For the past seven weeks this has been happening…
It took time, and the motivation of Lily coming to visit me in order for me to feel ready for another half marathon. The last two I ran were mental struggles, so I’m pleased to say that taking time (even if short) to just run for fun was enough for me to bite the bullet and sign up for my sixth half. I also ran this half last year, and it was one of my most memorable races (right up there with Disney) so I just had to run it again, and this time with Lily! I can’t wait to see her…
I hadn’t run over 4-5 milers in a good few months, so I had to come up with a few tips to mentally get myself back into running “longer” distances. I chose the above “novice” training plan because I loved it so much when I used it for my first race. Up until week five of the training plan everything was a piece of cake. Multiple runs a week felt great, and 4-5 milers were a cake walk. Once I hit the 6 mile Sunday I knew it was time to get a game plan for the next seven weeks.
I also went hiking (here) the day before the 6miler, which was brutal.
Tip #1: Switch up your route – I’ve been running the same roads over, and over, and OVER again for years now. For anything over 5 miles I know mentally it will be better for me to switch up my route. Running in new places is always a fun time.
Tip #2: Have energy bites waiting for you when you’re done – Or any food for that matter, it gives you something to envision when your stomach starts to yell at you. I also like to stuff dates in my shirt. (The edible kind, not the male variety. Those are nonexistent.)
Tip #3: Don’t get discouraged if you need to walk – I used to think my run was a fail if I had to walk even once. Now if I need to walk I do. Sometimes I think I walk more than I should, but whatever it takes to finish the distance! It’s very mental for me.
Tip #4: End your run at the market – Similar to tip #2, knowing your car is parked waiting for you in the lot of your favorite local market gives that extra boost of motivation. The endless possibilities for a snack post run are pure adrenaline.
Tip #5: Run early – Self explanatory, the quicker you get it done the quicker it’s over.
Tip #6: Pick a place of zen to relax at when you’re done – Along with envisioning dancing cookies and piles of avocados at the market post run, knowing you have a spot to sit and zone out after destroying your miles makes the run go quicker. I choose places like quaint coffee shops.
Tip #7: Remember why you’re running – Running 13 miles on an untrained body hurts like hell, so whenever you think about quitting at mile 6, 7, or 8 think about how it might feel to get hit by a bus if you stop. Put in the work now, and it will be easier later.
Tip #8: Drink lots of this…
Tip #9: Eat all the food the day before – Seriously, stuff your face because you’ll need it the next day. My favorites are nut butters, chips, and chocolate…all together. I’ve noticed eating MORE the day before and LESS the morning of makes for easier running (for me.)
This also leaves more room for post run snacks.
Tip #10: If all else fails, find a nice spot to sit -Like a random couch on the side of the road…
Sunday I ran my first 7 miler in a while, and it was fueled by two cups of Anniversary Blend, chocolate banana bread for dinner the night before, 120 oz of H2O the previous day (and more that morning), a sweet potato medley for breakfast, and a stellar mindset.
Ohh it’s so good to be back.
Q: What tips or tricks do you follow for longer runs (or other workouts) after being away for a while?
45 thoughts on “10 Tips to Get Back Into Running “Longer” Distances”
Lauren @ ihadabiglunch
My favorite tip is not being ashamed to walk. I had the same attitude as you did forever – if you walk, you didn’t actually “run” five miles. What a load of bull! We’re so hard on ourselves sometimes, huh? And about the coffee…if I drink coffee before I run I am literally a mess. I won’t get too TMI but woof it’s no good. BUT there’s nothing better than coming home to a cup of coffee after a run 🙂
Amen!! Oh, and as a runner…it’s NEVER TMI. I totally get it. I like to make sure everything is…out…before I run so the coffee helps there. 😉
I’m the worse at getting back into a routine. I was doing really good with hitting the gym and then life/travel happened and I still haven’t been back. Blah!
Your tips are fanatic!
I’m using the exact same training plan right now – I used it last year for my half, and it seriously delivered… Even though I skipped a day or two here and there 🙂
I always use the find somewhere awesome to run trick and try to time it so my long slow run’s halfway point is at the most beautiful spot. Then I can chill and refuel a little before I work my way back.
I definitely switch the schedule around a bit, and skip some runs for other things. I find that as long as I get the long run in and run a few times in the week I’m OK!! I love this plan!
Those are good tips. I’m not much of a runner, but after reading this I feel more confident thinking I might be some day.
These are exactly the kind of tips I need as I try my hand at running (again). Thanks for sharing! It will be good to hear how your training progresses and how the half goes, so keep us posted. 🙂
Amy @ A Desert Girl
Haha! I’m glad you’re not stuffing male dates in your shirt for these runs…. 🙂 I need to remember the “it’s okay to walk” tip. I think that I think that I have to run the entire distance and then it’s miserable and I don’t want to get back out there. Where is the “fresh-brewed inspiration for the day ahead” mug from? Starbucks? I like it!
YES, it’s a Starbucks mug (of course!!) It was actually a summer mug, but just went on sale so I HAD to snag it!! They also had two other options with different writing, so cute.
SO true about choosing different routes! When I was training for a half (which I never did because I hurt myself 3 weeks before), I’d only do one long run per week, so I’d change the route every time. I loved looking at the different houses and scenery as I went, and it definitely distracted me and helped the miles go by faster! (Although I’m 100% positive I didn’t actually run any faster… If that makes sense…) It’s why I now love running in big cities whenever I go to a new one: seeing the place on foot is way better than by cab or subway, and I can cover a lot more ground compared to when I walk! 😉 Good luck on this one lovely!!!
YES even if I don’t actually run faster, mentally the run flies by when I switch it up!! I totally get it. 🙂
Personally I got hung up on the chocolate banana bread…we might have to make that soon in our house!
I love tip #9 the best 🙂 and I always think slowing down and being humble with a slower pace helps mentally and physically. I always try to think, “go the extra mile.” And then I think about how blessed I am to even be able to run. Ya get me?! Love this.
Sometimes I bring dates, apricots or raisins for a snack on the run. Having a post-run snack ready is something I like to do, too.
Matt @ Runner Savvy
I live for long distances 🙂
YOU NEED TO BLOG ABOUT IT! HAAAH! I need a running update.
di @ life of di.
I plan to use a Hal Higdon plan next spring 🙂 I’m hoping to run my 4th half marathon next fall and I know that I’ll have to build that stamina back up. I think the best tip on here is not being afraid to walk a bit. There’s no shame in slowing down and backing off a bit – I just need to keep that mindset and not be discouraged 😉
You run in five-fingers? How is that? I always figured it would kill my feet because I need a lot of support! I agree that a good breakfast waiting for you at the end makes the run feel better as well 🙂
Prepare for a novel in 3…2…1…
SO, when I first started running I used the five fingers. This was YEARS ago, but I was never going more than 3 miles. Then I started running more and decided a legit pair of sneakers were necessary, so I got a pair of Asics. I LOVED them, but then a year later they were discontinued and I had to try a different model. I liked them, but never really felt like they were the perfect fit.
When I run in the Vibrams I never have any complaints. I would only run a max of 5 miles in them out of fear for my knees, but honestly I’ve never had any problems. If anything my legs do BETTER in them.
WITH THAT SAID, I plan to finish my training AND run this half in my five fingers and see how it goes!! I ran that 7 miler in them and the only “problem” I had was one of my calves was tight. Nothing a good foam roll can’t fix. I just do much better in minimalist shoes I am finding and as long as you work your way into them I think they are amazing!! The problems arise when people don’t ease into the shoes and expect them to be magical on their own, but that’s how the injuries start! I def recommend them if you think you would enjoy running in minimalist shoes…they are like a glove and SO comfortable. Not awkward at all. I’ve also been running in this SAME pair for like six years, opposed to switching out my sneakers every 6 months…soo….just saying. HA.
I follow a lot of this tips you propose 🙂
I love running to a restaurant/grocery store/place where there is food to reward me for my hard work 😀
The Vegan 8
#7 LOL!! Yes. Getting hit by a bus would be very bad. You are such a rock star gorgeous girl. You are beautiful, a bad ass hiker and a runner…you are really admirable and I love reading your posts. They inspire me! I need to try those bites too!!
Have I mentioned how much I adore you?? You are too good to me my friend. 🙂 The feelings are ALWAYS mutual, you inspire me in the kitchen SOSOSO much.
Change of Pace
Yay for another a half, and with a friend! It’s so tough to run the day after a big hike!
These tips are awesome. I like the end at a market one! I’ll have to try that sometime.
I’m taking my post injury return nice and slowly. I’m up to 7.5 miles now but might stay here for a while to make sure it feels ok!
7.5 miles is a PERFECT spot to hangout!! Legit miles.
Rach @ This Italian Family
I am totally with you on knowing that I’m coming home to delicious snacks after a great workout! 🙂
Davida @The Healthy Maven
No tips or tricks from me! I’ve been pretty lazy these days but if really loving walking counts then I think I’m sort of good for something!
glad you’re getting back into enjoying long distances, and hope your training continues to go well. wish i could run w/ you!
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
It’s not so much that I need to get back in to running long distances, I just need to start. Still building my way up.
These are such great tips and I’m sooo excited for you! I registered for SeaWheeze which means I’m running my first half next August! I’m super excited and planning on focusing completely on feeling comfortable and just finishing.
Your tips are really helpful, because the longest I’ve ever run is 12km (half a half marathon), and I’m really looking forward to running this one!
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who puts dates in my shirt! I almost never have pockets when I’m running, so if I want fuel I’m either holding it which I find to be annoying or it’s down my shirt. Luckily, I don’t share fuel with other people so they don’t have to worry about my boob sweat getting over their food!
HAHA I know, I don’t normally have pockets either. The shirt just always works.
The Zen Kat
End the run at a market? Sounds like a stellar idea. Or just skip the run, walk with a friend and eat donuts at the end. 😉
GiGi Eats Celebrities
BALLS are enough to motivate me to RUNNNNN! That and someone chasing me with a…….. flopping piece of bacon….
Lucie Elizabeth (@CollectingLight)
ahhhh im so envious of you but also super proud! One of my goals over the next few years is so run a half marathon! You go girl!
Choc Chip Uru
You inspire me to start running… while I eat.. while reading your posts in bed 😀
But inspiration is half the journey!
Choc Chip Uru
Arman @ thebigmansworld
Can I still eat all the foods the night before and watch a long distance running competition? Bet it still counts.
If I was a runner, I’d have balls (of both kinds) on hand. ar har har.
Khushboo Thadani (@KhushbooThadani)
Seeing as the last long distance I ran was in June during my trip in London, these tips are very much appreciated…and remind me of the amazing sense of achievement after a long run! I am the same with you about walk breaks- I used to think they meant I was a weaker runner but now I just embrace ’em…so long as I continue moving, it counts!
#3!! I think i dont run as much as i could/should because I ALWAYS have to walk and therefore ALWAYS feel like a failure. Since i dont like doing things i always fail at, i tend to avoid it. I think i just have to change my perspective on it though. These are all great tips!!
so true about how switching up your route can make all the difference, and i love the idea of parking the car at the market. i always end up running the same old path since i always leave from my house – but if i left from different markets – well, something new 🙂
I am a big fan of the walk-run method! Especially when it’s hot and humid (like most of my runs this summer) it helps sooooo much. And switching up the route makes runs a lot more fun. I have a specific trail system I run on but I always park at a different spot so I’m not always running the same path.
These are such great tips! I definitely needed these after I stopped running post-half marathon haha. It was REALLY hard to get back into it!
I love this post SO MUCH and really needed to hear it! I’m going to finally get back to running in a couple weeks and I’m so excited. I’m going to be a huge giant wuss though. I love, love, love all of your tips! I get so sick of my same routes and I try not to get discouraged when I have to walk (I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of walking when I first start out.) I loved what you said about water/vodka too. Too funny!!
Matt @ Runner Savvy
Great tips! I live for long distances 🙂
Ten tips huh? Very smart my little SEO bunny. So proud of you, and THRILLED you’re finding your passion for running again. I giggled at how much of it is caught up in food. Hey, do what makes you happy right, especially if it involves exercise and eats!
thanks for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for reminding me that I wanted to start running again. I used to do 8 k 3 times a week… about 2 years ago… 😦 Your tips are perfect to get me started again!! ❤