Running has become one of the most popular forms of physical activity, with over 54 million people partaking in it in 2013. Some believe that Jerry Morris was the first to bring jogging to the masses and he had once said that people thought he was crazy, when he would go running for 20 minutes, during the 1960s.
Nowadays, we see and hear about the health benefits of running everywhere, along with the positive impact of spending more time outdoors. Many people gain a fondness for the endorphin-releasing activity and want to take their running game to the next level.
Jogging in your neighborhood and running a full marathon are very different. To increase mileage and endurance, runners must set a transition plan, buy the appropriate running gear, and put in the necessary training to run a marathon successfully. With that said, success here is subjective. Whether you want to finish in the top 10 at the Boston Marathon or you simply want to be able to cross the finish line at your local half marathon, here’s how to approach long-distance running more seriously.
The Gradual Transition
Unless you’re already jogging longer distances, most people will want to start slow and build up their running circuits. Gradually increasing your mileage is the best way to avoid injuries and burnout. When first starting out, it’s important to set a gradual pace for yourself, if you want to take up running as a long-term commitment. There are many free beginner running plans available online, along with ones for intermediate runners. Laying down a great foundation by nailing your form early on is key for preventing injuries and increasing your pace, down the road.
Depending on where you live, you’ll need different specialized gear to help you run outdoors. In hotter climates, breathable, light fabrics are essential and comfort is key. Cold and rainy climates may require apparel made out of water-resistant materials and a good balance between warmth, breathability, and weight. Shoes are arguably the most important part of running gear and those who want to seriously train should go to a trusted specialized running store, to find the perfect shoes for their form, foot shape, and size. Many beginners make the mistake of purchasing running gear solely for the look, while actually compromising their performance. If you really want to succeed, make sure that you find the right running gear that will help you achieve your goals.
Find a Support Group
Running long distances can get lonely, if you’re always by yourself. Having a support group that can help runners motivate one another is a major asset and it can make the whole process a lot more enjoyable. Most large cities will have running groups that you can find through your local running stores, gyms, and other clubs. Running groups can be an especially great help for beginners, as more experienced runners can help guide new runners through the transition and education period. If you can’t find a running group, getting a training partner can also help with increased motivation and enjoyment.
Time to Get Tough
Through the grind of long distance running, you’ll find out the importance of mental strength and pain tolerance. Running a marathon alone requires a high degree of mental fortitude, but the training leading up to it may arguably be even tougher. Dealing with injuries, waking up sore and tired, and random dips in motivation are some of the many things runners have to deal with, in order to eventually successfully run long distances. Taking the time to properly warm up, cool down, and changing your lifestyle to aid your recovery time will help more than one might think.