Are you looking to run more miles? Whether you're training for your first marathon or just trying to run five miles a week for the first time, we've got some tips that might help you increase your volume.
Just Say No... To Saying No
Once you've committed to upping your miles, it's essential to make a schedule. If you pencil in a 10-miler on the calendar, you'll be much more likely to get it done than playing the day's mileage by ear. If you allow yourself an out, it only gets harder, so schedule that run as if it were a meeting with your boss — and stick to it. Unless you're limping or legitimately sick, tell yourself your daily mileage is not optional.
It's a Date
Try to make as many running dates as possible. If it's 6 a.m. and raining, 7 p.m. and you're hungry, your favorite movie just came on TV, or you'd rather go to happy hour — how likely are you to motivate yourself out the door? Knowing that you've committed to meeting a friend or a local running club will make you far more likely to actually run. When it comes to fitting in those extra miles, peer pressure can be a great thing.
Switch It Up
Be creative with your runs. Have you tried the run-commute to or from work? The lunchtime run? The errand run? The post-dinner, kids-are-finally-asleep run? The destination run? If you're going to run a lot of miles, it's best to keep it interesting.
You may have to get a little creative with your planning: Is there a nearby gym where you can take a shower post-run-commute? Do you have a small backpack that will fit your essentials for a destination run? Plotting and planning can be great to think about the next time you hit the road. Instead of dreading your usual 5-mile loop, you'll begin looking forward to the adventures awaiting you.
Break It Up
If you're pushing 60 miles a week, it's probably a good idea to run twice a day at least once a week. These double runs or "doubles" can help you get in more mileage without making every run double digits. To start, you can run a few shake-out miles the morning before track workouts or tempo runs. You can also try running a double on easy days.
For example, you might run five miles in the morning and five miles in the evening. That might make it a bit easier to fit in 10 miles on a weekday. But don't get too crazy with doubles. Start out with one double a week and move up to two to three times per week if you're feeling good. In general, avoid doubles on long run days and try to allow at least six hours in between runs, if you can. And if you only shower after one of those runs, we won't tell.
Life Around Running
This might seem like common sense, but try to make your life as running-friendly as possible. Talk to your friends and family and ask for their help. Maybe your boss will let you take an extra long gym/lunch break if you agree to stay a little later in the evening. Or maybe a friend will agree to hold you accountable for morning runs. As your mileage increases, make sure you're also paying attention to nutrition and sleep — these go a long way in making sure you have the energy to keep going.
And please remember: It gets easier. The more you do something, the more comfortable it gets. If running 20 (or 30 or 40) miles a week seems impossible, start slowly. Before you know it, your old peak mileage will be your new routine.
Find your next race.