It’s getting to that time of year when everyone’s brushing the dust of the trainers, and taking to the beach or parks for a run. Running is a brilliant way of improving fitness, aiding weight loss and a great excuse to get off the sofa and out of the house, but everyone always wants to know one thing “how do I run for longer without stopping?”.
Why you stop running?
This comes down to what is know as “the point of muscular fatigue”. This is when you are no longer able to maintain steady and constant muscle contractions, and once this kicks in, the legs start burning, heart rate increase, breathing rate quickens and you eventually stop! When this happens depends on factors like fitness level, speed, incline, energy levels, distance and hydration. Improving this isn’t just as simple as running until you feel sick! There are techniques to help you run faster for longer!!!
Make the most of your arms!
Running isn’t just about your legs, generating power through your arms is key to going for longer. Bend the elbows at 90 degrees and really focus on driving forwards and backwards with your hands. Moving the hands will help generate power with the upper body and core, and give you more power in the legs!
Sprint interval training.
These sessions won’t be as long as your normal running session, but will be packed with more intensity! Short hard runs mixed with periods of very slow jogging for rest. For new runners this can be done with 200 meters of sprinting with 45 seconds of slow running for recovery, and then repeat until the end of your set distance. As you get better and feel more confident, begin to increase the sprint distance in 100 meter increments, or keep the intervals the same and increase the overall distance depending on your goals!
In the gym!
Building muscle strength in the gym can help when running. Extra leg strength and power means your stride becomes longer! This doesn’t mean you have to stick 200kg on the squat bar and have legs like a bodybuilder. Things as simple as box jumps, lunges and light squats for a few sets of 20 reps, a couple of times a week can add as much as 21% more endurance when running!
Getting your longer runs right.
Its good to have a longer run once a week, this will normally be 75-85% of your competitive distance. So if your training for a 10km run, training at 8km will be perfect. For marathon runners your long run would be 17 miles. These runs go hand in hand with intensity though. Going to easy too easy won’t give you the goals you’re after, and going too fast you will burn out before the end. Going at 80% of your fastest pace will get the best results, and still leave you something in the tank for a sprint finish to overtake your friends. 😉
Food and Drink.
An hours run on a warm day, you can lose over a liter of sweat! Being dehydrated will affect performance and cause fatigue to kick in sooner! So make sure you have plenty to drink before, after and even during! Your body uses energy from food to keep your muscles going, so remember to eat before and after your run. It can be tempting to go running on an empty stomach when trying to lose weight, but if you run out of energy you’l have to stop sooner, and if you stop sooner you wont be burning as much fat as if you were still running! Eating properly after training will help recovery, and the sooner and better you recover,the quicker you’l be out running again! Read more on sports nutriton.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Stretching after training reduces the risk of injury and keeps your body supple. Flexible legs means a longer stride and that means going further! Make sure you listen to your body, its not hard for those little aches and pains to get worse. When you do have them, take a break and take it easy. These are normally a sign of going too hard too soon, so remember to ease into your training and slowly progress over time. If your injured, you can’t run! Fact! Read more…on recovery from exercise.
So just remember no matter what level your at with the right training and recovery you can improve! So whether training for a 5km fun run or the next London marathon, you’re all runners!!!