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Training, Workouts, and Tips For Distance Runners

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 26, 2022

Distance running is a great way to stay in shape and get some fresh air. But if you're new to the sport, it can be tough to know where to start. And more importantly, it's essential to know how to train correctly and maintain your running form to avoid injuries while you're logging all those miles.

In this article, we'll discuss:

Keep reading for everything you need to know about training for distance running, including some great workouts and tips to keep you on track!

Track Workouts for Distance Runners

Distance running often doesn't get the credit it's due in the workout world. People see it as "just running" and don't realize how difficult and technical it actually is.

But if you want to improve your times and distance, you need to put in the work on the track. Track workouts are a great way to improve your speed, endurance, and form between long-distance runs.

Below are a few of our favorite track workouts for distance runners.

The Mile Repeat

This is a classic track workout that is perfect for distance runners. The mile repeat is exactly what it sounds like: you run a mile at a race pace, then recover for a set amount of time, and repeat.

You can do this workout with any number of repeats, but a good rule of thumb is to do 4-8 rounds for beginners and 8-12 for more experienced runners.

The Tempo Run

The tempo run is an excellent workout for distance runners because it helps you learn to run at a comfortable, sustainable pace while building your endurance.

To do a tempo run, warm up for 10-15 minutes, then settle into a comfortable pace that you can maintain for 20-30 minutes. Once you hit the 20-minute mark, pick up the pace for the last 5-10 minutes.

The Fartlek

The fartlek is a Swedish word that means "speed play." It's a type of interval exercise that can help boost your speed and endurance.

To do a fartlek, simply warm up for 10-15 minutes, then start running at a comfortable pace. Every few minutes, pick up the pace for 1-2 minutes, then slow back down to your comfortable pace.

You can do this workout for as long or short as you like, but distance runners should aim for 30-60 minutes.

Weights for Runners

Many runners shy away from lifting weights, but strength training is crucial for any runner's training plan. Strength training helps to improve your running economy (how much oxygen you use at a given pace) and can help prevent injuries.

Try to include 2-3 strength-training sessions per week, and focus on exercises that target the major muscle groups used while running: the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core.

Here are the best weight-lifting exercises for runners:

  • Squats: Squats are a great exercise for runners because they target the quads, which are the major muscle group used when running.
  • Lunges: Lunges are another great exercise for runners because they target the quads and glutes.
  • Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a great all-around exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Hip abduction: These exercises target the muscles on the sides of the hips, which are essential for stabilizing the hip joint.
  • Planks: Planks are a great exercise for runners because they target the core muscles, which are important for stabilizing the spine and pelvis.

Pre-Workout for Runners

There's nothing worse than feeling tired and sluggish during a run. That's why you might want to take a pre-workout supplement before you hit the roads or trails.

Pre-workout supplements contain ingredients like caffeine and beta-alanine, which can help to improve energy levels, focus, and endurance.

To give your body time to absorb the nutrients and prepare for your run, take your pre-workout supplement about 30-60 minutes before you set out. And if you're new to supplements, start with a half-serving to see how you tolerate it. Beware of the high caffeine levels some supplements contain!

What to Eat Post Workout for Runners

After a long run, the last thing you might want to do is eat a big meal, but you should still get some nutrients into your system to help with recovery.

A post-workout snack or meal should contain a mix of protein and carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and help repair muscles.

An easy way to give your body what it needs is by drinking a post-workout protein supplement. Drink your post-workout supplement within 30 minutes of finishing your run to maximize the benefits.

FAQs

What is the best way to train for a marathon?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone will have different goals and schedules. However, you should follow a training plan that includes a mix of long runs, tempo runs, and speed work.

How often should I run?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. However, runners who want to increase endurance should aim to run 3-5 times per week. As you gain more endurance and experience, you can increase the frequency and length of your runs.

What is the best way to warm up for a run?

Before you start your run, it's important to warm up your muscles to prevent injuries. A simple way to do this is by walking for 5-10 minutes before you start running.

What is the best way to cool down after a run?

After you finish your run, cooling down your muscles will help them recover. An easy way to do this is by walking for 5-10 minutes after you finish running before performing gentle leg stretches.

 


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