Building Your Distance

In all training we look to create improvements. Whether it’s simply learning to run, or its driving development to go longer or faster, here are some simple tips for building your running distance.

Build with gradual increments

Whether your starting with 50m or 5km, a gradual increase is the fastest way to build distance without injury. A general rule of 10% increase in distance for your longest run per week is a great guide. This is enough to challenge your body to adapts, with out being so much more volume it ‘reacts’ to the sudden increase in volume. There also needs to be an element of consistency in creating this. Plan your training with enough time to build the distance appropriately and commit to regular training.

Don’t run every day – less is more

Running every day is a lot of impact for your body to deal with. Note that this does not mean ‘don’t train’, it just means let your body have regular short breaks from running. How much running per week will depend on your body, experience and running technique, however a maximum of 4-5 times per week will have you running better. If you are running frequency without improvement it may be a sign you need to decrease your running frequency in order to run better.

Strength Training For Your Legs

Specific conditioning for your legs in the form of squats and lunges can help add a little more Spring to your step and help build resistance to fatigue. If body weight exercises feel easy (you can do more than 50 reps), then you may need to add some resistance. Aiming for fatigue at 15-20reps is a good guide. Do this 1-2 times per week.

Interval Training

Interval training can be used to increase distance OR speed, depending on how you implement this. This is a particularly good method for people who are starting out with a short distance of running. Let’s say you are able to easily walk 4km (an average 1h walk), but can only run 200m at a time. You’d start by running 200m with a 300m recovery walk and repeat 8 times. Each run/walk session you would the decrease the walk distance or increase the run distance (let’s say by 50m). Before you know it you’ll be running 4km!

Learn Active Breathing

The more air exchange you can create with your breathing, the more fresh oxygen you can get into your body and the less need there is for rapid breathing *(there are other factors involved). Get into a rhythm of breathing – 2 counts in & 2 counts out – or whatever is comfortable at a comfortable pace. On the 2nd count IN, take in a little extra air than a normal passive breath, then on the 2nd count OUT, exhale a little extra air than a normal passive breath. This will increase your oxygen exchange and allow you to get a little further before having to slow and catch your breath. Ultimately, remember to breathe. It’s not something we often have to think about doing, so create a focus for a few weeks in order to make this a habit.

Work On Technique

As your running improves, you’ll want to get lighter on your feet and progress to a mid-foot run. Check out our running video for tips on this. Click Here.

Ultimately, your body will adapt to whatever you consistently ask it to do, and the stimulus for change is outside your comfort zone. So be willing to get a little uncomfortable (within reason) in order to create the training effect and stimulate the change and adaptation you desire. All the little changes will add up to your ultimate goal.

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