Whether you are just starting out or have been running for a while, there will come a time when you decide to tackle a longer distance. The suggestions below may help you approach tackling a longer distance.
- Take it steady: We were all raised on the tortoise and the hare story. Taking it slow is a smart strategy even if you are training for a marathon, since long runs, no matter what the pace, prepare your body for the feeling of running for so many hours while increasing your stamina. Worry about how fast you are running later. The primary objective when tackling a longer distance for the first time should be being able to complete it. Time can be improved during shorter tempo runs and sprints. Get your body used to working for longer.
- Try a negative split: Negative splits can help your body warm up safely and help you recover after you run quicker. To do negative splits, run at a slower pace during the first half of your run, and then pick up speed for the latter half. It helps conserve energy for the later parts of a longer run.
- Walk-run-walk: Try running intervals with walking breaks. This may actually help you have a faster time overall. Introducing walking breaks into your long run helps you prevent leg fatigue by distributing effort across all muscles. Walk breaks can also help you recover from your long run faster, which is especially important if you need to fit in several runs a week. I used a ratio of running for four minutes and walking for one when I was starting out and still revert to it sometimes when I am wanting to change it about a bit.