Are you an avid runner who wants the improve their long-distance running? If so, then you are not alone! Granted, lots of us runners are always looking for ways to get better at running, whether it is related to speed, increasing mileage, or both.
Perhaps you have made an effort to get started doing so, including running more frequently during the week or taking extra supplements to boost your body’s health. While all of them are good ways to get started with improving, they are not the only strategies that you can do for it.
Although there are a numerous amount of different ways to improve your long-distance running technique, do not find too intimidated by the choices. In fact, we are here to help! In this article, we will guide you through several ways that you can do so; we will be selecting our top five strategies to help you out and soon enough, you will be improving your distance in no time.
With that said, let’s begin!
Perhaps you have been running for a long while, and you might find your form to be nice and settled into your workout routine.
With that said, just what is your form? In essence, your form refers to the way you run, e.g. how you extend your legs, move your arms, etc. Some of us tend to take shorter strides while others extend as far as they can with each one.
While there are a million of different forms out there, each in their distinctive and unique way, there are those which are more efficient and less likely to cause injuries than others. Having good form makes it not only more comfortable for you, but also keep you free from injuries.
As a rule of thumb, taking shorter strides as opposed to longer ones help with reducing impact on your feet, since you are taking quicker steps and therefore remaining less on the ground each time. Running with your feet right under you, instead of away, helps with balance and avoids the notorious heel-strike motion, which has been shown to create running injuries.
That said, making an effort to adjust and otherwise correct your form is a good, first step into improving the efficiency of long-distance running.
Might sound strange, especially if you tend to do races and competitions often. However, if you are just here to improve long-distance running, then it is a good idea to take it easier as means of increasing your mileage, rather than going all-out and burning out sooner than later.
How do you force yourself to run slower, you might ask? Just like with #1, taking shorter strides and going at a pace at which you can talk comfortably with someone are some ways to slowly, but surely build up endurance. You might even find yourself being able to run an extra mile or two, just by going at a slower pace than usual!
Maybe you think that running hard every day will help you improve your distance better. However, the reality is that you will burn out quickly, which can then set you back from improving your mileage, which can be frustrating.
That said, make it a goal to switch things up day-by-day: alternate between long, hard days with short, lighter ones by scheduling in advance your workout for the week. Perhaps you can spend one day running around 10 miles and the following day with a 3-mile run, as means of recovering.
In addition, you can substitute with yoga and weight-lifting exercises, especially during your off-days from running. Building up muscle, as well as increasing your flexibility, add to your overall running performance, and can indirectly improve it as a result.
Aside from exercising, having a good diet rich in nutrients can really make a difference on your running performance. You may have heard that it is advisable to load up on carbohydrates before and after a long run, and we admit, there is definitely truth to that.
Hence, investing in whole grains (e.g. whole grain bread, pasta, rice) can fuel energy to keep you going for a long time. Additionally, fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein (e.g. chicken, turkey, fish) help boost your body’s energy reserves, so having a balanced diet really goes a long way.
Besides food, you might also want to consider taking vitamin and nutrient supplements as means of enhancing your body. Especially if you are naturally low on certain ones, taking these supplements do not hurt at all. Common ones that runners take are iron and whey protein, so you can consider those the next time you visit a nutrition store.
You might feel like you need to constantly be working out in order to improve your long distance, but however, that is not the case. As humans, our bodies are not perfect, and from time to time, we need to let it recharge like a battery.
That said, we advise you to take time off and let your body rest. Whether it is for a couple of days or for a few months (especially if you are injured with the latter), doing so can help repair muscles, tissues, and overall your physical and mental state, thereby giving you the energy and motivation to return to the sport when you are ready to do so.
Overall, improving long distance is not a matter of going fast to do so, but rather taking it slower and being more patient with the results. Like with anything in this world, improvement takes time to happening, and we guarantee you that it will pay off in the end.
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