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How To Run Farther And Longer Than Ever Before

How To Run Farther And Longer Than Ever Before by Charles Sledge

I hate running but at various times in my life have been going for jobs that require a lot of it. So despite my life long distaste for running (except sprints) I sucked it up and started running everyday. I hated it but forced myself to do it. I started out running to the end of the street with many (and I mean many) breaks in between which was about a mile. It didn’t help that I knew long distance running isn’t exactly great for your overall health and fitness but required by most types of jobs requiring athleticism of any kind.

The last time I had done long distance running was when I wrestled in high school so it had been some time. Even in football we were never made to do long distance running, although gassers were never fun. Point is prior to running I did not have much experience. But since it was required I was determined to research the best ways to make a crappy exercise better. I went on sites that I never thought I would (long distance running) sites which provided some pretty basic advice. Like be hydrated (no kidding) and stretch…so I had to experiment on my own on how to make long distance running more bearable and maybe even fun…anyways what I discovered is written below.

Mental Game

Long distance running is tedious, I don’t care what anyone says. It’s boring while being exhausting after awhile. Something I found was that long distance running was primarily a mental state. While every athletic endeavor has a mental component to it, this applies double to long distance running. For example if you max deadlift is four hundred and five pounds your not going to jump up and do four hundred and ninety five pounds because you have a better mental attitude. Four hundred and ten maybe but not four hundred and ninety five. With long distance running when getting my mind right I could do nearly double what I did before.

One key thing was to set goals for myself. What I mean by this is not that I wrote down “I’ll run five miles today” or anything like that. What I mean is that when running and thinking ‘this sucks ass I’m stopping’ I would pick something in the distance and force myself to run too it before taking a break. It could be a tree, a rock, a sign, whatever. As long as it was a bit in the distance but still in my field of view. Something that I could focus on to ignore the way that my body was feeling. As long as I could zero in my focus on whatever that object was I could go farther. Then once reaching it I would set another mental goal post and go towards it.

What About Music For Long Distance Running?

Naturally I tried music as it seems every jogger uses music to prevent themselves from succumbing to boredom. I have mixed feelings about using music while working out. For example when weight lifting I don’t listen to music as I find it a annoyance same with doing bag work or combat type work of any type. Plus during combat type work there is a lot to be said and communicated as far as improving. This isn’t to say I’m against music while working out simply that I think it can overdone. Though I also work out at home so I’m not submitted to the ear and mind assaulting top 40 music that most are the local corporate gym.

Anyways I used music but to limited help. I tried different types. I usually listen to outlaw country and classic rock but switched it up for running trying higher paced music but it just didn’t do it for me. Sure it distracted me a little but it wasn’t the holy grail by any means. However this may be different for you as I know many runners who swear by their music. But for it it just wasn’t motivating enough. And that’s with trying many different genres and types to see if it made a difference and while some were definitely better than others overall I think music is overrated for working out, including long distance running. However there is one notable exception.

Found The Key

However stumbling around through different ways of increasing my running distance I was able to discover something that completely changed the distance and my mindset towards long distance running. I found this key in an unlikely place but made a lot of sense because of what I was training for. So after devouring long distance running websites designed for feminine yuppie boys it just wasn’t cutting it for me. In my research to go outside that genre I stumbled upon military cadences. I though hell this is what I’m training for anyways maybe it could help and it helped more than I thought possible.

Military cadences were able to motivate me and keep me going one hundred times more than any music that I had listened to previous. I don’t know what it is about it but it resonates with me and helps to keep me going. Cadences have been used in various militaries in some form since early civilization and for good reason. These things are effective and much better than the feminine high paced EDM or pop music runners frequently recommend. For one my testosterone doesn’t drop every time the song comes on, hell if anything it rises. So is you want to run longer and farther than every before pick yourself up a collection of military cadences and you’ll do so.

My person favorite is “Mama Can’t You See” by USMC.

Summary

So as much as long distance running is and it’s questionable health benefits at some point many of us will find ourselves in a situation where it is required. Maybe it preparing for a sport, for boot camp, or for the police academy, regardless the use of what is lain out in this article will help make something often boring and unbearable at the very least bearable. So set goal posts, ditch the music, and pick up cadences. Who knows at the end you might even enjoy going out and hitting the pavement or grass. Long distance running isn’t going away so sometimes it bests to find ways to do somethings you don’t want to when you have to. Listen to the above and run farther and longer than you thought possible.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.

-Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge

  • Personally, I like to increase running distance in small increments-each time I run, 100 yards or so.

    I never really cared for music while running

    • That’s smart, most runners I know who do it consistently started out just like that and now run five plus miles on their runs. And hey you gotta do whatever works for you lol.

  • I did Track & Field and Cross Country in high school. Not sure how I did it then, but yes, it is all mental. I never ran with music. I would simply be left alone with my thoughts as I chugged along for 3-6 miles.
    Now cardio bores me to tears, but I need to get it back up to snuff. Just did a Taekwondo class that left me gasping last night which normally should’ve only left me with a light sweat.

    • Lol yeah cardio is a necessary evil in many regards, at least that’s how I look at it.