8 Ways To Maximise Your Longer Runs

Long runs are key to getting stronger and faster. Here's how to make them count!

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1. Slow your pace

You’ll save energy for those bonus kilometres by slowing your pace. You should feel comfortable and able to carry on a conversation. A good rule of thumb: Add 90 seconds to two minutes per one-and-a-half kilometres to your normal pace. Don’t forget to build up your other muscles too, try cross-training to change up the pace a bit.

2. Add kilometres gradually

To keep injuries and burnout at bay, tack on no more than two to two-and-a-half kilometres at a time. (For marathoners, add no more than three to five kilometres per week.)

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3. Do one long run per week

Pick a day to tackle a new distance (weekends tend to work best for most people). You don’t want to feel rushed to complete your run, so make sure you set aside enough time to get it done at an easy pace. Every three to four weeks, scale back your long run distance to avoid overtraining.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Enjoy Longer Runs

4. Go ahead, take walk breaks

You’ll still reap the endurance benefits of running non-stop. Before you know it, you’ll be able to run from start to finish.

RELATED: Walk to Strengthen Muscles

5. Fuel the tank

On runs longer than an hour, bring along fuel that’s rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes. To keep your energy level consistent, start fuelling about 30 minutes into your run and refuel again every 15 to 20 minutes. Ease into it to train your stomach, and experiment with different products. Not sure what to fuel the tank with? Try these 16 healthy (and yummy) pre-run meals and snacks.

6. Break it up

Mentally, that is. Segment your run into manageable parts so that you’re not intimidated by the full distance. For instance, a 24-kilometre run could be thought of as three eight-kilometres. Struggling with hitting the wall? Try these mental tricks to push through the pain, and keep moving!

7. Run a looped route or on a treadmill

Consider running a one- to two-kilometre loop so you can stay close to fuel, bathrooms or the finish line. You’ll avoid getting stuck far away from home on an out-and-back run or long loop if you need to quit unexpectedly. If you’re on the treadmill, set the incline to 1% or 2% to better simulate overcoming the wind resistance of running outdoors.

RELATED: Three Hill Workouts for the Treadmill

8. Be patient

Building endurance takes time. As Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon, put it, “Hurry slowly. Move ahead, but be patient.”

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