When you first start looking at some of these training programs as a new runner, the idea of running 5, 6 or 7 miles seems impossible. It did, and still does, to me some days. But one thing to remember is that your long runs don’t have to be that long. They should just be longer than your other training runs at first. There are several ways to increase your long run days so you are certain to find a method that works for you.
Slowly Increase Your Distance
When you start running, only increase your mileage about 10% each week. I’ve found that one of the easy ways to do that, especially when you have limited time for your workouts, is to add distance to my long run. When I started running, I increased my long runs by 0.25 to 0.50 miles each week. It wasn’t much but over time, I was able to add a couple of miles to my long run.
Slowly Increase Your Time
Another way to think about your long runs is by time rather than distance. Instead of telling yourself that you have to run five miles on your long run, think about running for a certain number of minutes. For example, if you run for 15 to 20 minutes most days, try to run for 30 to 40 minutes on your long run day.
The Walk-Run-Walk Plan
If running double the distance or time on your long runs days is too hard, add short bursts of walking into the workout. Just being up on your legs for the longer period of time will help increase your strength and endurance. You can add these walking sections by alternating a 30 second walk with a 30 second run. Over time, increase the intervals to a one minute walk and a one minute run. Eventually, you will find that you can increase your run time as you add to your distance.
Good luck and keep rocking your long runs!