whether you are training for your first marathon or 1 mile, these are some of the best running tips I've found true for myself! Let's get after it for your next long run!
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Tips For Running Long Distance
Tip #1- Invest In Good Running Shoes AND Socks
I know the right shoes can be expensive for new runners, but let me tell you... it is SO worth it. If you are able to, I would highly encourage you to invest in a good pair of good shoes. Not only will your feet thank you, but they will be essential in injury prevention! My two favorite shoes are New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 and the Adidas Ultraboost 20. Both of these shoes have been amazing in my running journey. Now, I am not normally a proponent of encouraging people to "finance" anything for responsibility purposes, but if you are not able to afford shoes at the full price, rather than using a pair of less qualified shoes, I would use a program like Affirm or Afterpay to spread the amount over a couple of months. Most of the time, they do interest-free payments.
You may have noticed that I mentioned "AND Socks" in the Tip above. This may be TMI, but when I started running, I was using old socks I had since HIGH SCHOOl! Ew! This actually caused my feet to hurt! So I invested in a pair of affordable antimicrobial no-show compression fit socks on Amazon. And Holy Cow! It made such a difference! Who knew! Make the investment in some new socks as well. It's not just a great idea, it's necessary! 😂
Tip #2- Have A Running Buddy or Running Coach
As new runners, this a new physical but also MENTAL challenge you are embarking on. You should not have to go in alone. For me, personally, I recruited my fabulous sister-in-law to be my running partner and running coach. Having someone to schedule runs with not only holds me accountable to my goals, but it also is a great way for the two of us to just connect about life. I am improving my running training while fueling a healthy friendship. It's a win-win! Can you identify someone in your life that has similar goals to you or maybe is already going after fitness goals? Text them right now and just ask! That's the first step, and once you've found that running partner, it's time to go after those goals together!
Tip #3- Have a Plan First
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a beginner runner was not having a plan in mind of how long I wanted to run or how far. I had my end goal in mind which at first was just to run a 5k, but I did not set a plan so my running was ALL over the place! My body felt it! One thing I have really learned is that consistency is key in like... EVERYTHING in life and it is no different with building the habit of running. When I started training for a 10k, my sister-in-law and I actually planned out how far we would be running each time. This tip for running long distance has done amazing feats for my consistency and recovery as I train for my half marathon and longer runs. At the end of this post, I am sharing the half marathon running plan that I am personally using, and you can use that to plan your long distance goals too!
Tip #4- Do Not Forget About Cross Training
So another mistake I made early on in my running feats (aren't you glad I can tell you my mistakes before you get started🤪) was also not cross-training, and what I mean by "cross-training" is implementing other forms of exercise to supplement your running workouts. When I first started running, I was ONLY running which may work for a bit, but if you aren't building other muscles in the process, your training progress can get stagnant, and your risk for injury increases. To have good injury prevention in your running routine, it is important to implement exercises with weights, cycling, swimming, or yoga. The key is that they are different types of strength training and that they use different muscles. When you cross-train you are inadvertently helping your running game! Currently, I use the SWEAT App (Kelsey Wells PWR Program specifically) in addition to cycling on my MYX Bike for my strength training. This adds some fun workouts and challenges to my workout that keeps me flexible and help me get stronger for longer distances. Find what works for you and have fun with it! It will make a HUGE difference in your running.
Tip #5-Place a BIG Focus on Recovery
As beginner runners, you are going to hurt, okay.... That's normal. It's called being sore. 😉 And boy, I was SO sore the first few weeks that I ran, but I have made it a priority to take my recovery seriously. Taking care of your body is a BIG deal! This goes beyond just stretching after a run. It is SO important that your body recovers properly so it is ready to face the next challenge. Otherwise, you risk injury and it can definitely slow down your progress. I also know for me injuries can be very mentally challenging so it's best to take care of yourself and prevent injury from setting in. This is what recovery looks like for me.
Right After Run: Walking for 5+ minutes after each run to "Walk-Out" my legs and flush out any lactic acid build-up
Right After Run: Rolling out using a Foam Roller
Right After Run: Massage Gun out my legs
Day After Run: Recovery Yoga & Dynamic Stretches
Before & After: Drink LOTS of water
These simple items I have implemented into my recovery have made a huge difference in my running performance, and I can feel it when I "slack off" and don't take the time to let my body fully recover and prepare for the next run. The items I mentioned above like the foam roller and massage gun are some affordable Amazon finds that are a GREAT investment! If you can, I highly recommend you get these items for your training. I also make sure that I take a rest day after my longer runs. This gives me another chance to flush out my legs even more and get ready for the next time.
Tip #6- Focus On What Feels Good
This last top tip is more of a mental note. As a beginner, it can be so difficult mentally to go longer distances. I know there are plenty of times that I felt like my legs could not go one more step. When this happens my sister-in-law told me about the best way to push through that barrier, and it really stuck with me. She said, "focus on what feels good." Instead of focusing on what might be hurting or if you are going to make it to the end, focus on what feels good. Things like " I feel accomplished and proud of myself for doing this run," "my breathing feels good," "my core feels strong," "the sunshine feels so refreshing on my skin as I am out here in nature." If you can focus on those things, even when you are hurting, it is amazing what you can push through and accomplish! Such wise advice has helped me through some pretty drudging long runs. 😆
Whether you are running for weight loss, to get more physical activity in your routine, or to just improve your fitness level, these tips will be helpful in getting you there. Although they are basic tips to get started, everyone needs a good foundation and running program to follow to truly go after their goals effectively. I can already tell if you are reading this post that you are wanting to improve and go after your running goals! Not only are you going to see amazing health benefits, but you are going to be SO proud of who you become as you continue your running training journey! I hope that you have found these tips for running long distance helpful and I am so excited for your running training ahead!
BONUS: TJG's Half Marathon Training for Beginners Running Plan
Because I know how challenging just getting up and running each day can be, I am providing my half-marathon running plan that I am using to train for my half-marathon! Just click the link to download! This plan was created in conjunction with my sister in law who is an avid half-marathon runner and ran long-distance at the collegiate level. Feel free to use it "as-is" or modify it to fit your needs! ☺️ Happy Running, Friends!