7 Keys to Enjoying Distance Running

It’s often said that most runners are injured at some point in any given year. That’s why we need to do everything possible to prevent – or minimize – the risk we take in getting injured.

7 keys to enjoying distance running again
How you can get back to enjoying running

Let’s take me for example. In the 20 years I’ve been running, I’ve had multiple stress fractures, pinched nerve in my foot, IT band pain that lasted 4 months, strained calves, hip flexor issues, compartment syndrome in both calves/shins, “runner’s knee”, weak glutes, plantar fasciitis… And these are just the major issues I’ve had. That doesn’t incorporate the training I’ve missed because of sickness or small injuries.

That’s a long freakin’ list!

Staying healthy is the name of the game in running. #TrainwithMarc has 7 tips you can follow to keep on running!

Here are some tips and strategies you could use and benefit from when you begin to ramp up your mileage and get ready for a race.

Since I’ve been very unfortunate and have had so many injuries in my running career, I’m well-versed in what to do to prevent injuries (despite my own) and what you can do if you do get injured.


The Best Strategies to Enjoy Distance Running

Use cross training. Cross training is general term for anything that builds cardio without all the pounding. You can bike, swim, use the elliptical or stair-climber… or really anything that builds endurance but doesn’t include hard pounding that running has.

The 7 strategies you can use to enjoy distance running
The 7 strategies you can use to enjoy distance running

Change up where you run. Some days should be on the roads, some on trails, others on grass… Varying what surface you run on and the paces you run at can greatly reduce your risk of injury.

Change up your running pace. Some days should be super slow, others super fast. Have easy days to support your hard days and make sure your easy days are actually easy. Mix in fartlek running with tempo runs, intervals and long runs. Keep training varied and consistent.

7 things you can do to get back to enjoying going for a distance run
What you can do to enjoy running again

Use off days. Off days are days away from running, but not away from being a runner. On those days, you can still focus on recovery: stretching, foam rolling, self-massage, or icing. Taking care of your body on off days can help you recover and bounce back even quicker from hard running days.

Use strength training and flexibility exercises. Strength training will build up your muscles, tendons and ligaments to allow you to perform more quality work. You’ll be able to run faster and bounce back quicker. You’ll be able to run longer and use less energy/effort to perform that run. Similarly, flexibility exercises will enable your body to move in a fuller range of motion.

Back off training, if necessary. Periodization, in a nut shell, is when your training ebbs and flows based on the phase of training or portion of your (racing) season you’re in, races you plan on running, and the amount of work you’ve done before. Some say you should run 3 hard weeks and follow it with a down week. This is an example of a micro-cycle.

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Hire a coach to do the planning. A coach will provide the right amount of training so that you can get stronger, fitter, and faster. A running coach can suggest paces you should aim to hit in both training runs and races. Coaches will inspire you, motivate you, and keep you hungry for more!

Thinking about a coach? Marc offers 3 plans ranging from 3 months to 5 months.

The 7 tips you can follow to have an enjoyable distance run
The 7 tips you can follow to have an enjoyable distance run

Summary

Staying healthy is the name of the game in running. The more work you can do at a high level, the fitter and faster you’ll be. If you always have to take time off of running due to injury, you aren’t able to do the full training. By taking the steps above, you can not only run pain free, but you’ll thoroughly enjoy each and every run.

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Need a running coach for your next race?

A coach will create the training plan so you can focus on your running goals!

Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

Marc is a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!

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15 thoughts on “7 Keys to Enjoying Distance Running

  1. One thing I really need to do it to change up my running routes. I tend to just fall into a routine, which can get a little boring!

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  2. Kim at Running on the Fly October 31, 2019 — 11:35 PM

    Distance running is definitely my gig, but I’ve had to employ all of these tactics you mentioned above. My mind and body crave variety LOL

    Like

  3. Never Too Old to Lift November 1, 2019 — 9:07 AM

    Some great tips, thank you. It’s good to see you’re advocating implementing strength training into a program.

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  4. As I get older I am definitely listening more to this advice. Days off and cross training days have become more important!

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  5. A change of scenery usually busts me out of a running rut. I’m pretty good about cross-training but I don’t always do the exercises I need to.

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  6. These are definitely great tips! I was the best (most consistent) with running when I had my friend/running buddy to train with, but I tend to like the cross-training more! 😛 The change of scenery definitely helps though!

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  7. Yes, yes. Having someone hold you accountable is a great way to make sure you’re out for your run.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah, I love a new place to check out and “get lost” in.

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  9. Me too. I’m flexible with when I take days off, but I try and not do any more than 3 days in a row of running without a day off.

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  10. Yes, of course. Strength training is such a huge component of any plan I write/follow.

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  11. Heck yeah! I hear you! Congrats again on your race!

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  12. Definitely switch it up, or at the very least, do your normal route backwards.

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  13. Distance is my jam. I prefer long, lovely runs to sprints and speed. Sure, some days are hard and some days I really push, but I am very much at peace when I go out and run all the miles.

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  14. I like mixing it up; fast some days, mostly slow days though. Trails, grass, and gravel if I can find it.

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