How Do You Increase Your Running Distance Safely?

You need to increase your distance to take part in races.

You need to increase your distance to take part in races.

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

Bananas are a good source of fuel for runners.

Bananas are a good source of fuel for runners.

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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  • NWS says:

    Good simple tips for increasing distance!

    Just to add on that for some long training runs,either the distance or the time taken will also be a determining factor (i.e. a target distance of 30km to clear or to be able to run for 3 hours continuously).

    Walking is definitely a good recovery method if one is not used to constant pace jogging or running.So no shame in doing so.

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