Some of us are running long and some of us are racing! Tell us what you’re doing so we can cheer you on and support you this weekend!
Going long isn’t about getting there fast, it’s about enjoying the process. Let’s talk about how to gear up for longer runs without burning out too early.
Many runners hit a plateau fairly early on in training. Maybe you get stuck around the four- or five-mile mark for longer runs and just never seem to be able to get past that point. Sure, you can finish a 10K (if you have to) but our normal weekday runs seem to fall in that 30 to 40 minute range.
Think about how fun it would be to hit the trails for an hour or two. Just you, your thoughts, your heartbeat and nature. Maybe you dream of running a half or a full marathon. If you have a goal in mind, you should look into a training plan that will get you there safely and in time for your race. If you’re just looking to add a few more miles to your weekly total for fitness or fun, or just to see how far you can go, there are a few tricks to going long that you should keep in mind. Let’s talk about some of them.
The keyword to keep in mind? Slowly.
- Build Slowly – If five miles is the longest you’ve ever run, you’re not going to be running 10 the first time you set out. To avoid injury, slowly increase your volume. Add only a mile or two per week to your long. That sounds like a small addition, but it’ll add up quickly enough.
- Be the Tortoise, Not the Hare – You know when people tell you that life is a marathon, not a 5K? Turns out they’re on to something! When you’re adding mileage, you have to drop your pace. If you’re used to heading out and pounding the pavement for 30 minutes every morning at a pace that’s comfortable for the entire time, you’ll quickly find that the same pace won’t be quite as comfortable as you extend to an hour, 90 minutes and longer. When you first start adding distance or time, think about leaving your watch at home or just turning it around on your wrist so you can’t see it all the time if you still want the data. Run at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Most long distance running should be at a pace where you could have a conversation with someone next to your without struggling to breathe or talk.
- Keep your Heart Rate Aerobic – If you’re not sure about what heart rate you should be aiming for as you add volume, Phil Maffetone’s formula is a great place to start. Your heath rate should 180 beats per minute minus your age, then, add five if you’re a well-trained and fit, or subtract five if you haven’t been training regularly. Since most of us are fairly regular exercisers, we can stick with the 180-minus-age formula. This puts us in our aerobic zone, where we’ll want to be for most of our long runs.
- Still concerned or want to add more slowly? Walk! – A great to add miles to in a way that almost guarantees you won’t increase your risk of getting injured is to start by adding walking ahead of and after your runs. Start with a half mile to a mile walk for a warmup, and end with a half a mile to a mile cooldown. Not only will your muscles thank you, but you’ll get used to the added time on your feet in a more gentle way. Gradually, run a bit more, maybe just a couple of extra blocks, before you start your cool down. Add more running time as slowly as you need to!
- Don’t Neglect Post-Run Care – It’s easy to forget that a cool down is important when your pace is lower than you’re used to, but we still need to take a few minutes at the end of our run to slow way down, even walking to end our workout. Even more important, we must make time for rolling, stretching throwing our legs up a wall to help with inflamation, delayed onset muscle soreness, and be able to run and even walk well in the next couple days.As you start growing your volume, keep track of how you’re feeling at all times. If you’re super sore, consider replacing your active recovery run with a hike, bike ride or a swim instead.
Remember…going long isn’t about getting there fast, it’s about enjoying the process.
Think about these tips as you gear up for your long run this weekend. Long runs are meant to be slow and easy paced, with a distance that’s just a mile or two (at the most) longer than you did the weekend before, or than your regular weekday short runs.
One more thing to mention and consider…it’s hot y’all. It’s even hot up north where our Maine ladies are. So don’t skimp on the hydration. Plan ahead to carry water or electrolytes or have places to stop along your route to get fluids.
Most important of all…have fun and see if you can find those feelings associated with the end of a long run. That empty feeling. Clean, work out and sweat purged. Fall in love with the good ache of muscles that have done you proud! ♥♥
Day 2 exercises:
- Warm up drills: Leg Swings, Hip Hurdles and Lunge Matrix
- Long run
- Plank & Wall Sit – :60 each
- Legs up the Wall – 5-15 minutes
- Roll & Stretch! You can go through our 7 Key Stretches for Runners or you can follow along with this post run stretching routine.
Day 3 exercises: Active Recovery & Yoga for Runners – Choose one of the yoga options below or follow along with the Yoga for Runners video below.
May Challenge Winner Nominations: I wanted to do a little something different for our May Challenge Winner. Don’t worry, I have April coming…but for May, I’d like to hear who you think should win our Challenge winner’s medal. Did your buddy kill it in May? Did you see someone who just stayed on top of everything and amazed you with their determination and commitment? Was there someone who motivated you to get it done when you didn’t want to? Send me a personal message (do not post in the comments) and give me your nomination for our May Challenge Winner. The winner will be the one with the most nominations or if there is a tie, I will go into our group stats and see which one really did more “work”, posted that they got it done, and was supportive to the rest of the #CoreCrew family. You have till the end of the weekend (Sunday night) to get in your nominations. Send me a PM here.