For beginners as well as for more experienced runners it can be very exhausting and demotivating to increase the running distance. As with any type of training, the body needs time to adapt to new stimuli and increase. Here we give you valuable tips on how to prepare your body and your psyche for longer runs week after week and thus achieve your goal.
What is "long" anyway?
Sometimes it's not so clear what actually counts as a "long" run. This is because it depends on your individual fitness level and running habit whether a route is long or short for you. What may be your "normal" lap for you may already be very long for another runner. Therefore, one of the most important tips is: always measure yourself against yourself and not against others. And as a general rule, a distance that is 1.5 to 2 times as long as the one you usually run is a long distance for you.
1. Proper nutrition before your run
Your body can't do anything without energy. Prepare your body for longer distances and higher loads by eating enough carbohydrates in the last meal beforehand. As a rule of thumb, you can calculate 7 to 10 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. There should also be a few hours between the last meal and the run, so that your stomach is no longer too full and not too busy with digestion during training.
2. The suitable speed
It's tempting to run at a brisk pace for the first few minutes to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Especially for longer distances than your body is used to, you should not run at speed, but not too fast at the beginning. Otherwise, you may exhaust yourself and become tired after a few minutes or get side stitches.
On the contrary, if you are running a long distance for the first time, you should slow down from the beginning. This way you still have strength to cope with the extra effort and you can build up your fitness on long distances in the long run.
3. Divide the route and take breaks
No one said you have to do the entire course in one piece. For longer runs, it can be very helpful to divide the route into sections and take small breaks in which you walk for a few minutes or run significantly slower. This way you can regenerate briefly, recharge your batteries and have more power again. The important thing is that you don't stop completely so that you don't get out of rhythm.
Also psychologically it is easier to stand in front of several shorter and masterable sections than to see the total distance directly in front of you. With each additional run, you can reduce the breaks and eventually cover the entire distance in one piece.
4. Eating and drinking on the way
Depending on the route and distance, your body may need fluids and nutrients along the way. For runs of 60 minutes or more, you should provide yourself with calories and water. This can be done either in liquid form - with gels or mixed powders, or with small snacks such as nuts or dried fruit.
5. One long run per week
One of the most important tips is: give yourself time and be patient. Don't suddenly try to squeeze three long runs into your training in one week because you want to get better as quickly as possible. One long workout per week is enough for now. Building endurance and athletic performance takes time and patience, and your body needs enough time to recover.
In the end, it takes time, patience and regular training to master longer runs. With the above tips, tools and especially the right mental attitude, you will gradually manage the long distances.