How to Prepare to Run Long Distance

Running a full 26.2 mile marathon should really only require a lot of stamina and determination. But for many people who haven’t run long distances before it can seem to require even more tolerance for pain. This shouldn’t be the case, if running is painful then something must be wrong with your running form or equipment. This article deals with how to address these issues so that you can get back to focusing on improving your stamina to successfully run long distances.

First let’s talk about what one should wear when they go for a long distance (greater than 5 miles) run. When one runs long distance then as one swings their arms and legs any rubbing of the arms against the body or the legs against themselves can lead to irritating rashes later on. For example it’s normal for arms to rub against the side of one’s body, slightly under armpit area. The constant rubbing can become painful after 10 or more miles of running. Applying a small amount of vaseline directly under the armpit area can help alleviate this issue. Some runners try to keep their arms apart farther from their body, this is a better solution but some running purists argue that it may expend more energy than necessary.

Another issue is that when running long distances most people tend to sweat a lot. Sweat, combined with constant rubbing of the running shirt can cause nipples to bleed. This is another common problem that is easily addressed by applying a little vaseline on the nipples before running. Another solution is to get a different running shirt. Runners prefer mesh shirts to cotton ones because they are lighter weight and more breathable but mesh material tends to irritate the skin more frequently than cotton.

Shorts can cause similar rashes around the waistline. Most running shorts aren’t very baggy like basketball shorts and are usually made of some lightweight material that again is more likely to irritate the skin through constant rubbing. One could go to the extreme of wearing something form fitting to eliminate rubbing completely but most runners trying to run their first marathon probably won’t want to invest in a professionally fitted running suit. So the best solution is to simply make sure that running shorts aren’t too tight but aren’t too loose that they constantly rub either. They should fit just right.

If one is going to be running for more than an hour in the sun then it is highly advisable to wear sunglasses. Constantly running in the sun day after day without sunglasses can make eyes very sensitive to sunlight. Wearing a visor is another alternative but is yet another article of clothing that one has to make sure fits just right. Most sunglasses provide ultraviolet (UV) protection which a visor won’t protect you against. So getting a cheap pair of UV sunglasses is the best solution.

Finally the most important piece of equipment are the socks and shoes. Socks have to fit the foot perfectly, any slack in the sock can produce painful blisters. So it’s good practice to buy shorter ankle high socks where there is less chance of being any slack as opposed to longer calf to knee high socks which tend to droop towards the ankles while running. While running the slack can get pulled into and under the foot and can produce a blister.

Shoes should generally be a half size to a full size larger than a person’s normal shoe size. This is because feet tend to swell while running and it can be painful if one is wearing shoes that are exactly the right size. Running shoes should generally be changed every 300 miles. This varies from person to person depending on their running style but 300 miles is a good first estimate. Even though a shoe may still look very new after putting 300 miles on them, a shoe tends to lose most of it’s cushioning ability by this point. Running is a high impact sport because of the constant striking of feet against the ground and proper cushioning of the feet is necessary.

A side effect of poor cushioning of the feet is that sometimes it shortens a person’s running stride. This in turn results in knees aching or hurting. So if one suffers from aching knees then one should inspect their shoes. If the condition persists then one should visit a professional running store and have them inspect their running form. Most professional shoe stores have a treadmill where they can tape record, critique and offer advice on how to correct running form.