If you are wanting to increase the length of your runs, whether that's from being able to run from half a mile to one mile, 3 miles to 6, or even further, here are some suggestions that we recommend.
1. BE PATIENT. We want to increase fitness progressively. Look at increasing the length of your longest run by no more than 1 mile maximum each week, for those running under 8 mile as their longest run and by no more than 2 miles each week for those running more than 8 miles as their longest run). That's right...no more than 1 or 2 miles! We've all heard of the warriors that do hardly any training and do a few 3 mile runs and the odd 5k before doing a marathon one weekend, but it's not always pretty. They finish and we think they do amazing but at some point they get injured despite showing amazing determination and extreme jumps in distance. Allowing for steady, manageable increases in distance allows time for adaptation. The body needs time to adapt and changes take time. Trust the process: if you are consistent and just aim for small steps you will go further. Recovery is key and for this to occur, you need to be patient. If your longest run is 2 miles, then look at slowly building to 3 then 4 over progressive weeks; avoid trying to make a jump from 4 miles to 10 miles too quickly; big jumps can often result in injury. This applies to all abilities of runner. If I am starting a marathon build up, I may be running 10 miles as my longest run at the start, but to start running 20 miles plus comfortably takes around 8 weeks. Small steps all add up if you are consistent.
2. GET FRESH. If you're wanting to run longer than before make sure you're rested. That means having a few easy days before your longer run, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, drinking adequate fluids and not running too much or doing something hard in the days before a longer effort. Try to do a longer effort when you feel fresh. Don't do a long run too soon after another long run. You should allow 5 days to a week between your longest runs.
3. PROMOTE FITNESS GAINS. After your run, that's when adaptation and improvement starts. Have some quality protein within 30mins of your run (shake, banana, oatbar) and try to do some stretches to make sure you start the recovery process. Have an easy day after your longer run to promote adaptation.
4. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP. Things might not always go to plan. It's inevitable that there will be days where you go out and don't feel great. You might go out for a run and just feel dreadful. That's OK. If you feel like this and don't want to continue, have a break. That's normal but accept that you will probably have a great run next time. This happens more often than people think.
5. SET YOURSELF A GOAL. Write down a target of what you want to achieve. Eg. xx miles in one week/month. FITWINS offers monthly distance challenges and you can learn more about these here.
6. CONNECT WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Running with others, physically or virtually, can motivate you to run further as you will encourage each other to succeed. You can run with others virtually too by creating your own running groups with the FITWINS app or join our community
If you follow these steps, you should become able to run further, with less fatigue and feel stronger, fitter and even faster. We've heard of many success stories of people who have gone from not being able to run for 10mins to being able to run a marathon, by being consistent.
Stay positive, set your goals and smash them. #teamfitwins
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