Did you know that running for 5-10 minutes each day can significantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases?
It's also an excellent form of exercise for people who are overweight or obese since it can help them lose weight and keep it off. But running long distances can be tough on the body, so here are some tips to make sure you're doing it right.
Keep reading to learn 7 facts that will help you tackle long-distance running.
Tip #1: Increase Your Max Heart Rate
Your max heart rate (MHR) is the highest number of times your heart can beat per minute. It's important to know because it's the indicator of how hard you should be pushing yourself while working out. Many long-distance runners' MHRs are more than 200 beats per minute.
So what do you do if your MHR is so high that you can't physically keep up with it while you run longer? Well, there are a few different things you can try:
Increase your endurance: If you increase the amount of time you spend running each day then your max heart rate will decrease automatically. Also, make sure you are wearing the correct gear because this can affect your endurance as well.
Take it easy: You can also try taking longer breaks in between runs to give your body a chance to recuperate.
Check your training plan: Make sure that you're pushing yourself, but not too hard; what feels like an intense workout for you might be very easy for someone else.
Tip #2: Warm Up & Cool Down
Warming up and cooling down are two of the most important parts of running long distances. The cool-down process is especially vital because it helps your muscles return to a normal state, as well as flushing toxins from the muscle tissue. Without this important process, you're more likely to develop a rash, a fever, a headache, or a more serious condition.
So how can you ensure that you're properly warming up and cooling down during your runs? Try the following:
Warm-Up: At first, just walk for about five minutes to get your muscles prepared for the workout ahead. Afterward, try doing about five minutes of gentle jogging, followed by some dynamic stretches (like high kicks and arm swings). Then run at the pace you want for your workout.
Cool-Down: As soon as you finish running, take a few more minutes to stretch out your muscles to make sure they don't get too stiff while they're cooling down.
Tip #3: Run Frequently
Long-distance runners like to run every day of the week if they can since it helps them build stamina and endurance faster than running less often. This is especially true for beginners who are just starting. If you're new to running or haven't done it much in the past, take it easy at first and build up to running every day.
Try this: Run for about 10 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; take Tuesdays and Thursdays off; then run again for about 20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. After a few weeks of doing this routine, you can try increasing your weekend runs to 30 minutes and adding a run during the week, too.
Tip #4: Mix Up Your Routes
If you're running the same route every day then your body will get used to it and start working less and less each time. It won't help to build endurance or stamina, either. And if you always run at the same pace, your body will have a hard time cooling down properly after each workout.
To avoid this, try to mix up your routes as much as possible. Just go in different directions every time you run or change up the scenery.
For example, jog around town one day, then cross over into an entirely new neighbourhood the next time you head out. If you run at the gym, try to use a different machine or go to another floor of the building. Mixing up your routine will keep your body on its toes and help you avoid unnecessary fatigue.
Tip #5: Take Your Time
Long-distance runners are always trying to improve their times by shaving seconds off every mile they run. But if you care too much about speed and start pushing yourself too hard, chances are you'll just end up getting exhausted faster than ever before.
To avoid this scenario, learn how to pace yourself better by taking your time at the beginning of your run. However, don't go so slow that you begin to lose momentum or worse yet, lose interest in running altogether. Instead, make sure to go at a pace you know you can keep up with for the full duration of your run.
Tip #6: Keep It Simple
For most runners, it's not the actual running technique that gets boring—it's all the other stuff that comes with long-distance training like getting dressed, putting on your shoes, and heading out the door. If you want to keep things interesting, try mixing up your routine with these simple tricks:
Change Your Shoes: If you own a lot of running shoes, consider wearing a different pair each day instead of the same ones over and over again. It's okay to rotate them every once in a while; just make sure you're wearing the same pair every few days at least.
Change Your Accessories: If you usually wear an armband to hold your key and cell phone, try carrying your items in a different place so you can use a different arm for a change. Making sure you have the right accessories and gear can also help you prevent chafing.
Tip #7: Make Some Long Distance Running Friends
Running friends can help you stay encouraged and motivated when things get rough. Plus, they're always great to bounce ideas off of and talk about the latest training plans you've been working on.
So if you don't have any long-distance running buddies yet, then there's no better time to look for them than right now! Put up an ad online or use your social networks to find some runners near you who want to talk about the sport.
Improve Your Long Distance Running Today
Now you should be better equipped for long-distance running. Use these tips to improve your runs and get the most out of your workouts.
If you're looking for other products to enhance your run, be sure to also check out our anti-chafing products that make the run even more enjoyable.