Are you determined to improve your overall fitness, do you want to complete a half marathon, or do you just want to increase your chances of making it to the bus that didn't stop at your stop? No matter what your goal for coming here, with the right dose of preparation, perseverance, technique and patience, you will be able to run longer!
Method 1 of 3: Running longer
Step 1. Remember stretches and warm-ups
It can be tempting to just start running, but preparing your body is important for best results. A good warm-up will reduce your chances of getting an injury.
- Warm up your muscles for 10 to 15 minutes before starting your workout. Start walking and gradually increase the pace, until you start running for real.
- If you're going to stretch before a run, do so after warming up, as stretching works best on muscles that are already warm. Some people recommend avoiding stretching before training, leaving it for later, when the muscles are already quite supple.
- Stretch your hamstring muscles (the hamstrings) by lying on the floor and lifting your legs straight. This is a better option than just standing up and trying to touch your feet with your hands, as you isolate the muscles being worked on. Hold the position for about half a minute.
- Stretch your quadriceps by pulling your legs behind your body. Hold for about half a minute.
Step 2. Do interval workouts and plyometrics
You need to be more efficient at using oxygen and moving your body so you can run longer. Some specific training can go a long way towards improving your running effectiveness.
- Interval training involves running at high speed for short periods (usually 30 seconds to one minute), interspersed with equivalent periods of light walking. For more details click here.
- Interval training increases your VO2 max, which is the efficiency at which your body uses oxygen to turn calories into energy. Improving efficiency through more intense runs will benefit your ability to maintain a lighter pace to run for longer as well.
- Plyometric workouts involve a series of exercises such as jumping rope, jumping while standing in place, jumping on one leg, and jogging with your knees up. The idea is to increase the strength in your legs so that your feet spend less time in contact with the ground while running. This way you reduce friction and become more efficient.
Step 3. Focus more on time than rhythm
The idea is to train your body to run for a specific period of time that you define, not the distance you will cover in that time. Over time, you will be able to improve your pace.
- If you're just a beginner and can't run for half an hour without stopping, take a few walking breaks in the meantime. Don't stop until you reach the 30-minute goal, keeping your body prepared.
- Find a rhythm that you can maintain indefinitely after you get past the beginner stage.
- Keeping a light pace can greatly reduce the risk of injury.
Step 4. Follow with training
Research a few running programs to find one that suits your needs, whether it's an eight-week beginner plan, or increasing your distance 10% weekly, or running 800 meters to prepare for a marathon.
A variety of exercise programs can help reduce the risk of injury while combating the boredom that can arise when doing the same workout over and over again. When you're fed up with the same exercise, you increase your chances of skipping a training day
Step 5. Vary your aerobic workouts
To be able to run for long periods of time, you need to increase your cardiovascular endurance, but it's important to break the monotony and let your legs rest for a while; alternate running with swimming and cycling for variety.
- Swimming is a lighter exercise that can give your sore feet and knees from running a break while exercising your cardiovascular system. In addition, you will also exercise your torso muscles.
- Cycling is also a lighter workout on the joints, giving the exercises a good variety. You can also use the bike for an interval workout, mixing faster and slower stretches.
- Rotate the days, running one day and swimming or cycling the next, especially if you feel pain during the races.
Step 6. Have patience and determination
"Slowly if you go far", the famous saying went. The chances of you being injured are greatly increased when you try to force your body too fast. It is better to take it easy than to push yourself too hard and suffer an injury, delaying all training.
- Don't expect immediate results and don't get frustrated that you can't go from a sedentary lifestyle to a marathon in a few weeks. Remember that your goals should be long-term and that even small achievements increase your stamina and overall health.
- Still, if you don't try to push yourself a little, you'll never advance in training. Strive to reach your daily goals even when you are tired and sore. Unless you're injured, you should push yourself and bear the pain a bit.
Method 2 of 3: Running Fast for Greater Distances
Step 1. Pull iron
Weight training can benefit runners who want more endurance, but it's even more important for those who want to run faster. Speed-focused races need a lot of strength in the muscles of the entire body.
- Do strength training a few times a week, interspersed with running training days.
- The phrase "no pain, no gain" speaks a truth, because you have to force the body to build muscle; still, you should be careful not to injure yourself from overexertion. Your focus should be on building lean mass, not becoming the new Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- The important thing is to build your leg muscles with stretches, leg presses and other such exercises. Still, you should strengthen your abdominal and shoulder muscles, as the movement of your arms helps give you momentum. Remember to do sit-ups, leg lifts, bench press and shoulder presses.
Step 2. Find the right place to train
To practice a simple run, all you need is a decent treadmill or sidewalk. In the case of sprint races, there are a few different requirements.
- A running track is your best option as it is flat, has distance marks and a shock-absorbing surface. In the absence of a clue, look for a flat spot at least 40 meters long.
- A football field will help keep your feet and shins from strain, while a paved space can protect your heels or knees from injuries. Do some tests with different combinations to find out which option is best for you.
Step 3. Warm up and stretch
As with distance running, start by walking at a slow pace to warm up your muscles.
- Try doing some dynamic stretches after warming up. Unlike static stretches, dynamic stretches are done with the body in motion, such as walking 20 meters. Try walking on your tiptoes or lifting your knees.
- Dynamic stretches are more intense than normal stretches, but that's the idea. By running them for a few minutes after warming up and before training, you'll certainly be able to run faster.
- Be careful with dynamic stretches as there is an increased risk of injury.
Step 4. Learn the correct techniques
Sprinting takes all your energy, so don't waste anything on incorrect strides and wind resistance.
- Try running with the balls of your feet instead of your heels. Not everyone agrees that this technique is more natural or can cause less injury, but it seems to be better for sprinting because it reduces the contact time between your feet and the ground.
- Don't take too big steps. As much as it sounds like step sizes help you get farther faster, taking fewer steps results in less power. The goal is to take shorter, faster steps to maximize strength and minimize resistance. Find a comfortable stride size that doesn't make you lean too far forward or backward.
- It's important that you lean forward a little to make your body more aerodynamic and less affected by wind resistance.
- Use your arms, bringing them forward and up, in sync with your legs. Bend your arms and close your hands.
- Remember to control your breathing. Many people hold their breath during physical exertion, which is not advisable as the body needs oxygen when running. Since there is no consensus on your breathing rate, it is best to find a pattern that works and feels natural to you.
Step 5. Don't try your hardest right away
After warming up, start running at an intensity of around 70%. Gradually increase until you reach your limit. The important thing is to avoid discomfort that could indicate injury.
- If you have a timer, try running for half a minute. If you are on a marked track, try to run for 200 meters. In the absence of both options, count about 125 steps per run. Increase values over time.
- Sprinting reduces oxygen to your muscles, which makes rest important. Start by resting for three seconds for every second of your run (rest for a minute and a half after a half-minute run). Stop until your breathing returns to the point where you can talk quietly. If necessary, rest for up to four minutes.
- Rest means walking, not sitting. It's important to keep your muscles loose.
Step 6. Increase your stamina
Once you've set up a good speed workout routine, start increasing your ability to keep pace for longer distances. The main methods include running for longer, resting for less time, and increasing intensity.
- Gradually increase your running time until you can maintain the pace for a minute or two. Increase about ten seconds per session. Also reduce the rest time between runs to a minute and a half.
- Instead of walking during rest periods, do crunches, sit-ups, or other strength exercises.
- Do more high-intensity exercise to improve your time. For example, place seven markers on the track at five-minute intervals and run between them quickly.
- Another option would be to place six markers at ten meter intervals. Run to the first one and walk to the rest. Then run to the first two and walk to the rest. In time, you will be able to run through all the markers. Rest for a minute and a half between sets.
- Run on slopes. Look for a slope that offers firm footing and continue with your training. This run will be more intense, so gradually increase your speed and recovery time. Over time, look for steeper slopes and rest less.
Method 3 of 3: Preparing the Mind and Body
Step 1. Set clear and precise goals
What do you want to achieve with the race? Be faster? Win competitions? Being able to chase your grandchildren in the backyard?
- Set tags that you can complete along the way. For example, running for 30 minutes, for 45 minutes, for 60 minutes, etc.
- Having clear goals from the start will help you stay motivated and steady in your training program.
Step 2. Assess your fitness level
Seeing a doctor is very important before you start running, especially if you are older, sedentary, or have an illness. A realistic exam will help you create a suitable training program.
Never assume you are too old or too out of shape. Virtually everyone can enjoy the benefits of running
Step 3. Choose the equipment well
Gearing up to run is not a very expensive investment, but a necessary one to increase your efficiency and reduce your risk of injury.
- Buy running shoes. If possible, visit a sporting goods store to choose a suitable shoe in the right size. Just like a car with bad tires, a runner's performance depends on the shoes.
- Buy light, moisture-absorbing clothing to keep your body cool and dry in hot weather. For colder days, it is necessary to opt for light clothes that facilitate perspiration, using layers to keep warm. Buy socks that keep your feet cool and dry. In the case of women, it is also important to invest in sports bras.
Step 4. Maintain healthy habits
To get the most out of your workouts, you need to "fuel" your body well and cut back on unhealthy habits.
- Running burns a lot of calories, so eat energy-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains - basically everything you should be eating every day. The lean proteins present in chicken, fish, beans and yogurt are also excellent options. You don't have to change your diet to become a runner, but it's important to be healthy.
- Drink lots of water. Hydrate before, during and after your workouts.
- If you smoke, you better stop. Quitting smoking is usually a good idea, but it is essential for those who want to run, as smoking damages the heart and lungs.
Step 5. Set up a schedule
Set aside time to run instead of trying to fit the exercises into the little free time you find. Each week, set a schedule for your runs, including program variations, warm-up time, and stretches.
If you can visualize how the elements of your program fit together, it will be easier to see how important everything is. That way, it's going to be harder to convince yourself to skip a day of training
Step 6. Find motivation
Chances are you'll start your workouts with a lot of enthusiasm, but that will pass over time as results take time. Look for some ways to stay motivated longer without giving up.
- Train with one or more people. The camaraderie and competition are great for us focused and motivated. Training with a partner can help you keep your races up to date.
- Visualize your goal while running. Imagine running with your brother on the beach while on holiday at the end of the year or crossing the finish line of a half marathon. Obviously, be careful not to get lost in thought and run into someone.
- Listen to music. Does listening to some heavy metal help you get into the right mindset for running? Try different styles and see what works best for you. Still, it's worth emphasizing that music cannot become a dangerous distraction.
- Enroll in a marathon for charity. The further you advance in training, the better you will do on race day. Practice and help others!