We received a question from Sean L. this week, “How do I run further? I’ve been running on a treadmill at the gym and have started running outside but I just can’t seem to increase my distance past 2 miles.”
This question hits on several important points that people struggle with: drive, progress, and methodology. Since Sean has a defined goal of increasing the distance he can run, we can approach this with a clear definition of what we want to achieve. The drive to run further has to be there. Progress tracking is key to seeing results. Coming up with a competent methodology will allow Sean to improve his distance running.
Run outside. Running on a treadmill can be really boring or even cruel if they have the food network on. Running outside can be far more interesting and will help keep the drive up to run further. There are tools you can use such as MapMyRun to track how far you ran, or plan routes to run. You can find places that have spectacular views to enjoy during your run and keep you interested in running.
Get a running partner. Find someone that can hold you accountable, push you, and that you don’t want to let down. They can also be part of a conversation, or at least snippets of speaking between laborious breathing. You may even be able to convince them to do things like drop you off a certain distance from home so you have to run home.
Enter a race. This provides a concrete time and distance which you will have to do. The competition wont hurt and neither will the party atmosphere after the race. Chances are you’ll get a t-shirt as well and meet some potential great friends.
Track your progress. Just like with lifting weights, it is imperative that you keep track of what you are doing. It makes it easier to push your limits if you know what they are. Last time you ran 1.5 miles, then this time you have to run at least 1.75 miles. Just track how far you ran and how long you took on that route. Focus on increasing the distance. As hard as it is to hear, nothing will help you run further more than running further.
A big part of improving in just about anything is psychological. Getting past that maximum distance can seem like an impossible task. Challenge yourself. With endurance type activities especially, skeletal muscle adapts in order to deal with the stress. By continually pushing yourself you can increase the stress applied and the adaptation to this will continue to improve your cardiovascular health and abilities.