How to Increase Running Distance


Whether you are training for a marathon or a 5 km, you probably are interested in increasing your distance. Many runners make the mistake running further and further each day, often to the point of injury. Instead, it is safer to build your distance up over time, as this article outlines.

Things You'll Need

  • Stopwatch or watch that allows you to count minutes
  • Running shoes
  • Select one day out of the week that will be your long distance day.

  • On your chosen day, set the stopwatch for 10 minutes.

  • Run for 10 minutes. It is important to run slower than you normally would. The goal is to increase the length of time it takes for you to run your usual distance.

  • Walk briskly for one minute.

  • Reset the stopwatch and repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you have covered the distance you usually run. This will take longer than usual.

  • When you have completed your usual distance, run at an easy pace for an additional 10 minutes. This is your new benchmark distance for the following week.

  • Continue to increase your distance on your long distance day each week. Understand that 10 more minutes is a reasonable increase. After five or six weeks, decrease your distance by 1/8 and allow your body to readjust.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may find that your sneakers are not adequate for longer distances. If necessary replace your sneakers to those better suited for the task. Weight training and stretching will help your body adjust. If the one minute brisk walk is too short, you can increase to two minutes and/or slow down to a normal pace. If a 10 minute increase each week is too long, try increasing five minutes instead. If you are concerned about "hitting the wall" in long distance running, meditation is effective. Varying your runs during the week (fartleks, tempo runs) will help your distance running. Get adequate rest before and after your long distance day. Take a day off running before and/or after the long distance day.
  • Never run while in pain. It is better to quit and run another day than to be injured for many. Knee pain is a sign that you are training too hard, too quickly. Cut back the distance and run more slowly. Resume training at a slower pace.
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