4 Ways To Improve Your Running Distance

Image by: Timothy J Carroll
By Kurt Garrity

Daily runners know the frustration of hitting “the wall,” that hard-to-define, technically invisible barrier that keeps you from extending your distance and thereby reducing the effectiveness of your exercise.

Well, if the Berlin Wall can come crashing down and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters can still tour with his amazing production of The Wall, me thinks we can do something about your imaginary friend.

OK, it is not imaginary, nor is it your friend. But were still gonna do something about it. Try this quartet of suggestions for breaking on through to the other side. Translation for the classic rock impaired: These methods will help you improve your run distance.

1 – Improve Your Stretching Routine

Hopefully you already warm-up before you head out on the highway. But maybe you should seriously evaluate your warm-up to see if you can’t tweak your routine to gain more distance on the other end.

Maybe those muscles wouldn’t fill up with lactic acid so soon if you properly stretched your calves, thighs, upper thighs, hammstrings and groin.

Also, stop 1/3 of the way through your run and do another round of stretching. Repeat again at the 2/3 point.

2 – Add Strength Training

If you were to add even a short session of strength training as little as three times a week, your distance will surely improve. Do some quick reps with a decent amount of weight, whether on a machine or using free weights. Be sure to work both legs and arms.

It is a good idea anyway to mix strength workouts in with your running, as most runners neglect strength … and most strength junkies forget about cardio.

3 – Run A Course

Running aficionados say that it is better to run a one- to two-mile “loop” than to do one big long run every time. Since I stopped running long distances a few presidents ago, I will have to take their word for it.

This plan – if carried out in a well-populated area such as a neighborhood or a park – also allows you to know where bathrooms and water spots are available (you can also stash a water bottle or sports drink somewhere on the route as well).

And hey – you can easily reach somebody in case you are badly hurt, which happens never.

4 – Skip The Back-To-Backs

Most likely, the second day run of a back-to-back will result in a less-than-peak performance, including shorter overall distances. Also, you are more susceptible to injuries when you push your body when it should be healing.

That’s right – your body needs to heal after any endurance race, and any run you consider “long” probably qualifies as such.

And let’s face it – if you are long-running back-to-back-to-back-to-backs, you are not running for something, but from something … and the longer the distance, the farther away you are from your problems. So there’s that.