All us runners get stuck in a distance rut from time to time and it can be hard to increase the mileage. Maybe you have completed a couch to 5 km and are running 5 km regularly but you can’t seem to go further than 5 km. Or perhaps you have booked yourself in for your first 10 km race but you just can’t seem to hit the 6 mile distance.
With a few changes to your runs you can get out of the rut and hit the distance you want to run. People have had success with these tricks so give one or some of then a try.
- Do not wear your watch. The watch is a great tool to help you to keep going when you can tick of the mileage but it can have a negative effect on your pace. Watch watching can force you to up your pace, which we do not want when you are trying to up your distance. We want slow steady runs when trying new distances. Watch watching also makes you tense which will hinder your ability to run out of your comfort zone.
- Change your route. If you keep running the same route your body and mind gets used to a running route quickly. It knows when to take it easy, when there is a hill coming up and when you are nearing the end of the run. Even if you tell yourself that I am going to add a loop at the end to make it 4 miles your mind and body will start to wind down. You will sub consciously start to wind down near to what would normally be the end and it will make it much harder to run that extra loop. So the best way is to add in an extra loop to your current route at the beginning. This will make it feel like a new run and your home straight will be familiar to you, so this in turn will make going the extra distance easier.
- Change your town. One of the easiest ways to get to a new distance is to run some where new. This way your mind and body doesn’t know what is coming up and you will be distracted by the new surroundings or thinking where to go that the miles will tick by including that extra mile that you want.
- Play to your strengths. If you wish to try to run a new distance for the first time then do a run you like. It is no point running a route that incorporates elements you do not like doing because you will be hating the run and wishing it to end. So plan your new run with elements you like, if you like hills do a hilly run. If you like trails then run through a wood. If you are enjoying a run then you will find it easier and will want to keep going.
- Plan your route. Use Map my Run to plan your new route. This means that you will know exactly where you are going, where the mile markers are and you have an image in your head. This will help you to relax and enjoy the run and help you picture the end.
- Find a friend. Running with a friend will help you to keep going and to run past your rut. Having someone with you will help you to relax, chatting will help tick of the mileage and the friend will push you on. The friend doesn’t have to be the same speed as you as this is a relaxed run. Your buddy doesn’t even have to run the whole run with you, they can just join you for that last golden mile.
Above all just relax, do not over think it and just enjoy the run. Be positive in what you achieve. If you do not quite reach that extra golden mile but you have done and extra half a mile than that is great and you know you will achieve it on the next run.