With a number of big running events just around the corner, it’s time to hone your running skills to get fitter, faster and keep you injury-free. Here are our best long distance running tips.
Running long distances
You should have been gradually increasing your distances by no more than 10% each week to ensure you’re not overdoing your progression which could lead to stress fractures etc. If you’ve been training hard in the leadup to your event, make sure you taper your training the week of the event so your body has adequate rest (i.e. don’t plan a 21km run a few days before your half marathon).
On the day, make sure you warm up properly at the beginning and don’t be afraid to take walking breaks if you get out of breath, sore or tired. Just try not to stop completely unless you feel it’s necessary otherwise it becomes more difficult to get started again if you’ve been going a while! Keep a slow, steady pace – you can always pick it up towards the end. Oh, and stretch properly once you’re done!
Improve your running gear
When running long distances, the many kilometres can take a toll on your body (and your running gear). To help prevent injury and discomfort, get a good quality pair of running socks and some durable comfortable running shoes with good foot support.
While we’re on the subject of support, splurge on a quality supportive sports bra and also running clothing that will wick away sweat. Just make sure that if you get any new gear to try it out on a long run first to make sure it will all work for you; especially shoes as you will likely need to wear them in a bit to help prevent blisters and discomfort on the big run day.
What to take on your run
You don’t want to weigh yourself down with anything unnecessary, but it could be handy to think about what’s important. Is it sunny? A good hat that will stay put and some sunglasses could be a good idea. A couple of quality blister plasters could be the difference between your running or walking the second half of your event.
If you can’t run without music, take the smallest music player you can find and think about the best way to attach it to yourself (holding it in your hand the whole way may get a bit annoying and if it’s raining you might need a waterproof case for it!).
Energy and hydration
Most planned running events will have drink stations on the way with disposable cups of water. Sports drinks/electrolyte replacements (such as NUUN) are made to replenish your blood sugar stores which may run a little low around an hour into your run. If the event organisers don’t provide this and you don’t want to carry one around with you, take a couple of gummy lollies in a small plastic bag to give you an energy burst. If you don’t take the plastic bag you may end up with a warm, sticky mess in your pocket!
As for water, stay hydrated but take sips as you go. Too much water will leave you needing a bathroom stop on the way.
What’s your best running tip? Comment below!
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Andy Newson