5 Tips for Long Distance Running Training

When you’re just starting out as a runner, the fact that some runners can run for 30 minutes or an hour without stopping can seem completely bewildering (not to mention the jaw-dropping feat of running a marathon!).

Beginner runners often feel really winded and out of breath running just a few blocks or so. Even once you build up your stamina so that you can run a mile or two without stopping, you might come to a point where it seems like your endurance is plateauing, and it feels hard to keep going.

If you’re a beginner runner wondering how to keep running without stopping, you’re certainly not alone. Even more, experienced runners sometimes question how to run longer without stopping because we all get to a point that feels like our ultimate stopping point where we are too tired to keep running and have to stop and walk.

The good news is that nearly every runner can improve their stamina with some training adjustments. In this article, we will discuss how to run longer without stopping and improve your endurance running.

Do you want to become a long-distance runner? Where do you start? How should you approach training? What is considered long-distance running?

The idea of a “long run” means something different to everyone. Long-distance running might be the highlight of your week, or you might dread it. Oftentimes, it’s the unknown that can scare people away. 

What Is Considered Long-Distance Running?

It depends on who you ask. You might find some definitions floating around the internet, but it’s really a personal answer. What is considered long-distance running for one runner might be an easy workout, and for another, it might be an unreal dream (or nightmare).

Long distance means whatever you want it to me—but we just use the term to mean running further or longer than you typically go. If you’re a sprinter, a long-distance run might be a 5K or 10K. And if you’re a half marathon aficionado, an ultra distance of 50K or 50 miles might be a long distance for you.

How to Run Longer Distances Faster

Long-distance running isn’t a race. Well, sometimes it is—but that’s not what we mean. Learning how to become a long-distance runner takes time, and it’s not something you want to rush. Take it easy and build up your base mileage. The speed will come later.

It’s more important to build your cardio and muscular endurance. This will help you tack on more miles without injury. The fastest way to become a long-distance runner is by avoiding injury—do that, and you’ll be the fastest of the bunch in no time.

5 Tips for Long-Distance Running Training

There’s really no specific distance that defines a short, medium, or long run—it’s all relative. A sprinter may look at a 5K and think it’s a long-distance race, while a marathoner runner may consider a half marathon a warm-up.

You’re the only one that can define what a long-distance run is to you. Essentially, every athlete is a long-distance runner—because a long-distance run is just your longest-running distance.

1. Make a Plan to Increase Your Long Distance Running

Rarely, a runner can successfully increase their weekly mileage without a plan. 

With a plan, you can be sure to chart the progress of your runs and how to build up in distance. In general, you are aiming for steady, stair-step-style increases in your mileage, with occasional dropdowns, for maximum results in your long-distance running.

That “dead” week provides not only a mental break but also a physical one. You’ll have a little more time in your schedule to get into other priorities besides training. This will be especially apparent on your long run day, where the week before you may have run 12 miles, but now you’re down to 7. 

Enjoy the extra time and try not to stress that you’re losing fitness. Your muscles are busy repairing the damage of training so that you can start the following week rested and ready to tackle your goal of longer distances. 

2. Keep Your Training Schedule Balanced

Ever go for an epic long run on the weekend, only to then spend 6 days recovering from it? There’s even the term “weekend warrior” to describe this unbalanced way of training.  Instead, we want to balance our long runs with our shorter runs so that we’re always making progress. 

In fact, your long run distance should only make up about 30% of your weekly mileage. In the long run, be sure to control the intensity. It should be a conversational pace throughout.

So if you’re gasping for breath while telling your running buddy what you did after work yesterday, you’re running too fast. Slow it down so you remain in control of your breath. It’ll pay off as you’re able to run more easily without getting tired. 

A good exercise we like to use here at The Run Experience–is to take 10 nose breaths every 10-15 minutes while on your run. If you’re unable to do that at any point, you may want to slow your pace down a bit. No running buddy is needed.

3. Improve Your Long Distance Running Form and Technique

The form is often the first thing to do when we get tired. However, maintaining proper running form is actually going to make it easier in the long run! If you’re moving efficiently, such as picking your feet up instead of shuffling or standing tall rather than slouching over, your body can cover the same distance using less energy.

Your long-distance running form will deteriorate throughout the long run, but the more you train, the easier it’ll be to maintain for longer distances. Long-distance running training varies from the training you might do to build your speed.

Drills are a great way to enforce your mechanics mid-run. Because these drills are not running, they help to wake up those muscle groups that may have fallen asleep by that point in your run. These moves will also get you thinking about your feet and remind you to step lightly and quickly to prevent heavy landings. 

4. Find The Right Shoes For Long Distance Running

When it comes to long runs, footwear is an important factor, as any flaw in your running shoes only going to be exaggerated in the long run.

The two most important things to look for in long-distance running shoes are cushion and support. The cushioning will help reduce the effect of your body’s impact on the ground, and the stability factor will help guide your foot in a stable landing. 

The surface you run on can affect which type of shoe is best for you. If you strictly run on pavement or concrete, you might prefer to have more support under your feet to reduce the impact. If you mix it up and get on trails or grass, a slimmer shoe could be more appropriate for you because of the softer surface. 

You might need to experiment to find the right shoe for you, or even better, you could invest in a couple of pairs to rotate. That way your foot is challenged in different ways throughout your running week. Think of it as cross-training for your feet.

5. Make Time For Mobility Work

Longer runs make mobility work that much more vital. While it’s preferable to mobilize right after your run, if you only have time for one or two movements and you save the rest for later, that’s better than skipping it altogether. 

Mobility work is a great cool-down after your run. Your heart rate has a chance to slow down, you can stretch out tight calves and shoulders, and you set yourself up for your next workout or run. And most importantly, it’s going to help you open up your hips and ankles, which can really take a beating on a hard run. 

Why Can’t I Run Without Stopping?

If you are a beginner runner who wants to know how to keep running without stopping, the first thing you should know is that it’s totally normal to feel like running is hard, and every time you go out to run, you have to keep stopping to walk.

If you’re frustrated with the fact that you can’t run without stopping, you’re dealing with an issue of poor running stamina. 

Your running stamina, or endurance, is your physical and mental ability to maintain a certain pace or effort level for a given period without getting tired, or at least not exhausted, to the point that you need to stop running. 

People stop running or struggle to keep running without walking for any number of reasons. You might feel totally breathless because your heart is pounding. This can be because you’re a beginner runner and not yet used to running, or you’re running too fast for your fitness level.

You might struggle to keep running without stopping because you’re tired and have low energy. You might be wondering how to run longer without stopping when your legs start burning or hurting, but you might just be doing more than your body is yet ready for.

Sometimes, the desire to stop running and walk is mental. You might be bored or lacking motivation. It’s a combination of one or more of these reasons, ultimately boiling down to the fact that your body hasn’t yet adapted sufficiently (stronger heart, lungs, and muscles), and you need to increase your stamina to run longer without stopping.

How To Run Longer Without Stopping

So, let’s move on to the practical tips for how to run longer without stopping. The following tips can increase your stamina while running:

Be Consistent

The single most important thing you can do to improve your stamina so that you can run longer without stopping is to be consistent with your training.

Rather than running a day or two one week and then taking a week off, and then trying to run three or four days the following week, set a schedule and run every other day or three days per week as you build up your endurance.

Your heart, lungs, and muscles will not be able to adapt to training if they are not getting a consistent stimulus. This will make every run feel like it might as well be your first run.

Run More Often 

Running one or two days a week is a great place to start, but running more often will get your body adapted to running that much faster. However, exercise caution here: if you are a beginner runner, don’t run more often than every other day to start.

If you’ve consistently been running 3 days a week for several weeks, add a fourth day. After you’ve been running four days a week for at least a month or two, add a fifth day. Just make sure to take at least one rest day per week to allow your body to recover and prevent overuse injuries. 


It’s definitely counterintuitive to recommend walking when you are providing tips for how to run longer without stopping. However, taking walking breaks and using a run-walk approach to your workouts is a great way for beginner runners to actually run longer.

Walking breaks give your legs and the cardiovascular system a chance to recover briefly so that you can then keep going. This will allow you to do a longer workout, which will build your endurance for when you’re fit enough to remove the walking breaks.

Slow Your Pace

The number one reason any runner, regardless of their fitness level, can’t run without stopping is that they’re running too fast. Slowing down your pace is the single best way to run longer without stopping. Rather than focusing on your pace at all, focus on your effort level.

Using the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale, which is a subjective way to describe your effort level on a scale from 1-10 (10 being maximal effort), aiming for a 6-7 during your run.

Monitor Your Heart Rate

Using a heart rate monitor can help ensure you’re running easily enough. You can predict your maximum heart rate by using the formula 220-age in years. Although this isn’t the most accurate estimation, it’s a decent place to start as a beginner.

Generally speaking, the aerobic exercise zone is considered to be 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. For example, if your maximum heart rate is 180 bpm, your heart rate while running would be in the range of 126-144 bpm. 


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