Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

9 Ways To Become A Better Distance Runner

How To Become Better Distance Runner

What does it take to become a better distance runner. I hope some of these tips will influence your preparation in some way.

There are more ‘guru’s’ online now I have lost count. I do consider myself an expert at how to run fast over long periods of time.

My objective is to help you reach your own fitness goals. I write to influence those of you are really trying hard to become a better distance runner despite setbacks. The key is to not lose enthusiasm. There are many ebbs and flows when it comes to running races

This post is for runners, regardless of ability who need an extra dose of motivation to make the next jump in their training. If your stuck, mentally or physically, hang in there.

Have any of you heard the story about the book Three Feet From Gold?

It was written by Napoleon Hill. R.U. Harby and his uncle, who had a passion for mining and finding gold, went on the hunt.

The uncle found gold ore and covered up his find. He them went home to raise money to buy the machinery needed to bring up the ore he found.

R.U. Harby and Hill raised the money they needed and then returned to the location where the ore was originally found. What happened? They hit the jackpot.

Keep Working

That being said, they ran into a problem. The gold dried up, so they thought. They became frustrated and let it go. They sold their equipment to a junk man that lived near the area where they were digging for a few hundred dollars.

The junk man hired a mining engineer after they left. Why was this smart?  The engineer had more knowledge and found a major gold vein just 3 feet from where they were digging.

The junk man went on to make millions of dollars from that one vein.

Moral of the story?

You have to stay persistent in the face of adversity to become a better distance runner.

Do not let adversity and setbacks get the best of you. In addition to that, you don’t want to lose your enthusiasm.

#1Get Fired Up – Your results will come from the level of enthusiasm you are bringing to your daily preparation.

I have had bad results in past races. You wonder at times if what you are doing is worth the time and energy.

This is why being persistent and consistent is critical to your success.

Remember, you could be 3 feet from gold. Is it worth letting a bad race or workout get the best of you. Hell no.

#2 – Trust Your Intuition

There will always be negative forces around us. We sure as hell don’t have to listen to them. We are always in control of your attitude and thoughts.

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Focus On Better Nutrition

#3Eat Better – Want a sure fire way to become a better distance runner?

Take control of the way you eat. A 150 lb runner will burn around 100-110 calories per mile. Do you now how much iron, minerals and electrolytes that are lost in that amount of energy expenditure?

If you go out for a 10-mile run you are burning anywhere from 1000-1100 calories. In addition to that, you are also burning additional calories for 2-3 hours after the workout. This is due to an increase in metabolism from the effects of the workout.

Eat foods that are high in iron. Mauro Di Pasquale did an outstanding article about the importance of iron for bodybuilding.com, one of the best I have read to date.

I would strongly suggest getting your iron tested. Find out what your ferritin levels are currently at. I did. The result? I was anemic and didn’t even know it.

Runners do not pay enough attention to this. I know I certainly didn’t.

Furthermore, read up as much as you can on anemia and consider getting a blood test.

Are you running into issues in your training that you cannot explain. Want to become better distance runner? Focus on what others are missing. Do the extra work.

Focus On What You Can Control

What are you doing the other 24 hours of the day to better yourself. Are you staying healthy? Are you researching ways to be better at the sport. Workouts alone will not get you results. Ask these questions of yourself and make changes.

#4 – Challenge Yourself

Don’t take the easy route. You don’t feel like going out for a run? Well, someone else will. How are you going to counteract that power move?

A day off is not a bad thing. In addition to that, if you feel fatigue perhaps a day of rest is warranted. You can always do more than you think but you also have to be smart.

Our goals will not fall in our laps without work and faith working toegther.

Running great times, dropping weight, improving personal bests takes enormous personal time and sacrifice and you have to want it.

Think Like A Champion

#5 – Start Thinking Like The Champion You Are

Get inspired. Write down your goals and remember what your why is.

Champions are not born, they’re made.

Champions are everywhere, you just have to train them correctly – Arthur Lydiard

The hardest part for runners that are overweight is just getting into a strong routine.

#6 – Find A Great Coach – Listen, we may think we know it all but we don’t. A great coach can lead you onto the correct path of getting to your goals far faster.

I have mentioned in previous posts my relationship with Lisa Rainsberger.

Lisa suggest I get my blood tested. A blood test? What do I need a blood test for?

A great coach can see areas of your training that you may be missing. It is an investment in yourself. Self-development is worth investing in, period.

This may be the big break you need to become a better distance runner and take your running to a far greater level.

Think Outside The Box

#7 – Believe In The Impossible

We have choices in anything we do in life. Running has been what has fueled me to attempt for great things and take calculated risks.

You have to live your life as if tomorrow isn’t coming. Why on earth do we worry so much about things out of our control?

It isn’t worth your time. Have you ever seen the James ‘Buster’ Douglas fight when he fought the heavily favored Mike Tyson? Douglas was a 42-1 underdog and no one believed he could win that fight.

Was it luck? It was not luck. Douglas believed in the impossible was possible and Tyson let up.

#8 – Focus On Running Longer

You can run great times off of mileage alone. That being said, to run specific times you have to train in a specific way.

I ran my best ten-mile time at the 2007 Cherry Blossom 10-miler on nearly all mileage. It was an incredibly talented field. I finished in 24th place with a time of 51:29.

You have to implement all areas of training i.e. speed, hills, intervals etc to run well. That being said, you can still run great times off of just a strong mileage base.

Be Consistent

#9 – Be Persistent

Persistence is why people succeed. The best results come from consistent, endless and monotonous hard work.

I put in so much work for the 2011 Monumental Indianapolis Marathon.

I remember getting up at 2am during one of our field training exercises to do an 18 mile run. Looking back, it was probably the craziest thing I have done in my running career.

That being said,  I was trying to break a 2.19.00 marathon training under difficult circumstances. Successful people do silly things.

I worked relentlessly and ended up with a 2.26.42 finish time in November.

Closing Thoughts

The most important lesson I have learned from training and living with some of the world’s best Kenyan and international runners is their persistence.

They don’t let up.

They are always motivated, always learning from their mistakes and always training for the next race.

Bad race? So what, I can still be the world record holder. This is how the Kenyans think.

Unfortunately, it is the event and not the process that people see. The event is the fast times. The process? That is the endless hours of hard work done behind the scenes.

In closing, stay persistent, remain vigilant on your goals. Lastly, remember what it is you are out there training for. Be cognizant of your long-term goals.

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