Make Sure You Warm-upA good warm-up before running can prevent all sorts of problems, such as side stitches and muscle tightness, that could sabotage your run. And -- along those same lines -- don't forget to cool down for at least five minutes at the end of your run, too.
Run OutsideLet's face it: Running on the treadmill can sometimes be, well, boring. Although treadmill running may be a little easier physically, it can be a much more difficult mental challenge. So, if weather and safety permits, get yourself outside for your runs. The fresh air, scenery, and new routes may distract you so much that you'll run longer than you normally would on that old treadmill.
Do a Run/Walk CombinationDon't put pressure on yourself to run the entire length of your desired distance. By doing a run/walk combination, you'll be able to cover more distance and you'll still get a great workout. And, don't worry, you'll slowly build the fitness -- and confidence -- you need to run longer without walking.
Stop and Stretch"I had to stop running because my calf/quad/hamstring was tight." Tightness in various muscles is a common reason why beginner runners (as well as more experienced ones) end their runs early. Often, if you're feeling tightness in a muscle, a little mid-run stretching can go a long way. Try stretching the affected body part for about 30 seconds and then try continuing your run. Of course, if you're feeling pain that doesn't get better as you warm-up, you may need to stop running. (Find out more about when it's OK to run through pain.)
Run with Other PeopleMany of the beginner runners I coach remark that they never would be able to run long without their running partners. Whether it's because of peer pressure, the distraction of conversation, the motivational support, or maybe a combination of all three, runners who buddy up with friends usually find that they can run longer. If you usually run alone, ask a friend or family member to join you, or find a running group near you.
Prevent Side StitchesWhile you may think that side stitches are an inevitable part of running, you can actually avoid them. Follow these steps to preventing side stitches, so they don't force you to cut your runs short.
Run at a Conversational PaceOne of the most common reasons why beginner runners stop running before they reach their goal distance is because they're running too fast. When you're first getting started with running, you really should be running at a conversational pace, which means that you can very easily talk in complete sentences while running. If you're gasping for air, you're definitely going too fast.
Add Strength TrainingStrength training helps your body better deal with the stresses of running. Your muscles will be able to perform longer before getting fatigued, which means you can go for more miles. All it takes is two or three 15- to 20-minute strength-training sessions a week to build more muscle mass.
More: Benefits of Strength-Training