How to run without stopping

For a lot of runners running without stopping is the dream. Let’s start with saying you don’t ever have to and you can stop putting that undue pressure on yourself. Walking alone is really just as good for you and it still gets you where you’re going! Plus the run/walk method is a legit, grown up way to tackle a marathon so there’s that. But… lots of runners still want to run a certain distance or length of time with out stopping at all. Truthfully when I started running and running again I wanted to be able to run without stopping too. It can be frustrating to try at running, stick with it long term and still not be able to run without stopping. It’s more of a process getting to that point than there is one thing you can do so I have a few ideas to get you there. Here’s all the things you should keep in mind if your goal is to run without stopping!

Storey time: I’ve developed an irrational fear of falling while running in an instant which really changed my mind about all this. Even though it’s never happened in the thousands of km run I’m terrified that I will fall. Doesn’t really bother me on my bike though (weird right). An old student of mine came back to lab after a not that bad fall all bloodied and it sort of freaked me out more than it should have. That got me thinking If I have a bad fall while I’m running and end up laid up not only does that mean I can’t run for a while (sad face) it could also mean I can’t work too. If it’s bad enough that I can’t drive that would shut down our business for a while. Which probably wouldn’t happen realistically but that’s where the fear comes from, not the scars. After seeing her and realizing how much a fall could suck I decided running the whole time wasn’t that important after all.

Give it time

When you’re new to running it’s crazy how fast you progress. Every run is faster than your last and in no time at all you’ve doubled your distance. Running the whole time you’re out is the same, it just comes a bit later. It’s a totally different sort of metric than pace or distance after all. The less fit you are starting off the longer it might take. In the meantime try the other things on the list and trust that when you get there.

A little unpopular point on this if running is part of your weight loss plan then you might have a much easier time consistently running after you shift a few more pounds. That’s not a big deal at all though because there’s a good chance you’ll be faster when you do since you’re building muscle faster now. I can run a 10k now without stopping but walking up a hill can require a break when I’m carrying a 6×6! As the weight comes off, and run/walking will help with that, it will be easier to run the whole time.

Run slower

In other words get your pace right for running the whole distance. No runner out there can sustain their absolute maximum pace forever. Even elite runners can’t keep it up forever they just slow down to keep running. If you have been run/walking 5ks for a few months now I bet if you slow down enough you can run one km now the whole time. 

Run shorter (sometimes)

It’s freaking hard if not impossible to go farther and faster at the same time. Constant running should also be added to that. If you can’t run a whole 10k now without stopping you might be able to run 2k! Give yourself permission to do a really, really short run and just aim to run that the whole time. Doing even a small distance will give you the confidence to try again and again. If getting miles in is your goal then just set the goal to run without stopping for the first little bit and then relax into the odd walk break.

Run longer (other times)

If your really want to run without stopping you’re really aiming to work on your endurance. The biggest way we can do that is to spend more time on our feet. That’s why endurance runners do a long run once a week. There’s no need to go crazy with your distance but once a week stay running for 15 minutes more than you usually do. But only extend one workout a week. After a week or two increase that time by another 5 – 10 minuets. After a few cycles of this you’ll find you have a lot more stamina on your regular runs. In no time you’ll be running without stopping.

Tackle your run mile by mile

It’s daunting to think about the entire distance or time you want to stay running. Play some mental games with yourself to tackle your run in chunks. That could be treating it like multiple distances you can already run, mile by mile or break it down into percentages like I do. Thinking of your run as a segment of smaller runs is just mentally easier.

Find something to think about

This sounds pretty basic but you’d be surprised the difference it makes! Otherwise you will just be thinking about how terrible running feels at the moment the whole time. If you’re thinking through a personal problem, planning your next vacation or mentally compiling next year’s christmas list running continuously just gets so much easier!

Be patient

I know how desperately you want to be able to run without stopping and how much of an accomplishment it is. Here’s the thing though if you stick with it and train for certain challenges you will reach a point where you really do feel like you could run forever without stopping. If you stay consistent and do nothing else you will get there. Honey’s son and his friends were over and discussing some of their more questionable life choices one day. All these 23 year old boys in great shape were commenting that they couldn’t run for more than 3 minutes even if they were being chased. There seemed to be a consensus on that issue. I piped up that my longest run this month was just over three hours but if my life or freedom was on the line I could probably run longer. And that’s how a 35 year old lady owns a bunch of strapping young guys if you’re interested.

If you get into running to the point where you’re training for a half (maybe even a 10k) you’ll have days where you literally feel like you could run forever. No really I’m not joking! Your long run days aren’t anywhere close to full speed and they creep up every week. Some days the weather will be perfect, you’ll be well rested and in the perfect mood and you will totally feel like you could just keep running forever. Yes, that feels just as amazing as it sounds. So great that it doesn’t really matter when you get there. Just chill and give it some more time.

Sometimes you’ll still need a walk break

I used to care a lot about running without stopping that was until I could. Once I could that mattered a whole lot less. Now I almost never do. I walk when I drink or eat because I’m pretty sure I would fall if I didn’t. I walk up hills when I’m tiered, to reset my pace or sometimes to adjust my outfit or phone. If I feel like a walk break I take one. Other times I run the whole time, it doesn’t really matter. A walk break or two doesn’t ‘cancel’ all those other parts of the run out so give yourself a break.

Running the whole distance is a really great goal and a big accomplishment when it happens. However its totally (mostly) psychological. Fitness wise it makes almost no difference if you took a few walk breaks, but I get that it’s still a goal. I hope these tips are helpful for you in that. If you’re a newer runner what distance is your goal to run with out stopping? For seasoned runners how long did it take you to run 5k without stopping? For me it was about 2 months. Leave it in the comments below!

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