Expanding your horizons? Prepping for more distance.

As you become a better, more consistent runner, chances are that  your distance is going to increase.  As you feel stronger and more confident, long runs can start getting longer.  A new training plan can take you from 5k to 10k and beyond.

With Bluefin programs, you’re spared a lot of the guesswork of coming up with workouts, but there are still some small tweaks you can make to your routine that can help you prepare yourself for those longer distances.

Hydrate differently.  Longer distance work means (obviously) longer runs and more time out there sweating and losing hydration.  That makes drinking plenty of water that much more important.  Just remember, we’re not talking about guzzling right before your run.  Hydration needs to be an all-day affair.  If you do want to go heavy on the water at some point, make it a little while after your run, not before.

Cross-train.  A 5k pace is pretty good for building the muscle you need to run 20 or 30 minutes with pretty good intensity.  At longer distances, it becomes more important to mix it up with things like weights, circuit work, or just fun sports and activities that add some variety to your week.  Doing this will not only help you get stronger than you will by running alone, it will also help protect your body from repetitive-motion injuries.

Gear up.  If you are doing more and more distance work, it’s probably safe to call yourself a serious runner.  If that’s you, don’t be afraid to invest in the things that help you perform well.  Don’t just ignore annoyances like chaffing, scratchy layers, or ill-fitting clothes.  Even if it’s one small piece of gear at a time, get what you need to feel good while you work out.

Change your music.  We’ll end with an easy one.  When’s the last time you refreshed your playlist?  You might find that different kinds of music (and differently ordered tracks) do a better job of focusing and motivating you through your run.  Experiment a little and see what you think.

How about you?  Any tips for helping developing runners go the extra mile?

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