Mo Farah, Bekele, Haile running ()Mo Farah, Bekele, Haile running () © Copyright

Boost your distance

It’s marathon training season, so whether you’re looking to run 26.2 or simply increase your endurance, our friends at have some top tips.

1 – Up your strength

If you want to run further, your muscles need to be able to cope with demands, so it’s vital you include strength training in your running regime.

If you start by strengthening your core, you’ll find the rest far simpler, as this will help improve your posture and stance, too. It’s also worth checking that your shopping list is packed full of protein-rich foods that’ll build leg strength.

2 – Play with speed

Interval or fartlek training is highly effective at not only making you faster, but helping you go further, too. It’ll make you a far more efficient runner, and you can see a change in your overall fitness in a short space of time.

Interval training increases type-two muscle fibres (the ones that help you run fast), as well as strengthening quads, improving the strength of the ventilatory muscles (which will help you breathe more efficiently), and preparing you mentally for racing, whatever the distance.

3 – Go long

Ensuring you fit one long run a week into your training plan is really important, but don’t overdo it too early. Your distance should only be increased by about ten per cent a week, no matter how good you’re feeling – pushing too hard could lead to injury and have an adverse effect.

If you’re training for a marathon, or ultra, it’s not the norm to run the full distance in training. “I very rarely train over 30 miles in a 12 week training programme, as it takes so long to recover from running such long distances,” says ultra runner and Hoka One One ambassador Marcus Scotney. “Time on feet is more important than distance.”

4 – Eat energy

What, and when, you eat can have a massive effect on your performance. You’ll need to opt for slow-release foods that provide sustained energy to help you keep going for longer, such as a mix of carbohydrates like oats as well as homemade smoothies.

Don’t rely too heavily on gels and energy drinks as these can be packed full of artificial ingredients.

5 – Run happy

When you hit the wall, it can be hard to muster any positive thoughts – but keep pushing through it.

Scotney recommends putting a big smile on your face to help you along. “Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match. So smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.”

Next time you feel like giving up, literally grin and bear it – you’d be surprised by how much it can help.

Visit, the social network for runners, for training plans, running chat and lots more

Photo: Getty Images


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