Summer is coming up!

That means is time to start running, right?

Well, for some of us I guess.

I love running.

I enjoy being able to be outside and experience nature, I enjoy the health benefits, and I especially love the fact that I can eat more food without feeling guilty.

I started running at about 15 years old.

I was terrible…

I could run maybe a tenth of a mile straight before my entire midsection was crying and I was huffing and puffing beyond control.

At the time, I had joined a weight lifting class, which I loved, but of course it involved a lot of running.

I remember my teacher saying, “If you can’t run more than a mile without stopping, you might as well drop this class.”

I didn’t want to leave this class, I loved weights…

So I had to get to reading.

There are many methods of increasing the length of your run. Some are obvious, some you may have never heard of, but the methods I am about to share with you are 100% responsible for me being able to run further than that 10th of a mile.

In fact, this year, my current goal is running 10 miles straight. My current record from last summer was 7 miles.

So there is always room for improvement and these steps will fit any routine and any running ability.

Doing a Light Jog Daily on Top of Your Other Exercises

I used to overwork my body to some pretty extreme lengths. I pushed myself far harder than what was safe for my body.

I learned a lot from this, so I guess it isn’t all bad.

Years ago, I was fascinated with boxing. I wasn’t very interested in fighting, but the workouts always motivated me to push myself a bit further.

Anyway, I recall listening to Mike Tyson describe his workouts, and they were brutal.

One lesson I too from was the fact that Tyson claimed he spent an entire hour riding a bike before and after his workout.

The reason for this was allegedly so testosterone and other hormones can be created and summoned from putting so much stress on our legs, the biggest set of muscles on our body.

I began implementing this into my workout and immediately realized the benefits.

One thing I added to my daily life was an early morning run. I would wake up earlier than my body naturally wanted to, and before I could talk myself out of it, I would get up and go jog.

This was before I would go for a longer run, or before I would lift weights, or whatever other physical activity that I had planned for the day.

Here are my reasons:

Keeps You Nice and Limber

You probably remember being a kid in gym class and doing static stretches. You know the drill; touch your toes and hold it for 10 seconds.

There are studies that have shown static stretching could increase the likelihood of injury before a workout. It has been suggested to warm up rather than stretch and hold your muscles.

This increases blood flow to the area to prepare it for the hard work that you’re about to do.

Doing a light jog first thing in the morning alongside some yoga or other methods of stretching and warming up for your day. This not only will wake you up in the morning, but it will also ensure that your day starts off on the right foot.

Helps You Incrementally Increase Your Endurance

Waking up in the morning sucks, I know.

I love it, when I get really back into the rhythm of it, that is…

Being able to wake up and jog first thing in the morning will be difficult at first, but after doing it ocnsistently it will get better. No matter how long that while might feel like.

Being able to achieve this and be awake early in the morning will benefit your runs greatly because you are getting some good practice in, though I would stress that you don’t work extremely hard during this workout.

It is really meant more to get your blood pumping and body moving, not place to much stress on yourself.

That being said, you can lightly jog a mile every morning, then move that up bit by bit over predetermined amounts.

One week you could run 1 mile, then 1 ¼, 1 ½, and so on.

Don’t work extremely hard, but lightly jogging for 30 minutes-an hour can quickly add up into a lot of practice time.

Allows You to Practice Breath Control

Controlling your breath while running is very important to your ability to run greater distances.

Sure, you may be able to run a mile or two fine, but what happened when you hit that 5th mile?

Will your body be able to handle that amount of stress?

Will all of your huffing and puffing be enough to deal with the massive energy expenditure required to run long distances?

Doing this light jog will allow your mind to be clear and relaxed enough to focus on your breath.

It is important to ensure that you are taking nice deep breaths from the diaphragm, not the chest.

This will trick your body into calming down and allow for more clear thoughts.

This will provide benefits to your bodies ability to absorb and convert oxygen to ATP. This will increase your run by itself.

Allows You To Practice Form

My running form was something I never paid attention to. My cousin, who was in track for years, made a comment one time about running on the balls of your feet. This was contradictory to my heel-toe technique.

He explained the dynamics of running this way and how it is easier on your joints. Afterward, I gave it a try and noticed an immediate difference in the way that my tendons and ligaments in my legs felt.

The next day, I noticed why…

My calves were on fire! They hurt so bad I could barely walk and I just wanted to lay in bed all day.

This is the reason I believe that this method helps, it uses your muscles in a more healthy way, while also putting less stress on your ligaments and tendons. Since I have adopted this style I have noticed I feel less achy in my ankles and knees, but my muscles took a long time to get used to this.

To adapt to this style, I also trained these muscles in other ways. Hill running is a great exercise for your calves. It will burn like hell, but it will assist your leg muscles in performing under different kinds of stresses.

Doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High intensity training is a great way to push your body to new limits. Doing this in a safe way will gradually increase your bodies overall endurance.

The reason for this is something called cellular aspiration. This process is essentially how your cells burn energy in situations like running.

Your body inhales the oxygen and your cells take it and convert it into ATP.

Keeping that in mind, there are two types of cardio that you can do:

Aerobic and anaerobic

Aerobic means your body is converting the oxygen to ATP and is converting that ATP to ADP to produce energy.

Anaerobic means that the demand of your workout is greater than your bodies ability to convert oxygen to ATP. This will put your body into what is labeled EPOC, or Excess Post-Workout Oxygen Consumption.

What is EPOC?

EPOC is a state when your body has been pushed into an anaerobic state. In this state, your body will increase its metabolic rate to replenish the various energy sources that you have depleted.

This heightened level of metabolism means that during this period your body is burning more calories than it normally would at rest.

This allows you to burn calories for up to 24 hours after doing your HIIT workout.

Note: It is very important to also be aware that you cannot do these exercises too frequently. Your body needs time to recover and replenish itself before you do more intense training.

So, after you do your HIIT day, take a complete day off to rest. I always made my HIIT days on Fridays or Saturdays so that I would be able to rest for the weekend.

Eat plenty of food and take a nice easy day off after.

I like to go for a walk and listen to an audiobook.

Endurance Circuits

As I mentioned, I used to love doing different boxing workouts and routines.

This led me to learning about different “circuits” that a lot of my favorite fighters talked about.

Basically, a circuit is just a jumble of exercises that you try to complete at a high intensity. This might look like:

  • Jumprope
  • Burpees
  • Situps
  • A Sprint
  • Pushups

So, running through that list is one set.You complete as many as you can with high intensity.

I call them 5 x 5’s, if you can get 5 exercises for your circuit and do 5 sets of those, you should quickly notice a change in the length of your runs.

The point here is not to take any breaks between the workouts. This will keep your body moving and keep your heart rate high, which will help your body burn calories.

Remember, pushing your body into an anaerobic state really just takes highintensity. You must always be conscious of your limits, never push yourself too hard. There is no reason, working out or exercise should never be that serious.

We only do it to be healthy and happy.

I used to do these every few, days. I rarely did it daily as this could become too burdensome for your body and it is also beneficial to vary your cardio for better results.

Doing One Long Run Per Week

You can do this less frequently than one per week, though I would not suggest doing it any more frequently than this.

Doing one long run per week will ensure that you are not pushing your body too far. It will, however, provide enough frequent practice with running long distances that over time of consistent practice you will increase your endurance.

Your body will adapt to running further distances.

After a few months of doing this you should see further improvements in your ability to do what I had just described: Hold your form for a longer time, focus on your breath, and ensure that your body is not in any pain. If so, obviously you should stop and make it a walk day.

There are other benefits, such as:

  • It strengthens your cardiovascular system
  • It increases your metabolism
  • It increases your bodies effectiveness with oxygen
  • It increases your overall energy levels
  • It will increase your overall health and wellbeing

It is important to keep in mind a couple things in mind:

Don’t Push Yourself Before your Body is Fully Ready for Running.

You body can only handle so much.

You do not want torn muscles or tendons, so take it easy. There is no one to impress and what matters is that you are constantly making the effort to invest in your health

If you start your first weeks of running like I did, not able to do ¼ a mile, then don’t do long runs.

Let your body build up its endurance. Take months and months to do consistent jogging routines with other types of cardio.

Let your muscles build up, let your tendons strengthen up and prepare for stress better.

With that in mind, I would always add 50% – 100% my normal run.

I did this after tons of practice, in fact, I started after the point where I was running up to 4 miles per day consistently.

So If I ran 4 miles per day, on Saturday I would run 7 miles or so.

This pushed my body to further limits and allowed me further practice with my endurance. I would focus on my bodies ability to breath and hold form after running past my previous record.

Remember, do not push yourself to the point of injury. There is a fine line, and it’s best to be safe and avoid hurting yourself.

Take a Day off Afterwards

Always prepare for your long runs ahead of time.

You shouldn’t just wake up for your normal run and decide that you want to double the length of your run.

It is a serious toll on the body and you must prepare yourself for it.

What I would recommend:

  • Eat a lot of carbs the night before
  • Drink water the night before and the morning of the run. (If your drink a large amount immediately before your run but keep in mind this could cause cramping)
  • Bring a snack
  • Bring plenty of water
  • Plan to have a day off afterward

Preparing yourself for a run could be the difference of succumbing to an injury.

If You Feel any Discomfort, Use That Time to Take a Long Walk and Allow your Body to Heal.

There is never a circumstance that you should continue running after feeling pain in any way.

If there is a sharp pain in your knee, stop and walk.

If there is a sharp pain in your ankles, stop and walk.

Stop and walk, because if your body hurts in a way that is really bothering you it’s trying to tell you something. It’s trying to tell you that it is not ready for the amount of stress that you’re trying to place on it.

I cannot stress this enough, there is no need to be a “tough guy” because it will only hurt you in the end.

Infrequently Doing Really Long Runs

This is for those that have been running for a while.

After you have a lot of running practice in you can plan for runs that really push your endurance. I would recommend only doing these every few months or even less.

They can be very tolling on your body, so prepare and make sure your body is ready to take that amount of stress.

These runs essentially are always me running until I really feel I should stop. I just run until I get past my record, if I feel comfortable with it.

It’s similar to when I lifted weights and every few months I would attempt a personal record on the bench press. It’s the same concept, you want to test how far your work has brought you.

And there is nothing more rewarding…

I remember beating my old records every time I did a long run. And the beauty to it is you will always improve as long as you’re following the other advice I gave.

Increasing your overall health is a holistic process and combining many factors is lways more beneficial than doing one thing alone.

Adding long runs won’t help you if you aren’t running consistently and training to push your body further.

Again, I want to note a couple points before you begin doing this:

  • Always pay attention to your form
  • Always pay attention to your breath
  • Always listen to your body
  • Do not take your workouts too seriously, there is never a personal goal with an injury

Running is a great way to stay in shape, clear your head, and have some nice alone time.

If you follow these tips, your endurance should absolutely increase. As I said, I was a terrible runner.

I could barely get around the track before I was nauseous and weezing, but after consistenly practicing and using these methods I have been able to run further than I had ever thought possible.

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