Whether you run long distances every week or are aiming to run a half marathon one day, everyone should follow these long distance running tips. They are here to help keep you safe and healthy, even when the finish line seems far off. Most of these suggestions are perfect for when you’re actually racing but remember to read in advance and get prepared.
Get Energy from Carbs
Your body uses carbohydrates to produce glucose, which then becomes glycogen. Your body uses this for energy, helping you when running. People’s diets are mostly formed of carbs when leading up to a race, so that their bodies are stored up with ready-to-go energy. This doesn’t mean that you should just eat carbs however. About a week before the race, start to introduce more carbohydrates into your diet (e.g. porridge for breakfast, an extra bread roll at lunch, pasta for tea, etc). This allows your body to begin storing glycogen, ready for race day.
If you’re thirsty, it means you’re already dehydrated. It’s so important to drink water when your body is losing a lot whilst running. Dehydration can be really dangerous, especially if paired with warm weather. Carry a water bottle or make use of water stations if you can. You will truly thank yourself for it.
Be a tortoise, not a hare. It’s so important when running to focus on your own safety, rather than trying to beat others. To be able to pace yourself, get to know how your body works and what makes it work best. Set goals of running certain amounts in certain times comfortably. You can then find your rhythm and continue this for the rest of the race. You will be comfortable and confident for the entire distance then, rather than trying to sprint and not making it very far.
Fuel Up Mid Run
It may seem easier to skip this step and just power on but giving your body an extra burst of energy can help you get to the end of the race much easier. It is recommended to begin to refuel 30 to 45 minutes into your run, allowing your digestive system to do its job and give you the energy you need. These regular top ups also help your glycogen levels get back to normal. Everyone has different food favourites, some choose nuts and dried fruits, and other go for chewy, sugary sweets for an instant sugar hit. When training, workout what works best for you, and go with that on race day.
Get a Good Pair of Trainers
Your feet do more work than you think. When running long distances, you are hitting them against hard ground for long amounts of time. By spending money on good quality trainers, you are protecting your feet, helping your overall performance. Find trainers that are well made and have a good sole. You will thank yourself, especially if you will be running over hard, uncomfortable and rocky terrain. Good trainers are worth spending a little more on, they will help prevent blisters and injury, improving your running experience.
Don't Skip the Post Run Recovery
Once you’ve finished a race, it may be something you don’t want to attempt again, but that doesn’t mean you should just stop. Running can be hard on your body, so you need to care for it and help yourself recover after you’ve passed over the finish line. After the race, rehydrate your body. This is so important, especially when running long distances. Take time to cool down, through walking and stretching. This helps your muscles relax. Do light exercise the next day, just so that your muscles don’t become tighter, leading them to not healing well. Finally, rest. Having a good night’s sleep is so important.
We hope these tips will come in handy whether you’re an expert or a novice. Ready, set, go!
What are your tips for running long distances?