Ever embarked on a long run, with the best intentions of finishing the distance, only to quit early because you got to tired? I’ve been there before and, to put it frankly, it sucks. In this article, I’ll share 4 practical proven tips I’ve learnt from experience and from other runners to run for longer without getting tired. Happy long running without fatigue!
1. Run with a deep breathing technique
Runners, especially beginner runners, can find themselves out of breath quickly on a long run. This could be because the pace is too quick. However, it could be due to improper breathing, most likely shallow chest breathing.
Getting your breathing technique right is a crucial part for being able to run further for longer without feeling tired. Deep belly breathing (using the diaphragm) is the most efficient breathing technique and allows for maximum intake of oxygen.
Lots of runners use shallow chest breathing which sees the runner quickly taking in short and sharp bursts of air which do not remain in the lungs for long enough to get oxygen in the blood stream. The result is a feeling of breathlessness and a horrid stitch which can hinder your running. Deep belly breathing is the way forward for running for longer without getting tired.
As you run, focus on filling your lungs with air and then breathe out once your lungs are full. For longer runs where you need to keep energy up, start off with breathing in for three steps and then breathing out for two or three steps.
Get familiar with the deep breathing style, learn what works for your body and then put it to practice during the long run. You’ll find you’re able to run longer without getting tired as your body has a proper supply of oxygen to function with.
2. Maintain your cadence with a metronome
Your cadence is how many steps you take per minute when you run. An average cadence is around 170 – 180 steps per minute.
When we start a long run and we’re full of energy, our cadence is usually very strong and consistent. However, cadence can diminish throughout the middle to later stages of a long run as we get more tired.
The problem with slowing down our cadence is that it slows down our rhythm, makes us run slower and can even psychologically trick you into thinking you’re more tired than you are. Not good if you want to feel like you’re not tired on your long run.
The trick is to maintain a steady cadence with a metronome. These are handy A metronome is a device which ticks at a selected rate of beats per minute and can help you to maintain your cadence. A metronome is a device which ticks at a selected rate of beats per minute and can help you to maintain your cadence.
Running metronomes can be picked up for a few Pounds, Dollars or Euros, and conveniently clip onto the side of your shorts. The metronome can either make the ticking noise out loud or you can plug in headphones. Whatever works best.
Running metronomes can be picked up for a few Pounds, Dollars or Euros, and conveniently clip onto the side of your shorts. One I would recommend is here.
Alternatively, metronomes can be quickly downloaded on most smartphone and android app stores too.
First, workout what your natural cadence is by counting how many steps you run in 30 seconds. Once you have this number, multiply it by 2. Do this a few times and you will, more than likely, get the same figure. Once you have a good idea of what your cadence is, input this into your metronome and clip it onto your shorts.
Make a conscious effort to match the beat of your metronome and you’ll be able to maintain your cadence throughout the long run. Not only will you maintain a decent pace, you’ll feel more energetic and unlikely to feel tired.
You might think that by sticking to the same cadence, even when you’re tired, you will knacker yourself out. This isn’t the case. You can run to the same cadence at different intensity levels. For instance, running shorter strides at a 180 cadence will feel much more relaxed than taking longer strides at the same cadence.
3. Fuel up and bring snacks
Whilst seemingly obvious, fuelling up with a decent pre-long run meal and bringing snacks is often neglected. The result? A tired, hungry runner who cannot perform well on a long run. A recipe for disaster (pardon the pun). To run longer without getting tired, fuel up and bring snacks.
You wouldn’t attempt to drive 100 miles on an empty fuel tank, would you? Similarly, why try running 10, 15 or 20 miles at a time with little to no food? It’s daft, so don’t do it! Fuel up properly before you run and bring some snacks.
Your pre-race meal should be consumed 45 – 60 minutes before you lace up and should consist of healthy carbohydrates. Great examples of pre-race food are:
- Peanut butter on toast
- Reduced sugar cereals
Feel free to have any of these foods on their own or in combination with one another. The key thing is that you are adequately fuelled for the long run to come.
You should also be sure to bring some snacks. These should be small and easy to eat on the go as a handy top up to energy levels. Examples of running snacks include:
These can be picked up for cheap online or in a sports store and are designed to fit in pockets for quick and easy access. As a rule of thumb, stock up on a running snack for every 5 miles you intend to run. You may eat all of them or may be left with a few spare. The important thing is that you are prepared and can top up energy levels during a long run.
To run longer without getting tired, fuel up and bring some snacks.
4. Keep your legs fresh with air squats and / or leg swings
In the middle to late stages of a long run, it’s common for the legs to start feeling tighter. When this happens, things can get uncomfortable fast.
To counteract this, stop and take a moment to catch your breath. Once you’re feeling relatively calmed complete 10 air squats, going as deep as you like. Once you’ve completed your air squats, get back into the long run with your newly fresh legs. The next time you need to freshen up your legs do 10 leg swings for some variety.
Stopping to take some time to perform a different motion with your legs will open up your tight leg muscles and get blood flowing to them again. Ultimately, your legs will feel fresh and rejuvenated which means you can run for longer without getting tired.