777 Training Tips
A Beginner’s Guide to Long Distance Running
Training for any sort of long-distance running is tough and getting started can be the hardest part. A suitable training guide will be paramount to reaching your goal distance over the next few months. But, with so much conflicting information online where should you start?
It’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique and individual base fitness level, so don’t try and benchmark yourself with anyone else. This is your journey and there’s no right or wrong. Setting yourself a plan will be the first step to ensure you maintain a safe and healthy running routine.
Have a plan
According to Marathon Handbook, most training plans span from 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the distance you’re trying to achieve. A typical plan will usually require three to five runs per week as you gradually increase your kilometers. For those tackling a first-time marathon, three to six months is usually recommended before you take on the full 42kms.
There are a number of training plans online, but you can also design your own. The NY Times Running Guide outlines a basic formula for designing your own training plan. It is as follows:
- Train three days a week
- Run or walk (20 to 30 mins X2 days per week)
- One longer run or a run/walk (40 mins to an hour) on the weekend
- Rest or cross-training on your days off
- Building up to running at a conversational pace
- Taking regular walk-breaks
The Run-Walk Method
If you’re a new runner the run-walk method, or interval training, is a great way to get started. The method was invented by Olympian Jeff Galloway. However, this method doesn’t mean stopping when you’re tired. The technique involves taking brief walk breaks when you’re more refreshed, then running for longer intervals.
Taking breaks can assist you when training for a marathon or half-marathon to reduce the risk of injury and make training less grueling. However, this is just one method, some runners prefer not to stop and instead tackle smaller distances initially.
Apps to assist
There are some great apps available that can help you take the stress out of training for a long-distance run. Most enable you to track your runs, distance and pace providing you with a digital guide on your training progress. Here are a few to get you started:
- Couch to 5K Great for new runners who are just getting started. The app takes you from sedentary couch potato and transfers you into a runner.
- RunKeeper This is a straight forward and easy-to-use app that tracks your pace, distance, calories burnt and more. You can also discover new running routes through the app.
- Pacer Set on step-counting this app is a great launching point for those setting out on their running journey. Pacer works in the background and logs your activity throughout the day, giving you a better picture of your activity level.
- Strava This app is great for beginners and pros alike with in-depth GPS tracking and metrics available. It also shows you how you stack up against other runners on the same route.
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NB: This is a guide only and shouldn’t be taken as official advice. Please always consult a medical or health professional for individual advice.