Building up to a longer run
With the Birmingham half marathon over many runners may now be thinking, well, what next?
I asked Mike Shelton what he did after doing the marathon (26.2miles) last spring and if he had any tips. This was his answer:
‘After enduring another painful marathon experience this year, a running buddy said to me “Maybe the long distances aren’t for you”. Yet barley six months later I was completing a 50k off road ultramarathon. Winning the mental battle was key to making the step up.
When increasing your distance, there really is no substitute to doing the training. I didn’t use a Garmin (GPS devise) to measure my distance, but instead used time as a marker, moving from 2 to 3 to 4 hour runs, which were great psychological thresholds to conquer. If you can stay mentally strong, that is half the battle won.
Another key factor to consider is slowing down. My average speed was 2/3 mph slower in the ultra compared to my normal 10k pace and this helped sustain stamina over a longer distance. If you are able to hold a healthy conversation, it is a good marker that your body is not working too hard.
Also there is no stigma in walking. Runners tend to say ‘I can’t stop. If I do I won’t be able to start again’. In fact if you are building up to a 10k, half marathon/marathon, short stops for a walk (eg up a tough hill) will not only help you recover, but also to train your mind and body in adapting to this. I trained with hourly stops to buy a drink and come the day of the race, was able start running again fairly quickly after each walking stop.’
Well, Mike, that sounds fantastic – just a point about the walking – mixing walking and running is a great way to build up distance however – we have a mantra at SE Fitness ‘love those hills!’