How to Run Longer Distances: 20 Tips from a Run Coach

August 2, 2023

How to Run Longer Distances: 20 Tips from a Run Coach

Boost your running stamina with two vital training principles: progressive overload and mental training. Gradually add duration and intensity to your runs using progressive overload – increase distance by no more than 10 percent each week. This reduces injury risks and builds endurance. Embrace mental training with mantras and visualization to master your mental game and unlock your inner strength during runs.

If you’re ready to learn how to run longer, follow these tips to boost your endurance and ensure more km ahead for you:

1. Set a running goal.

Running without a goal is like traveling without a map – you will get places but probably not where you want to be. Set a running goal to motivate yourself and stay accountable. Pick a goal that is measurable, realistic, and has a deadline. You may set a goal to run your first 5K or marathon or to run 1 km without stopping. Choose a challenging goal but one that you will be able to attain with time and effort.

2. Follow a training plan.

A training plan will lay out how to run longer in concrete, actionable steps. A plan designed by a running coach will account for your fitness level and goals and create a safe and achievable way to get you to your personal finish line.

3. Track your progress.

Tracking your progress keeps you accountable and will help you stay motivated on those challenging training days. You can use a running app or fitness tracker to track your daily runs. With all the options available, tracking your running distances and pace is easier than ever.

4. Go slow.

Runners, I coach often start too fast, pushing the pace, and then lose energy quickly. Pace yourself by slowing down and going at a consistent pace. For endurance-building runs, you need to focus on your distance, not your speed, so it’s good to slow down to conserve your energy for the final kms.

5. Stay accountable.

Join a running group or online group for support so you stay accountable with your running. A group dynamic will give you extra motivation and encouragement and keep you motivated to run.

6. Build endurance gradually.

People often want quick results but slow and steady wins the race. Stick to your training and have faith that you can run longer distances with time and effort.

7. Be consistent.

Consistency is the most crucial element of training that will help you learn how to run longer distances. Stick to your training plan, and you will reap the benefits of more endurance and better fitness. If you miss a training day, don’t beat yourself up about it – get back to your regular program as soon as possible.

8. Hydrate for running.

Drinking enough water is essential for long-distance runners. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and during your endurance runs. A good general guideline is to drink 750ml to 1 litre  per hour of your run, about 250ml (or a cup) every 15 to 20 minutes. You can break this down into manageable amounts by taking a few sips about every mile or 10 minutes of running.

9. Cross-train.

Cross-training is a valuable way to boost your fitness while giving your body a break from running. Add cross-training to your program by walking, swimming or cycling at least once a week. Strength training is also an excellent way to improve your strength and become a better runner.

10. Strength training.

Strength training is an essential form of cross-training that increases your strength, which will help you run faster and farther. Runners often overlook strength training, but it can greatly impact your running performance. Add at least two days of strength training a week to your training program to

11. Eat enough nutrients.

As a running coach, I’ve often met runners who do not eat enough and suffer from exhaustion. I work with them to ensure they get the nutrients they need to fuel their workouts. Make sure you are getting enough nutrients in your diet to power your runs. If you aren’t eating enough healthy carbs, fats, and protein, you will suffer from energy crashes and other problems. Choose unprocessed, fresh foods as much as possible, and eat enough to replenish the calories you burn when you work out.

12. Check your form.

Running can feel more difficult if you have poor form. When you run, focus on lifting your knees, keeping your chest up and shoulders straight, and engaging your core muscles. Allow your arms to swing by your sides with your forearms near your waist. You do not want any sideways motion when you run – with your arms or legs – as that wastes energy. Focus on everything driving forward when you run. If you have any pronation or gait issues, get fitted for the right running shoes to correct your form by going to your local running store for a shoe fitting.

13. Pace yourself.

Aim for a consistent pace when you run. Your pace will usually be your base run pace or slower for endurance runs. You should be able to carry on a conversation at this pace, which will feel relaxed. Sometimes runners I coach are so excited to run that they start too fast and have trouble finishing. Restrain yourself at the beginning of your run and maintain an even, steady pace that you will be able to maintain for the long haul.

14. Run with someone.

Running with someone will boost your morale and motivation. You can run with a running buddy, running group, partner, family member, or your dog if your dog is healthy and active. You’ll find your running time going by more quickly with the company of others.

15. Do a weekly long run.

A long run is designed to improve your endurance. If you’re wondering how to run longer distances, the long run is one of the most effective ways to train your body and mind to run farther. Add one long run a week to your training program for the best results. Your long run distance will vary depending on your running goals, but in general, your long run should be no more than 30 percent of your km for the week. If you’re training for a 5K, your long run may be 6km to 8km For marathon training, on the other hand, your long run may be up to 35km. The key with long runs is to add km gradually, usually no more than 1km to 3km a week farther than the week before.

16. Fuel your long runs.

Fuel is crucial for long runs. When running for over an hour, you need to take some fuel because your body will run out of stored energy. You may try an energy gel, gu or chew, and take it every 45 minutes to an hour throughout your run. Experiment with different running fuels until you find one that works well for you.

17. Walk if you need to.

If you are doing a longer run than usual, don’t be afraid to walk if you need to. Take a few minutes to walk and catch your breath, and you can get back to running. Another option is to do a run-walk program that mixes sports of running with walking. You may run for 5 minutes and walk for 3 minutes, for instance, and repeat until you cover your workout distance.

18. Add variety to your routes.

Running can get monotonous if you always run the same routes and distance. Add variety to your training by mixing up your workouts and running different routes. Check out a scenic park, run to see some new murals, or hit a new running trail to add inspiration to your workouts.

19. Listen to running playlists.

Music adds an extra pump to your running. Create running playlists that keep you motivated and moving, and you’ll never be lacking in motivation.

20. Celebrate your successes.

An important part of training is celebrating your milestones. When you accomplish your running goals – whether it’s getting in your long run or finishing your first 5K race, make sure to celebrate. Congratulate yourself on all your hard work, and recognize how much progress you’ve made.


Rest is an integral part of successful training, so make sure you take enough rest days. I recommend at least one full rest day a week from exercise. Take a rest day or active recovery day following your long runs and hard workouts such as speed workouts. Rest days allow your body to rebuild and recover, helping you progress in your training.

Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).

Contact Stuart at



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