How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW

How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW

One day I decided to learn how to run long distance. It took courage to walk in that running store to buy a pair of shoes.

At the time, I never raced before, but out of the blue, I was struck by a sudden wave of inspiration to run my first marathon.

Why did I choose to start with the marathon distance?

I wanted something more out of my life, something more out of myself.

I never waited for permission from anyone.

There was a big race in the Fall. I signed up for it, leaving no other option but to take the starting line.

…I was hungry.

The first few weeks of training were tough. But as soon as the whole running thing “clicked,” I fell in love with the miles and never looked back.

When I ran my first marathon, more things seemed possible.

When I ran my first 100 mile ultra marathon, EVERYTHING seemed possible.

Life is too short.

You’ll never feel 100% ready to become a long-distance runner. And there’s always some level of uncertainty before running a new distance.

In fact, when you think about it, there’s a level of risk in everything we do. In life, it will always take a leap of faith to reach your goals. It will always require a jump into the unknown.

Therefore, that leaves me with one question to ask you.

The question is this…

If taking a chance is always required, then why not take a chance on yourself?

The right time to learn how to run long distance is never yesterday. It’s always now.

So, are you ready to learn how to run long distance?

If so, read on, as you may surprise yourself with how simple becoming a runner can be.

RELATED: The Long Run: 11 Tips For Becoming A Better Distance Runner

How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW // Long Run Living

Take A Step

Here’s the good news: if you’re not a runner yet, there’s only one step required to become one.

And when I say “step,” I mean that literally.

Seriously…becoming a runner takes only one step forward in your first run, and POOF…you’re a runner.

There’s no specific mileage to hit, no test to pass, no approval needed.

Whether you run on the road, treadmill, or trails, the recipe is short, and the outcome is always sweet. Meaning, all that’s required is lacing up your shoes and a little forward motion. That’s how you become an official “runner.”

Don’t ever let someone tell you differently.

RELATED: 10 Incredibly Useful Running Tips For Beginners

How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW // Long Run Living

Going The Distance

Becoming a runner is one thing, but learning how to run long distance is another. So if you want to take part in races like 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and marathons, well … that’s going to take a bit more stepping.

Although the path is a bit longer, I can tell you from experience that it’s surely worth the extra focus and effort. Because here’s the secret:

The real reward isn’t that you cross the finish line. Instead, it’s that you BECOME the person who can cross the finish line, and that kind of achievement is yours for a lifetime.

Can you see it?

Picture yourself running a half-marathon with your friends. You cross the finish line and proudly put that finisher medal around your neck. What a role model you’ve become for your family. Not to mention a pretty awesome finish line photo for your album. 

Or visualize the moment you cross the finish line of your first marathon. Think about how much your body improves, and with it…your life. Plus, you get one of those 26.2 mile stickers to put on your car bumper. Not a bad way to travel.

And although running is typically viewed from the outside…the real reward comes from the inside. 

When learning how to run long distance, you’ll gain an enormous level of confidence. As a result, you develop a new attitude that transfers into your everyday life. Your health, career, relationships, finances, and contributions can improve far beyond your wildest dreams.

Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world, and running will be the tool towards joy and happiness.

Consider the possibilities!

With that, it’s time to start your long-distance running journey TODAY.

In running you will have bad days and good days, slow runs and fast runs, hard race and easy races, but you will only have one journey…YOUR journey. The following tips will help you map it out and pave the way.

You will soon realize that becoming a long-distance runner isn’t as difficult as you thought, and it doesn’t take long to quickly improve. In fact, there are simpler and shorter paths to running longer mileage, and all you need is to make the decision…the decision to make it happen.

Are you ready to get started?

If so, then keep reading as I lay out the framework to learn how to become a long-distance runner. 

And if you’d like to take the shortest path to run long distances, read My Running Journey: 101 Long Distance Running Tips To Pave The Way. Inside the pages, you will receive 101 long-distance running tips to jump-start your journey, including…

Getting Started: the essentials for any beginner

Mindset: build mental strength for longer mileage

Training: expert advice and beginner running schedules (5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon and 50k)

Technique: run farther with less effort while avoiding injuries

Nutrition: fueling strategies for before, during and after every run

Gear: the right gear for better performance and safety

Racing: the know-how for crossing the finish line

Injury: prevent and treat the most common running injuries

Mindfulness: transcend limitations to run longer

Choose an option below to start your journey…

Click here for the eBook version on Amazon.

Click here for the Paperback version on Amazon.

Without further Ado, here are the 12 tips to learn how to run long distance and get started NOW. These same tips are found in My Long Distance Running Journey.

12 Beginner Long-Distance Running Tips

How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW // Long Run Living

#1 – Make A Clear Decision

Do you know when your long-distance running journey really begins? 

No, it doesn’t start at the beginning of your first race, not in the week building up to it, and not even at the start of your first training run. So when does your running journey actually begin?

Becoming a runner starts when you make the decision to become a runner, and in that decision is where your future is shaped.

Understand that when I mention a decision, I mean a real, solid DECISION. No “what if’s,” no partial commitments, no one foot in, one foot out. 

I’m talking about a clear and decisive decision to become a long-distance runner. If you’ve already made that decision, then guess what? Your journey has already begun. 

Remember this: Partial commitments kill more running goals than injuries ever will.

So make a clear decision, go all-in, and never give yourself a way out. Excuses will come to stop you, while inspiration will come to propel you. Either way, you have a decision to make. Make it with your heart.

#2 – Narrow Down the Goal

There is power in clarity when working towards a new goal—running goals included. That’s why you must know exactly what goal you wish to achieve. 

Most people have goals like “I want to run faster,” or “I want to run farther,” or “I want to lose weight.” As you can see, these goals are broad in nature. They have no real direction. There is no specificity—that is, no bullseye to aim for.

It’s like shooting darts with a blindfold on.

Make your goals specific. Broad goals deliver broad results, whereas specific goals deliver specific results.

If you “sort of” run, then you will become “sort of” a runner. However, if you establish yourself as a runner and know the exact distance you wish to run, you instantly become a better runner

You become better because you are more efficient. All your effort works towards that one goal. Now you gain efficiency, thus making more progress, and progress provides more motivation to run, thus reaching your goals even faster and naturally becoming the long-distance runner you know you can be.

Simply put, decide on the EXACT distance you want to run. If you want to run a 5k, decide on it. If you want to run a half-marathon, decide on it. If you want to run a marathon, decide on it. 

Remember, My Long-Distance Running Journey provides training programs for the following distances: 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, and 50k. So all that’s required of you is to make a real and concrete decision. 

Make it now.

#3 – Take a Single Step

If you want to become a long-distance runner tomorrow, then consider yourself a long-distance runner today. 

When you first start running or move up to a longer distance, it can sometimes be intimidating. It takes courage to walk outside and run for the first time, or to show up on race day morning.

I remember the morning of my first marathon, thinking, “I’m no marathon runner.” Yet I found the courage to do it anyway. Remember…courage isn’t when you are fearless. Courage is when you are scared or worried but find a way to achieve your goal anyway. 

It takes time to understand the truth about running. The truth is that any person can become a runner, and any runner can run any distance.

So start calling yourself a long-distance runner right now. It’s as easy as saying “I AM a long-distance runner,” and taking your first step. Do this, and a runner is who you become.

We get so caught up in not considering ourselves runners, based on the standards of others. Well, guess what? You know what the best part about becoming a runner is?

It’s easy! 

As mentioned earlier, you literally only have to take one step, and POOF, you’re a runner. The term “runner” is subjective, since it’s based on your own individual perspective. 

If you consider yourself a runner, then you are a runner…PERIOD. So walk out the door, move your feet forward, and run! 

#4 – Get Fitted for Shoes

First, if buying a new pair of running shoes will cause you any procrastination, then use whatever running shoe you have. What’s most important is heading out the door and moving your feet forward. 

Then, when it’s most convenient, work on finding the best running shoe for you.

When shopping around, it shouldn’t be about the fun new features that the company is advertising. Instead, it’s about finding a shoe that’s right for you. 

I highly recommend visiting a local running store to get fitted by a professional. Running stores assist new runners daily. They will provide a shoe that’s best for your stance, stride, and step. 

Know this: running shoes have the potential to help or hurt you. When running long distances, you need a shoe that supports your footstrike. Otherwise, the farther you run, the greater the chance of pain and injury. 

It’s essential to determine if you have flat, neutral, or high arches and find a shoe to support it. Do this, and you will run greater distances without hurting yourself.

Please note: it’s beneficial to use a shoe with extra cushion when you first begin long-distance running. Extra cushion will absorb some of the excess shock that comes naturally from running longer distances. 

When choosing a cushioned shoe, the specific mileage you plan on running isn’t important. Your feet and the rest of your body will gradually adapt. 

Your body does not know miles, it only knows stress. 

Distance is relative to your current abilities. Let’s say a half-marathon hurts your feet now, but then you run a marathon. When you go back to run a half-marathon, your feet will most likely feel great. 

Like every other part of your body, your feet stress, break down, and grow back stronger. So find a shoe that fits properly and be sure it comes with extra cushion as well.

RELATED: The Complete Beginners Guide To Running Gear

How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW // Long Run Living

#5 – Start Short to Run Long

The most common distances for long-distance runners are 5k (3.1 miles), 10k (6.2 miles), half-marathon (13.1 miles), and marathon (26.2 miles). There are even ultramarathons that go beyond the marathon distances. 

The ultramarathon distance is where I spend all my time. It’s where my heart resides. The standard ultramarathon distances are 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile, while some events are even longer!

I’ve run over 100 ultramarathons in a short period of time. Races as long as 100 and 200 miles in length. I fell in love with the long-run, and if you desire, you can too! 

I can’t run those miles for you. No one can. But what I can do is hand you a pair of wings and teach you how to fly. Ready for take off?

Click here to read My Long-Distance Running Journey: 101 Long-Distance Running Tips To Pave The Way and take flight. 

When becoming a long-distance runner, first concentrate on running a shorter distance. This way, you can set what you perceive as a real and attainable goal. 

Basically, you give yourself better odds of following through on training. Plus, running won’t seem so overwhelming. That’s versus shooting for a bigger goal like the marathon right out the gate. Sure, your first race can be a marathon, but you’ll want to set smaller goals along the way. 

By setting smaller goals, you allow yourself to achieve many smaller victories. This fuels your motivation and drives you to continue running. Soon, all those small victories add up to one giant success. 

Then, one day, you become an experienced runner who’s made extraordinary progress, and it hits you…

You realize that every one of your goals was reached not one race at a time, but one step at a time. What a humbling experience running can be. 

As an ultramarathon runner, I go as far as using races as training runs. While training for a 100-mile ultramarathon, I may sign up for a 50k and a 50-mile race for training purposes. This way, my smaller achieve­ments are races which provide a greater sense of accomplishment. 

In this way, every smaller race eventually leads to one giant race-day performance.

So if you want to run your first marathon, you may sign up for a 5k, 10k, and half-marathon, and view them as stepping stones to your ultimate goal: marathon race day!

#6 – Run Flat First

When you first start running long distances, run on flat terrain. Whether that’s on the road, treadmill, or trail. 

Your body needs time to adapt to running as you learn how to run long distance. You want to place stress on your body gradually. As a result, your body will break down and grow back stronger. 

However, too much stress at one time and you can become increasingly sore, or even hurt yourself from overextending a joint or ligament.

Here’s the thing: elevated surfaces provide extra resistance. This forces your body to stress more, and as a new runner, this can backfire. 

One of the most common reasons new long-distance runners give up on their running goals is due to burnout. Too many hills at once have the potential to do just that…burn you out. 

That’s why I recommend you start out running on flat surfaces. More level terrain is consistent and easier on both the body and the mind. 

After you knock out your race goal, then add in some elevation. Eventually, your hill running muscles adapt, and you develop enormous strength and stamina for running uphill. 

But first, keep things simple by keeping your surface flat. Take the path of least resistance until you gain some experience, and then explore your options.

#7 – Build Your Base

Start by running slow. Pace yourself. Don’t worry about speed. 

Running too fast as a new runner can cause injury. You need time to build your base. 

When you run at a slower pace, you are performing aerobic activity. Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” 

Aerobic activity is what builds your running foundation. It’s when you’re not breathing too heavily, you can hold a conversation, and are primarily burning fat as fuel. 

Your body needs to strengthen its aerobic foundation if you want to learn how to run long distance. Your aerobic foundation is your physical stamina; it’s your endurance. 

Here is where you will strengthen your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and aerobic muscles. These are the critical building blocks to the foundation of your long-distance running body.

Think about it, would you build a house on a shaky foundation? 

Eventually, speed will come, and you can build your skyscraper, but first, build your base by increasing your endurance. 

Find a pace where you can still hold a conversation without losing your breath—and stay there. After you gain some endurance and cross a few finish lines, then start working in speed.

Run at a slow and easy pace 100 percent of the time to start. Find motivation in the miles, not pace. 

Think about it: what’s the point of being a fast runner if you can’t hold it over long distances? Yes, there are sprinters, but your goal is not to become a sprinter, your goal is to become a long-distance runner. So first things first, build your stamina, build that solid foundation, and reach your distance goal. 

Don’t ever forget this: distance will come over time, but if you rush, then burnout or injury will come in no time at all.

#8 – Rest More and Run Less

One of the major issues that runners face is running too much. Yes, runners run way too much. I know, it sounds a bit counterintuitive, but stay with me. 

Many runners develop an injury every year. Whether it’s one that puts you on the sidelines or an irritation managed through a brace, ice, or ibuprofen, still, an injury develops.

Above all, do you know what most consider to be the number one running injury? 

The answer: overuse injury. 

And overuse injuries stem from…yes, you guessed it: running too much! 

When learning how to run long distance, we sometimes believe that the more we run, the farther we can run. However, if we run-run-run, then we stress-stress-stress. As you can see, with a heavy emphasis on running, there is no room to heal and grow.

Endurance doesn’t increase during the actual act of running; it happens when you are resting. You grow when you recover—that is, when you rest. 

Without rest, there is no growth. That’s why it’s essential to rest more and run less. 

Moreover, running too much will also lead to exhaustion. If you’re new to running and begin a training program running 5-6 days per week, exhaustion is a guarantee. 

That’s if an injury doesn’t take you out first. 

So, avoid injury and fatigue by focusing on recovery. Rest and recovery are essential for running longer distances.

To help, follow a beginner training program. I recommend the programs in My Long-Distance Running Journey. Inside the pages you receive training programs for the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, and 50k distances. 

This way, with each new run, you start with a recharged pair of legs and a clear mind, ready to continue forward on your long-distance running journey.

#9 – Choose the Surface Outfront

The freedom of running takes us to many different places and on many different surfaces: road, sidewalk, dirt, grass, sand, track, and treadmill. 

There are various surfaces to choose from when learning how to run long distance, but know this: no same surface is created equal. Each surface to choose from has its own set of pros, along with cons.

So what type of surface should you run on first?

The answer: the surface on the other side of your front door. 

If your house in on the road with sidewalks, then start on the road. If it’s in a woodsy area, then start on the trails. If it’s on the beach, then start on the sand. 

Still, make sure the surface is relatively flat, but the point is to not make your training run a big ordeal. 

As a runner, you will soon realize that the most challenging part of long-distance running isn’t the distance of your run, but what’s most challenging is the distance from your bed to the door. 

By running on the surface type found on the other side of your front door, there’s less hesitation to combat. This creates a smooth transition into each training run.

#10 – Model Other Runners

If you want to be the best, then use the best as a guide. No matter what goal you have, most likely there’s someone who has already accomplished that goal. 

So, find a person who can run farther, learn what they’ve done, and use the same strategy. If you do this and go all-in, then you will see similar results. 

Reading My Long-Distance Running Journey and following the tips and training programs provided is a perfect example…

I went from a non-runner to running one of the longest distances in the running world: 200 miles. Running long distance is my specialty. 

No, I’m not a professional athlete running at top speeds and standing on podiums. I work full time and have a family. So, because of my intense passion for running into the unknown, I’ve developed very useful strategies for reaching extraordinary distances with little free time. 

I don’t tell you this to impress you—no, not at all. I tell you this to press upon you that, YES, learning how to run long distance is possible, and YES, you can do it too.

Finding another runner to use as a model will save you a massive amount of time. For example, let’s say you want to qualify for the Boston Marathon once you gain some experience. Simply find a runner who has qualified and buy their training program. You could even hire their coach. 

Why waste the time of trial and error? Why try to reinvent the wheel? You can find an effective strategy by doing a quick search. Just hop online, find a runner who has qualified for the Boston Marathon, and ask what plan they are using. 

Why not take advantage of social media and learn a thing or two?

If you have little time to train, then read my book A Runner’s Secret also. In this book, I provide my system for reaching any distance by running only one day per week. I personally used it to reach the 100-mile ultramarathon distance.

No matter what beliefs you hold about the world, the truth is, most people like to lend a helping hand. 

I know I do. 

People message me all the time and ask for help in running marathons and ultra­marathons. 

As I said, the long run is my specialty, and I happily help them any way I can. The point is that the answers are out there; all you have to do is ask.

How To Run Long Distance: 12 Tips To Get Started NOW // Long Run Living

#11 – Don’t Rely on Talent

Ever hear of the famous Italian painter Michelangelo? Michelangelo is widely known as the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance. He is the creator of the masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

So what does painting have to do with running? Well, although you may think Michelangelo’s artistry was a gifted natural talent, the truth is…

the guy worked hard. 

Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” 

Through hard work, he turned a hobby into his passion and his passion into his mastery. 

Regardless of his dedication, isn’t it easy to believe the creation of a masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel was from God giving talent? 

Well, when we assume natural talent towards someone else, it only provides us with an excuse not to work harder. But the truth is, we actually remember every one of the greats for their achievements because they practiced harder than anyone else. 

Work is stress; work is struggle; work is unbearable adversity. Yet in those moments of struggle is where your greatness is born.

So guess what? 

It takes hard work to learn how to run long distance. It takes waking up when you’re tired. It takes going out in the morning when it’s frigid. It takes pushing past exhaustion, and then doing it all over again. 

If you want to run longer then you have to suffer, you have to stress, and you have to work hard. 

Remember this: it’s not in how many races you finish, it’s about how uncomfortable you are willing to get. The secret to progress in your struggles.

#12 – Take a Chance

I remember signing up for my first regular marathon years ago. It took an enormous amount of courage. I remember the hesitation I experienced to just put my name on the list. 

At the time, my longest run was 14 miles in length. Before I signed up, I went to a nearby track and ran 20 miles. 

Wow, do I remember how my legs hurt afterward! 

In addition, when I signed up for my first ultramarathon, it was 50 miles in length. There was really no rhyme or reason to when I was ready. 

When I think back, there was no real level of comfort before signing up. I just ripped the Band-Aid off, entered my name, and decided on race day I’d just keep moving forward and hold on for dear life.

Here’s the thing, I was never truly ready to race any new distance. At some point, you have to just give it a go. 

But isn’t that true for all new goals? 

Even becoming a parent for the first time. No matter how many baby books I read, I don’t think I was ever truly ready to be a parent. 

Yes, I wanted to be a parent very much, but did I feel ready? 

No, I don’t think so. 

At first, even simple tasks like changing my son’s clothes were a challenge. You would have thought I was trying to put together one of those 100-piece furniture sets. Sticking those squirmy arms through a shirt hole was no easy feat. 

Now, after several years of parenthood, I can change a diaper, fill a bottle, and read a bedtime story simultaneously like a pro. 

I’m now like a conductor leading an orchestra in perfect unison, but instead of saxophones and flutes, it’s bottles and diapers. 

Well, I like to believe so—however, ask my wife and she may tell you different.

Either way, you’re never fully ready to race. Showing up on race day will take a chance. So no, you don’t have to be completely ready, but you do have to believe in your abilities, and most importantly, believe in yourself. 

Believing in yourself is what bridges the gap between the impossible and the possible. However, you must believe…start believing right now. 

Experience The Power of Long-Distance Running

You can join the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of runners that race every year. These are the people you see running along the road, down sidewalks, and on the treadmill at your neighborhood gym.

Those runners, as well as myself, will all agree: the benefits from long-distance running stretch far beyond what you could ever imagine.

Whether it’s a healthier body, an increase in energy, or an unbreakable mindset. Long-distance running can do all that to a person…and more.

Are you ready to start your long-distance running journey today?

Here are ten great reasons you should consider reading My Long Distance Running Journey: 101 Long-Distance Running Tips To Pave The Way

1-It’s jam-packed with proven secrets, tips, and techniques that have helped thousands of runners reach new distances.

2-It introduces you to all aspects of the running world— from what you need to know about nutrition… to different types of gear… to taking the right steps on race day to ensure you cross the finish line.

3-Each and every tip comes from my own personal journey. You sure learn a lot on your path from running a few miles on a treadmill to competing in 200-mile ultra marathons!

4-The beginner training programs allow you to start right away. You actually “run while you learn”… so you can begin increasing your endurance as you break into racing quickly.

5-You avoid countless years of trial and error. This way, you follow the shortest path to running long distances. Time is your number one resource…and now, you’ll have plenty of it.

6-Even if you’re not interested in racing, the running knowledge you’ll gain from this book will help you run for fun, join a running group/club, or become more fit on your own.

7-Everything written is geared to helping you succeed. No showing up to the starting line unprepared or unsure what to do.

8-Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner… you can complete the running programs. If you can walk and follow some simple, yet powerful techniques, you can create a body that enjoys the kind of fitness most people only dream about.

9- You learn how to develop a long-distance running mindset where growth becomes common practice in your running…and your life.

10-You will be a part of the running community! A place where anyone is welcome if they have the courage to begin. A place you can call “home.”

Simply put, My LongDistance Running Journey is your best path to becoming a long-distance runner. Let me help you become the runner of your dreams…

Click here for the eBook version on Amazon.

Click here for the Paperback version on Amazon.

Click here for the audiobook version on Audible.

Click here for the audiobook version on iTunes.

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