5 Critical Tips for Increasing your Running Distance
Running is one of the most popular ways to exercise. But it’s not an easy task. Starting to run and/or working your way up to a certain distance takes time and strategic planning. If you jump the gun and increase your daily or weekly mileage too fast, you may end up injuring yourself… and then hindering your progress for a lengthy period of time (trust me, I’ve been there!).
While I don’t call myself a running expert, I have taken myself from couch potato to half-marathoner twice, and taken myself from social walker to 5k and 10k diva more times than I can count! I’ve done a lot of trial and error, and I want to share my tips and experiences in hopes to help even one person reach their running goals.
1. Pick a race.
There’s something to be said about the old saying, “Keep your eyes on the prize” When you pick a race, you’ll have that date in your mind, and you’ll be visualizing “the prize.” What better way to motivate yourself to push past your comfort zone than having an event?
2. Create a calendar or a plan.
Fail to plan = plan to fail. If you have a calendar, you can split that big goal into attainable weekly goals. When I was trying to increase my mileage and work my way up to a higher mile race, I’d increase my “long run” day by one mile every 1-2 weeks. For example, I’d look at my calendar to see how many weeks I had until race day. If I was working my way up to a 10k (6.2 miles), I’d do 6 miles for my long run the 2 weeks prior, 5 miles for my long run the week before that, 4 miles the week before that, etc, while doing shorter runs on my other running days.
3. Don’t wear old, worn-out shoes.
This one is more important than you might realize… When I first started running, I was putting 15-20 miles a week on shoes that I’d had for maybe 2-3 years. I didn’t think much of it at the time until the pain in my feet, ankles, calves, and knees made me put running on hold. Running shoes are made to support your stride (and different running shoes support different types of strides). The more you run in your shoes, the less effective they get. It doesn’t happen overnight but over a long period of time.
I’ve been wearing Mizuno’s for the last year for my running days. I’m rockin the Mizuno Wave Rider 21‘s right now because they make my runs better… and here are my top 3 reasons why they’re my favorite running shoe:
- I don’t get heel blisters if my socks slide down. There’s cushioning on the heel, which 1) helps my socks stay in place and 2) keeps my heels from getting irritated.
- They’re really breathable. It is extra wonderful when you live in Georgia and it’s hot most of the time!
- My foot feels supported but the shoe isn’t heavy. A lot of shoes that brag about how much support they give the foot feel HEAVY and almost like your foot is weighed down. I hate that. These Wave Rider 21’s aren’t heavy but they still provide the right amount of support.
4. Foam Roll, Massage, Stretch.
5. Celebrate every single victory.
Running is hard. SO HARD. But so rewarding. Had a bad day but you still got a short run in? GO YOU! Ran .25 miles more than you thought you could? HECK YES. Didn’t feel like you were going to throw up after a hard run? SLAY. I think you catch my drift. You are AMAZING because you are taking steps to better yourself. Celebrate YOU.