Long distance running endurance doesn’t just happen. As much as it would be wonderful to wake up in the morning and be physically ready to run a marathon, that simply doesn’t happen. This type of running involves something altogether different from your usual path around the neighborhood or sprint to complete your interval training. Let’s just say it burns a few extra calories for sure!
If you’re interested in building your long distance running endurance, you will need to dedicate yourself to being able to train your body to go a lot farther than you currently do. The average person who runs on a regular basis will usually travel between one and three miles every other day or so. However, a “long distance” training runs start at five or six miles and increases from there. This is because an actual long distance run is usually around 10 miles or longer.
If you’re like most people, this means you’ll need to double or triple your current distance just to meet the minimum training distance. Then, you’ll need to double that once again to hit the minimum mark of an actual long distance run.
To improve your long distance running endurance you’ll need to take the following into consideration:
Build your current fitness level.
Speak to a personal trainer and with your doctor to be sure you’re ready to begin training for longer distance running. This will help you to know that you don’t have a medical condition or previous injury that could be exacerbated by this type of training. It can also help you to know whether you are ready to begin training for a longer distance or whether your shorter distance running still needs improvements before you try to lengthen it.
Create a training schedule.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to reach a personal goal or train for a marathon, you need to have a regular training schedule to get there. Most people find that doing one long run of 5 or 6 miles during the week and doing it again on the weekend. As your fitness improves over many weeks, build from there. On days that you’re not running the longer distance, go for shorter runs, swim, walk, strength train, do yoga or use the elliptical. Your distance and endurance will improve through cross training. That said, don’t forget to take proper rest days to allow your muscles to recover.
Go the right pace.
A longer distance run requires a slower pace than the one you’d use if you were going a shorter distance. Wear a fitness tracker and keep your heart rate at around 70 percent of your maximum. If you find that you’re struggling to talk while you run, you’re likely going too fast.
This includes before, during and after the run. A run shorter than 90 minutes long doesn’t require this step. However, once you break that mark, you’ll have burned through your ready energy and will need more if you don’t want to suffer for it. Keep carb-rich foods handy so you can fuel up as you run. Aim for between 30 and 60 carbs per hour for a run of 1.5 to 3 hours. After that point, make it 30 to 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour.