Most of us have watched a marathon and marvelled at the endurance and courage on display.
Maybe you are one of the many who have been so inspired that you want to start on the path of conquering long-distance running.
But before you start flying around the local track or park, consider some timely beginner tips to allow you to safely and successfully build up the capacity to reach a whole new level of fitness greatness.
Long-distance running is not for the weak.
Exercise is an essential part of our everyday lives, but for those who are looking for a greater challenge, running in all formats poses an intense challenge.
You do not have to have a running or athletic background to get started.
All you need is the all-clear form from your trusted physician to know that it’s safe and also the drive to keep pushing when things get tough.
Whilst ‘jumping’ into long-distance running without much planning may have worked well for some, it would be wiser to prepare to achieve the best outcomes.
We have gathered some of the most reliable and actionable steps for getting started in long-distance running as a beginner, so consider some of the following tips to smash those runs:
The Correct Gear
Many beginners may not have the equipment to get started safely in long-distance running.
If you have no experience in running full stop, do not panic.
You do not need a lot of specialist equipment in the beginning stages.
However, you will probably benefit from having some essentials such as:
- A watch to time your runs
- Breathable clothing to allow your body to cool down
If you want to get into long-distance running the expert way, you might consider getting a specialist fitness watch that will track your heart rate, distance, and even your pace.
Although, this is not necessary if you would prefer to leave the gadgets at home and instead opt for a sturdy NATO watch strap to keep everything where it needs to be.
Try And Test Your Running Shoes
Speaking of gear, no beginner’s training is complete without a pair of reliable trainers.
Reliable trainers should not be the pair you have worn for the last 5 years, but instead, a pair of performance-enhancing sneakers allowing you the best flexibility and comfort possible.
This does not mean to say these sneakers will be perfect, so you will need to break them in before you go all out.
Wear your running trainers as you walk around for a week or so, and you might have a better chance of avoiding blisters.
Blisters may be seen as battle scars when pushing to become a long-distance running regular, but that does not mean that you should have to suffer!
Start Small to Achieve Long-Distance Running
Starting small, setting the foundations and building from there is key.
If you have little endurance and a minute-long run feels like hours, that’s okay!
We are starting somewhere, and pushing past your limits each time is how you grow and make a change.
Time how long you can run without stopping, and keep measuring each interval.
Again, a smartwatch may help in these instances in measuring each bout.
Keep note of all of your timing to see how much improvement you see each time. Even if it seems impossible, as long as you keep showing up, you will see your time improve, and your endurance rise.
Fuel Your Body When Not Running
Long-distance running is not all about the actual act of running.
To become a successful long-distance runner, your diet and nutrition are everything.
Fueling your body is also more than nutrition. It also involves recharging with rest and ensuring you get your optimal hours of sleep each night.
Running is considered a high-intensity sport that targets many of our overall muscle groups.
Replenishing your body after going through the strain of running is essential if you hope to get stronger and go further each run.
Research what works for you and consult appropriate experts if necessary.
Don’t Neglect The Importance Of A Warm-Up
Back to the actual running, you should never skip a warm-up.
Warm-ups are not just another fitness fad.
They are instead a key component in increasing your heart rate and encouraging blood flow, which ultimately moves more oxygen around your body and warms up the required muscles and associated body parts for action!
A good warm-up can be a simple stretch that targets all muscle groups, or perhaps you might do a small 5-minute skipping session to get your blood pumping.
All in all, you should ensure you are warming up before each long-distance run, especially as a beginner.
Make Sure You Cool Down!
Now you have the warm-ups covered, you also need to consider cooling down after you have gone the distance.
After a long-distance run, your heart rate will be through the roof as well as your blood pressure. You may also like to read- 10 Fruits for Diabetic Patients that won’t spike Blood Sugar Levels
Giving yourself time to slowly cool down and get your body back to a resting rate is important if you hope to avoid fainting or burnout.
To start cooling down, relax your muscles by doing some long stretches.
Target each muscle group as you likely have used many muscles to maintain a good run.
You may also complete your run with steady work, which is a great low-intensity workout to bring your body down to where it should be.
Now we have gathered the main points to consider when taking on long-distance running as a beginner, here is a summary and a few final tips to get started on your long-distance journey:
- Pace out your run to avoid burning out too quick
- Eat well before and after the run to encourage energy and recovery
- Stick to flat ground when you start
- Track the distance of the run you complete using technology such as watches or phone tracking
- Warm-up and cool down every run you complete
Long-distance running is a skill that is not for the faint-hearted.
It is, however, possible for everyone to get started and build up their endurance and cardiovascular health to a level that enables them to have a great run.
Before joining half marathons or fun runs, try to get your fitness up to a sufficient standard first.
Follow the recommended steps, learn what works as you go and (try) to enjoy the process!
Listen to your body, but keep pushing as you progress over time; you never know; you may cross the finish line one day.
Zoe-Louise is a freelance writer who loves to write for fashion, beauty and lifestyle for both men and women. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her in a bookshop. Connect with her on Twitter here @ZoeThomlinson