Tired of Short Runs? Learn How to Run More Miles

how to run more miles

Running is the action or movement of propelling yourself forward rapidly on foot, and if you have clicked on this article, then I am pretty confident to ask you a question:

Are you ready to take your running to the next level and run more miles, huh? Running longer and further consistently can feel like an unattainable goal when you’re used to just a few short miles a couple times a week. But with the right mindset and training approach, racking up the miles is absolutely within your reach.

The thing is, you need to start slowly and build up your distance over time through a methodical progression. If you’ve only been running 3 miles a few times a week, don’t plan to double your longest run next week! Building mileage requires patience and consistency.

This guide will show you how to safely and effectively increase your distance from short runs to longer, more challenging routes. In short, you will be able to run more miles. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an endurance runner and finally achieving those mileage goals you’ve been dreaming about.

Assess Your Current Fitness Level

Check your fitness level for running more miles
Don’t just move forward for running more miles, instead go with the flow.

Before you start running more miles, you need to assess your current fitness level. This will help determine how much you can safely increase your mileage over time.

How Often do you Currently Run?

If you only run 1-2 times a week right now, you’ll want to slowly build up the number of days you run each week before increasing your mileage. Add one extra run day each week and maintain that for 2–4 weeks before adding another. If you already run 3–4 days a week, you’re in a good spot to start slowly increasing your mileage.

How Long Is your Typical Run?

know your average running time before running more miles

If you currently only run 1-3 miles at a time, focus on slowly making one of your weekly runs longer. Add 0.5 to 1 mile to one run each week. For example, if you run 3 times a week for 2 miles, make one of those runs 2.5 or 3 miles.

Hold that for a couple weeks, then increase again. If you already run 4-6 miles at a time, you can likely increase one run by 1 mile every 1-2 weeks.

Related: Curious Minds Run Daily Kilometers

How Is your Endurance and Recovery?

Note how you feel and respond during runs as well as after them. If 3 miles completely wears you out or causes soreness that lasts for days, you need to build up your endurance before a big mileage jump.

Increase your long run distance by no more than 10% each week. If you can run 6–8 miles and recover within a day or two, your endurance is good for slowly increasing up to 10% more miles every week or two.

Strength and Cross-Training?

In addition to running, do you do any strength, high intensity or cross-training? Activities like yoga, biking, and bodyweight exercises improve your endurance and make you less prone to injury.

If you don’t do any other exercise, start by adding one or two short strength sessions a week. Over time, aim for 2-3 strength/cross training days and 3-4 running days a week.

By evaluating these areas, you can determine a safe and effective plan for building up your mileage over the coming weeks and months. The most important thing is to go slowly, listen to your body, and avoid increasing your mileage by more than 10% each week. If you build up gradually, you’ll be running more miles in no time!

Slowly Build Up Your Mileage

don't just rush out be wise to run more miles.

Slowly building up your mileage is key to avoiding injury and burnout. The 10% rule is a good guideline: increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week. This means if you ran 10 miles this week, you could only increase to 11 miles next week. Be patient and consistent.

Start Slowly

Don’t go from running 3 miles a few times a week to running 6–8 miles most days. Gradually build up your long runs over time. Add just half a mile or a mile to your long run each week.

For example, if your longest run right now is 4 miles, increase it to 4.5 or 5 miles next week. The following week, go 5.5 or 6 miles. Continue progressing in this way until you reach your distance goal.

Increase Frequency

In addition to slowly making your long runs longer, aim to run more frequently during the week. If you currently run three times a week, try adding an extra-short run of 2–3 miles. The next week, you can increase that run to 3–4 miles. The more often you run, the more your endurance will improve. But again, build up frequency slowly to avoid injury or burnout.

Strength Train

Make sure you do not neglect strength training, either. Stronger legs, glutes, core, and hips will make it easier to handle longer runs. Focus on exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, sit-ups, and planks. Even just two strength sessions a week can make a big difference.

Cross-Train

Adding in cross-training like biking, swimming, or using an elliptical machine on your non-running days is another great way to boost your endurance without the high-impact stress of running every day. Cross-training also adds variety to your routine and works different muscle groups. Aim for at least one cross-training session each week in addition to your running schedule.

It takes dedication and time to build up your mileage endurance. But with this slow and steady form of strength training, along with cross-training, you will be running longer and stronger in short order. In other words, do it slowly but surely. Hang on, and your mileage will be going up bit by bit over the coming weeks and months.

Related: Must-Do Cardio Exercises For Runners

Focus on Running Form and Efficiency

a good posture can make you run more than your average mile
a good posture can make you run more than your average mile.

Once you’ve built up your endurance and want to start running longer distances but aren’t sure how to increase your mileage safely and effectively, then make your focus on efficient running form and pacing yourself.

Posture and Cadence

Maintaining good running posture and a quick cadence of around 180 steps per minute will make you a more efficient runner. Stand up straight but not stiff, keep your shoulders back, and avoid hunching over.

Keep your core engaged. Land softly on the middle of your foot instead of your heel, and push off using your toes. Taking quicker, shorter strides will help you run faster and farther.

Start Slowly

The most important rule is not to increase your mileage too quickly. Aim for no more than a 10% increase in distance per week. This will reduce injury risk and burnout.

For example, if you currently run 15 miles a week, you can only increase by 1.5 miles the following week. You can add distance to one longer run or spread it over multiple shorter runs. Listen to your body, and don’t advance if you feel overly sore or fatigued.

Find Your Easy Pace

Run at an easy, comfortable pace where you can still carry on a conversation. This aerobic, fat-burning pace will allow you to run longer distances. Use a fitness tracker to determine your easy pace, which is often 2 to 3 minutes slower per mile than your usual running pace. Start your long runs at an easy pace, and you’ll be running 10K’s and half marathons in no time!

Related: Untrained Runner’s Shortcut to Half Marathon

Strength Train

Incorporating strength training into your routine, especially exercises that target your core, glutes, and legs, will make you a stronger, more efficient runner. Stronger muscles reduce injury risk and fatigue, allowing you to run longer and faster.

Even just 2-3 strength sessions a week can provide big benefits for runners. Following these tips will transform you into an endurance machine in no time. Start slowly, focus on good form, and find your easy pace. Before you know it, you will be running farther and faster than ever!

Cross-Train to Prevent Injuries

Cross-training, or engaging in non-running workouts, is key to preventing injuries as your mileage increases. When you do the same activity over and over, your muscles and joints can get overused and break down. Cross-training provides variety and works your body in different ways.

  • Swim or do water aerobics: Water activities provide resistance without the impact of running. They give your joints and muscles an active recovery while still improving your cardio fitness.
  • Bike: Riding a bike, whether outdoors or stationary, is a great option for cross-training. It’s low-impact, so it won’t strain your joints and legs like running. Aim for 30–60 minutes of biking 2-3 times a week.
  • Do strength training: In addition to cardio, build stronger muscles through weight training. Focus on exercises that strengthen your core, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, like squats, lunges, sit-ups, and planks. Stronger muscles will make you a more efficient runner and help prevent injuries.
  • Try yoga or Pilates. Flexibility and balance are just as important as strength for runners. Yoga and Pilates improve both flexibility and balance through controlled movements and stretches. They also increase your stability and range of motion. Take a class or follow an online video two times a week.

Cross-training and strength training are key to building your running mileage in a sustainable way. They give your body adequate rest from pounding the pavement while maintaining and even improving your fitness.

Be sure to start slowly and build up your cross-training just as you do with running. For a better experience in cross-training you should buy these budget-friendly and tested shoes.

If you stay consistent, you’ll find yourself running more miles with less risk of injury. The added variety will also keep you from getting bored and losing motivation.

Fuel and Hydrate Properly for Longer Runs

Is it bad to take walk breaks while running

To run longer distances, you need to fuel your body properly. What you eat and drink before and during your run will provide the energy to keep you going mile after mile.

Hydrate Well in Advance

Supply yourself with plenty of water in the days before your longer run. Try to drink 6–8 glasses of water every day in order to not only support the hydration of your body but also to feel more energetic.

Although you should definitely drink more water on a regular basis, this will reduce your risk of dehydration on the run. Another 1-2 glasses of water, with a pinch of salt, should be taken in the morning on your long run. Salt enables your body to use and retain water.

Eat Carbohydrates and Proteins

Focus your pre-run meal on high-quality carbs and protein, which provide energy and help rebuild muscle. Good options include:

oatmeal with banana and nuts; whole-grain toast with peanut butter Yogurt with granola and fruit. Eat 2-3 hours before your run so you have time to digest. Avoid fatty or high-fiber foods that can cause stomach issues.

Bring Fuel for the Run

If you are running for more than one hour, snacks to refuel on the way, such as energy gels or chews, could be brought along in order to provide a quick burst of appropriate fuel at the required times. 30–60 grams of carbs per hour.

Look for alternatives with a combination of carbs, protein, and electrolytes to balance out what you’re sweating away. Switch between water and an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade to keep appropriately hydrated.

Following these nutrition tips will ensure you have the energy to run longer and feel your best. Start slowly, listen to your body, and make adjustments as needed to find what works for you. With the right fuel and hydration, you’ll be well on your way to longer, more enjoyable runs.

What is 10% Rule?

The 10% rule is a tried-and-true method for safely and gradually increasing your running mileage. The basic premise is simple: don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% from the previous week. So if you ran 20 miles last week, aim for 22 miles this week (20 miles x 0.1 = 2 miles, so 20 + 2 is 22).

By following the 10% rule, you reduce your risk of injury and overtraining. Your body needs time to adapt to increased demands, and a conservative increase allows your muscles, tendons, and bones to strengthen over time.

The 10% rule also helps you build up your endurance and stamina at a sustainable rate. If you increase your mileage too quickly, you may burn out or get hurt before reaching your goals.

  1. Start with your current weekly mileage and increase by no more than 10% each week. For example, if you ran 15 miles last week, run 16.5 miles this week.
  2. Round down to the nearest mile. So a 10% increase of 16.2 miles would be 17 miles for the week.
  3. Consider taking one week off from increasing your mileage every 4 to 6 weeks. This provides extra rest and helps avoid injury or overtraining.
  4. Increase either the number of days you run each week or the distance of one or more runs. For example, you can add an extra 1-2 miles to 2-3 of your usual runs.
  5. Include strength training and cross-training. This provides additional benefits and balances your routine.
  6. Listen to your body. If you feel very sore or fatigued, maintain your current mileage for another week before increasing again. It’s better to be cautious.

Following the 10% rule is the best way for new runners and veteran runners alike to boost their mileage safely and sustainably. Be patient and consistent, increasing your mileage over the course of months and years. Before you know it, you’ll be running longer and stronger than ever before!

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