5 Tips To Running Longer And More Effectively in 2013

by Nate Pennington

Woman Running: How to sustain health and weight loss goalAre you wanting to live more healthy and are on a limited budget? What better way of doing it than implementing running into your daily routine?

Running can lower your blood pressure and help you lose weight. It costs nothing outside of a pair of running shoes to participate in.

It is one of the healthiest activities you can do for you heart and overall well-being and it is simple.

Fortunately for runners, unlike your triathlon counterparts, we don’t have to buy expensive racing bikes and gear. We lace our shoes, put on clothes most of us have owned for years and simply go out and run. The roads are always open, require no funds to use.

A common problem that occurs as you start a running program is answering the question.

How do I run longer and more effectively?

You may be just starting or be a veteran in the sport. These five important tips will not only help you run longer but enjoy the sport and activity much more in the new year.

1. Let Go Of Things Out Of Our Control

A common mistake runners make is they spend too much time worrying about weather, past performances and measuring up to their expectations.

A great tip is to simply let go of focusing on areas of your training that will only complicate your running routine.

We can’t control what has happened to us in races or training in the past. We can control what happens to us in the future as athletes.

You are in control of how much sleep you get at night, your eating habits in the evening and how much rest you are getting between hard efforts during the week.

Take your energy away from the negatives and put them into other areas of your training that will only make you a stronger athlete.

2. Think Long Term

The best mindset to have in learning to run longer is be a believer in delayed gratification.

A general consensus is that we, as runners, should not increase our mileage by more then 10% a week.

This is a good rule.

There is no need to be in a rush. It takes approximately 21 days for any physiological adaptation to occur within the body. What does that mean?

The benefits of the workouts you do today will not begin to be seen until 3 weeks down the road so having a long-term mindset is a must.

While being coached at Malone University we would do our mile repeats for the cross country season starting at 85% of our max mile effort and remain there for three weeks.

Once that three week segment ended we moved to 88% until we reach 94% effort.

It is a specific training process and the body will adapt…but you have to be patient and let the fitness come to you.

If you’re patient, the results will come and the weight will melt off but you have to be willing to see it through.

3. Visualize

The great Billy Mills, the last American man to win an Olympic 10,000m gold medal was quoted as saying,

The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference, between reality or imagination

What does this mean? Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what isn’t. It only knows what we feed it.

This is why in subliminal training, when you feed yourself positive affirmations, your brain cells are activated to work in your favor.

Studies have shown that we have the power to re-wire our brain to work more in our favor.

You have heard the adage garbage in, garbage out. It is similar to the  law of attraction which states what we put our focus and attention on will be attracted to us.

Spend some time during your day, it could be 10 to 15 minutes in complete silence with your eyes closed, see yourself running that perfect race or at the weight you want to be at.

Your mind will work in your favor if your trust in this form of training. It begins in the mind before it is created in reality.

I wanted to break the 2.22.00 marathon barrier when I was still a 2.40.02 man. I visualized several times a day breaking that barrier.

My personal best at that time was 6.06 per mile pace for the 26.2 mile distance. How would I ever hold 5.25 per mile pace?

I saw myself doing it first in my mind and added in the work on top of that mental training and ended up holding 5.19 pace and running 2.19.35.

I can’t begin to tell you how important mental training and belief is.

4. Find A Massage Therapist

relaxed woman receiving massage therapy at a spaYou will be much more effective and will have the capacity to gradually extend the length of your runs by paying close attention to recovery.

Massage therapist is affordable and doesn’t cost a lot. You can find a license massage therapist for as little as $20 to $30 for an hour in some places.

A great option, if you live near a massage therapy school, is to let students work on you.

They need the hours and will not cost very much.

Massage therapy will help clear lactic acid, the by products that build up in your body, from your system. It is also a great way to lessen anxiety and depression.

Long runs are very stressful on the body and massage therapy is a great way to recover from your efforts. It is time and money well spent as well as affordable.

5. Break Down Your Runs Into Smaller Segments And Change Your Mental State

One common way of running longer is not looking at the run as whole but in smaller portions to be attacked.

If you have a long run of say, 10 miles, planned, it is much easier to think of the run in smaller segments then to focus so much on the duration and length of the run.

What do I mean?

Focus on running 2 miles at a time, instead of thinking ‘I am only at mile 2 and have 8 more miles to go‘, switch your thinking to ‘down two miles, 8 easy miles to go‘.

You can make running longer much more easier and effective simply by how you think while doing it.

It takes the stress off the training and makes you more economical on your feet by the thoughts your carrying as you do the run.

I do my long runs sometimes excess of the marathon distance. I would cause myself much undue stress by thinking of how far 30 miles is and questioning if I will be able to finish it.

It is hard to think of running 30 miles but much easier if thinking more in terms of ‘ten miles in, only 20 to go‘ or repeating ‘I am relaxed, fit and strong‘ over and over again.

The run is then turned into something else. Always remember you own your thoughts and regardless of the distance of your run, you are in control.

Don’t let the length of a run control you.

If you have done an 8-mile long run today, consider doing a 10-miler next week and gradually extend, over time, the amount of time you spend at your goal race pace.

This is the best advice in learning to race at the speeds you want to hold for your particular road race distance.

By the inch it is a cinch, by the yard it is hard. Focus on each day as it comes and you will be hitting new personal bests and enjoying running much more in 2013.

(Nate Pennington, is a 2.19.35 marathoner, US Army Medical Service Corps and founder of rundreamachieve.com.)

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