So you want to run long distances. Perhaps a friend talked you into signing up for a race, or you’ve decided to exercise more, and running doesn’t require a gym or special equipment beyond a good pair of shoes. Whatever the reason you’re here, David Reagan – personal trainer and avid runner from Atlanta, shares the basic principles of long-distance running that could be useful regardless of the race and your long-term running goals.
The first (and essential) step to safe training is building a base. For a beginning runner, building a base can take around three months. The good news is that it’s not complicated: you go out and run, and work your way up in mileage. Run three to four times a week, and start with whatever goal works for you. If you start at a mile, do that for a week or so before moving up to two miles. Slowly build up to about four miles per run. These miles are often called easy miles because the only goal is to keep running, it doesn’t matter how fast. They probably won’t feel easy, though, and that’s okay! The first part of running is the hardest; once you get into shape (and the routine) it will be a lot easier.
Once you have a base built up, it’s time to make a training plan. Each plan will depend on your goals. Training for a marathon is different than training for a half-marathon, but the basic concepts are the same. Plans will differ based on your time goals, as well. For the first big run, many people choose not to make a time goal, which can make building a plan easier as it’s about distance instead of time. There are three main components of a training plan. (more…)