So you have become a long distance runner? Good for you!

You are probably used to hearing how “crazy” you are for going out to “run for fun”. Am I right? I know, because I too love to run long distances and I’ve probably heard all there is to hear from friends, colleagues and aquaintances!

I admit that I have never run over 26.2 miles, but I do have a client that I’m currently training who is competing in the Midwest Superslam of Ultrarunning – this is five 100 mile trail races. Seriously!

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Crazy? You betcha, but what a great accomplishment! So, this phenomena of  “running for fun”, or reaching your “runner’s high”, certainly does exist, it just might not exist for all humans.

Those of you who think that you can just strap on a pair of trainers and head out for a run, are sorely wrong. It is also not something you can go and “wing”. Okay, for a 5km most people can “wing it”, but the longer the distance, the more consistent you have to be with your training.

Perfect your long distance running technique

My first tip is to invest in a good pair of running shoes. For your first time buying shoes, make sure you go to a reputable running store in which they can look at your gait, heel strike, etc and recommend the correct shoe for your specific distance.

Make sure you ramp up on your distance slowly. I cannot stress this enough. Pick a race for which you will have adequate time to train. If you already have a good running base, you won’t need as much time to train, but a typical training program for the marathon is 16-20 weeks.

long distance running technique_2

Running form

This is so important and can separate you from a mediocre runner to an amazing distance runner.

I am going to share with you a tip that my highschool cross country coach shared with me. When you are running, imagine that you are holding a potato chip with your thumb middle finger. What this does, is relaxes your hands. You certainly don’t want to break your precious potato chip and, by relaxing your grip, you relax the rest of your upper body.

A relaxed upper body is key for distance running. It is also imperative that you do not lean over or lean back. Proper posture, just like when sitting, standing or walking is key. Your core strength is also very important for your running posture.

I don’t mean go and do 100 crunches, although that can be part of it. I suggest doing back extensions, stability ball leg curls, mountain climbers, plyometric push-ups, etc. Having a strong core, or “corset” around your middle will keep your back and hips healthy.

Nutrition and water

Make sure you have adequate fuel during your long runs to carry you through. Usually, after 45 minutes of vigorous exercise your body needs to have its carbohydrate stores replenished. This can be through gels, food, drinks, water: just make sure you have a game plan that you know works before your big day!

Happy Running!

To read more about Rebecca Clem, visit her Expert Profile.

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