Long Distance Running – How to Run Longer Without Getting Tired


One of the most challenging aspects of running is increasing the distance you can cover in a single run. Whether you are new to running or an experienced and competitive runner, learning how to run longer can be difficult. This is because running past your maximum distance involves pushing past the pain barrier and learning how to tackle the mental side of running. 

While pushing your limits to run a longer distance is undoubtedly difficult, it is much easier if you understand how to do so sustainably and safely. This is where we can help! 

We will explain how to run longer without getting tired or risking injuries. These proven strategies and techniques will help you train your mind and body to reach new distances and smash all of your previous personal bests.

How to Run Longer – Top Tips & Techniques

Learning how to run longer will require you to blend various techniques. It also takes time and patience to improve your long-distance running capabilities, so taking things slow is essential, as is not letting yourself become discouraged.

If you begin incorporating the following tips and techniques into your training efforts, you will see results.

1. Always Warm Up Before Training


This is one of the most important tips in this guide, as increasing your running distance can easily result in debilitating muscle injuries if you do not warm up properly. If you don’t warm up your muscles, you can also develop temporary issues, like muscle cramps, which could bring your run to an end prematurely.

While static stretching has its place in the cool-down phase of your training, you should focus on active stretching before a run, especially if you are pushing yourself to run longer. Before you break into your run, begin with a brisk walk, as this will increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare your joints for the strain a long run will put them under. 

Dynamic stretching can also reduce your chances of pulling muscles during your run, so it is a good idea to take these precautions before you begin your run. Focus on the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and calf muscles.

2. Stay Hydrated & Fuel Your Run

Another critical component in learning how to run longer is learning how to prepare your body for the run. This means providing your body with fuel to push past those extra miles. Eating a balanced diet rich in energy-providing nutrients can help you maintain the energy levels required to run longer.

Staying hydrated is even more important, as muscle fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Dehydration can also lead to painful side stitches, which are often why distance runners cut their run short.

For the best results, ensure you drink water before, during, and even after your runs. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adult men need at least 15.5 cups of water a day to stay hydrated, while women need about 11.5 cups.

Remember, these are daily fluid intake recommendations for average adults. If you push your body with long-distance running and regular training, you will need to increase your daily fluid intake even more.

3. Use Interval Training to Increase Your Maximum Running Distance

Interval training is a great way to increase the amount of training you can cover in a single run. Maintaining a faster pace the entire distance can put pressure on your body and discourage you from continuing your run. During training, develop a running pattern, going at a fast pace then slowing to an easy pace, like a jog or brisk walk. Once you have caught your breath, increase your speed and reach your full running pace.

Continue this pattern throughout your training. You can also decrease the time you jog or walk as your running endurance and fitness levels improve. Not only is this great for improving your aerobic capacity, which is crucial to running longer, but it is also great for your confidence. 

If, for example, you have set a goal of running five miles, achieving that distance, even with intervals at an easy pace, will help give you the confidence that your body is capable of carrying you that distance. The key to using interval training to improve your long-distance running is to not come to a complete stop. Keep your body moving. 

If you progressively increase your running time while decreasing your walking and jogging intervals, you will become a stronger long-distance runner.

4. Incorporate Strength Training into Your Routine 


Another way to increase how far you can run is to strengthen the muscles carrying your body all that distance. This means you must build strength in all the major muscles in your legs, abdomen, and back.

While strengthening the muscles in your legs will help delay the onset of muscle fatigue when you cover greater distances, increasing your core strength will help with posture and form while you run. As we will cover next, proper form becomes even more important as you run greater distances.

There are plenty of different exercises you can use to increase your strength. Weight training is a great way to see results, but if you do not have a gym membership or the budget to purchase home equipment, you can strength train with your own bodyweight.

This guide to Strength Training for Runners is a great place to start if you are unsure which types of exercises you should be performing.

5. Focus on Your Form While You Run

Proper form is critical when running, but it is most important when running long distances. This is because running with the correct form will help you conserve energy and run more efficiently. As you would expect, using less energy when you run will allow you to cover more distance without getting tired.

Make sure you land on the midfoot or forefoot when your feet strike the ground. Landing on your heels is inefficient and will burn more energy and increase your chances of developing a painful running injury. You should also keep your shoulders relaxed and your head up.

While they may seem like minor details, these quick adjustments can make a big difference the next time you try to beat your best running distance.

6. Do Not Overtrain & Get Enough Sleep

While it sounds counterintuitive, training too frequently can do more harm than good when running longer. Overtraining can lead to injuries, as well as exhaust your muscles. 

Getting appropriate sleep is also critical, as it helps your mind and body recover between runs and training sessions. Not only is it good for recovery, but getting proper sleep is essential for keeping your mind sharp and motivated, which is critical for achieving your running goals.

Coming up with a training schedule that matches your current physical fitness level and running abilities is incredibly important when attempting to achieve any running-related goal. Other factors, like your history with injuries, age, and availability, will all play a role in determining a training schedule you can follow without burning out.

We recommend reading our running frequency guide – How Many Days a Week Should I Run?

Not only will it help you develop a suitable running and training schedule, but it will also help you avoid overtraining your body.

7. Wear the Correct Running Gear

If you want to run longer, you must ensure that you wear the correct gear. This means investing in a good pair of running shoes that support your feet and will not cause blisters and more serious injuries. It also means wearing cool, moisture-wicking clothing that will not contribute to overheating when pushing your body to new distances.

If you are still unsure of what you need, we recommend reading our guide to the Best Long Distance Running Shoes. This straightforward guide highlights some of the best options on the market today, and it also explains in detail some of the many benefits of long-distance running.

Final Words

As mentioned above, learning how to run long distances is a multi-staged process involving a wide range of techniques. If you follow all of the tips outlined above and make sure you increase your running distance gradually and sustainably, you will be able to achieve your goals, whether you’re training for a half marathon or just want to be able to go on a long distance run.

Remember, you mustn’t allow yourself to become discouraged. It is better to see small, incremental improvements during your training plan that you can replicate than to push your body to the breaking point to achieve a one-off personal best running distance.

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