So you have decided to take up the challenge and put your name down for a half marathon or a marathon. But if you are used to running say, 10 kilometres per week, you will have to increase your kilometres.
However, do take note that you should not try and run more than your body is capable of in one session. Instead, you must slowly build up the kilometres in order to prevent injuries, which will sideline you completely from the race that you have been training so hard for.
Here are some tips on how to increase your kilometres safely.
Slow your pace down
You should try running slower than your usual pace. By doing so, you will conserve your energy and be able to last a much longer distance than you usually do. What is a slower pace? You should be able to talk to your running buddy without panting or having to catch your breath. Alternatively just try saying a few words to yourself and see if you can string an articulate sentence together without panting.
Build up your kilometres slowly
This is a very important rule that you must follow, especially if you are training for a marathon or ultra-marathon. You need to set aside several months to train and slowly increase your kilometres.
Do not suddenly jump from 10km in one week to 20km the following week. Even though you think you’ll be able to do it, your body won’t be able to cope and you’ll only end up putting yourself at risk of injury.
A safe amount to increase your weekly kilometres by would be no more than five kilometres per week, if you are training for a marathon. Otherwise try to keep your increase to about a couple of kilometres per week.
Break up your long runs
When you are going out for your long runs, it may help if you do not just see it as one huge run. The distance may appear quite intimidating to you especially at the start. Instead, try to look at it as two or three short runs.
For example, if you are supposed to run 15 kilometres for the day’s training session, do not just see it as one long 15-kilometre run. It may help if you think of it as three five-kilometre runs, by stopping for a water break after every five kilometres. This is a psychological benefit because you won’t be as intimidated by the huge distance.
Walk if you need to
You should not see walking as “cheating” when you are training. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks to walk. After all, it is still a form of exercise and you are still reaping the cardiovascular benefits when you combine running with walking. So if you feel as
though you need to walk for a few hundred metres to catch your breath, just do it. Don’t see yourself as cheating, because you are not.
Refuel your body
This is especially important for your distance training sessions. You need to bring along something other than water to refuel your body during the run – try to do so every 30 minutes. You could bring along isotonic drinks containing electrolytes or perhaps a small snack, such as a banana or energy gel so that you will have the energy to complete your run.
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