Having trouble running your first 5K or 10K? Ever wonder how some runners can keep running as if they weren’t getting tired? For beginners, long distance running can be an intimidating and exhausting challenge but the trick isn’t to jump straight into long runs, but to build up to it. So if you’re planning to take up long distance running then follow these tips and techniques used by experienced runners.
Gradually build up the distance you’re running each week
We cannot stress enough how important it is to start slowly. You increase the risk of injuring yourself by doing too much at once and that sets you even further back in your training. Start running at least 1K or 2K three to four times a week. You can worry about speed later, just set a pace that you’re comfortable with.
In one of those training sessions, try to run a little past your target distance. Make it a goal to run just a bit farther every week and eventually you’ll be more comfortable with increasing the distance and intensity of your workouts.
Another obvious tip but one that people easily forget. Drink water at least thirty minutes before, during and immediately after your run. Chugging water keeps your joints lubricated and helps transport the nutrients around your body to give you more energy. This all adds up to more stamina for long distance runs. If bringing a water bottle with you while you run is too cumbersome, try using hydration belts or backpacks to keep your hands free.
Experienced runners can usually keep going because of their regulated breathing. Physical exercise is usually repetitive and rhythmic breathing helps maintain your pace without burning yourself out too quickly. If you’re running without establishing a breathing pattern, you’ll be struggling to keep the oxygen in.
The next time you go for a jog, breathe in twice through the nose and twice out the mouth whenever your feet are striking the ground. Whenever you inhale, remember to take deep breaths to get the most oxygen into your lungs.
Posture is key
Your posture can also determine how much you can run. Many people usually look at where they are stepping and have their shoulders hunched over. This increases the risks of lower back problems and prevents you from taking in oxygen. However if you bring your shoulders up and look straight ahead you’ll notice a dramatic difference in how long you can actually run.
Do interval training
This training method builds your stamina, speed, recovery time and leg strength. Interval training usually involves alternating between high intensity running and low intensity jogging. This doesn’t mean you should be hitting top speed and burning yourself out immediately. Try doing a 400m run followed by a light 400m jog to cool off for the next set. For your high intensity sets, you should maintain a pace that is just above your comfort zone and take the appropriate amount of rest before your next set.
Long distance running can be quite repetitive and boring at times, so bringing music to your running sessions can really take the edge off.
While all these methods can significantly improve your running performance, it’s always important to stretch and rest afterwards to prevent any risk of injury. Consider using some or all of these methods and with constant training you’ll be running your first 5K in no time.
Want more training advice? Give us a call to see what else is in store for you.