Increasing Distance - Train Using Specific Periods

Monday, September 26, 2016

In running, your body adapts to distance by adding it slowly through time. During training, your body adapts to each distance about every three weeks.

Be Patient

If your body is going to adapt to a distance you have to run it a few times before adding more kms. Your body does not adapt just by you adding on a km every week. Remember to think long-term because it's a fact that slow and steady progress lasts longer than quick cramming.

I know that many spare-time marathon runners approach training like something to get through as fast as possible, because they're in a hurry to achieve their improvement goals in a short period of time. But it's not the best way to treat your body if you want maximum results that will last.


It takes a lot of mental toughness to run long distances. After a while, you start to feel doubt, boredom, anxiety or other negative emotions - even when you've got music blasting or you're on a treadmill watching lovely ladies in music videos. 

On a treadmill, you can watch every second and every fraction of a kilometre go by and that can make the time pass very slowly. Even outside, as you trudge on to your next kilometre marker or your pre-set interval, the temptation to speed up and get to the end of your run can be very hard to resist.


To quote Einstein, explaining his Theory of the Relativity of Time to reporters –

If you spent 10 minutes sitting on top of a hot stove it would seem like an hour, but if you spent 10 minutes having dinner with Marilyn Monroe - that would only seem like 1 minute!

So pay careful attention to your mental mindset, too and include this in your training plan for increasing distance. It's a good idea to cover up the time and distance dials on a treadmill and get your mind onto something more interesting!

Of course, if you're an advanced runner speeding up a bit is O.K.  But generally speaking, distance training is not effective if you run at a pace that'll tire you out or cause an injury.

If you zoom around at race pace all the time you'll last about a month before destroying your fitness, your motivation and you'll probably have gained an injury that'll set you back months!

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