Winter Snow RunningThere are many reasons why we like to run. Running is a great way to get fit and lose weight. Some like the challenge of finishing a race in a certain time.

I treat running like a hobby. It’s something I love to do and when I’m not running I’m looking forward to the next one.

Finishing under a certain time is not something I put much focus on. However, like most intermediate runners I wanted to increase my running distance.

Here’s how I was able to do it:

1. First I had to figure out my cadence. Cadence and running stride rate are interchangeable words. Cadence is calculated in Strides Per Minute or SPM. You can figure out your own cadence by counting the number of times your right or left foot hits the ground in a minute. Let’s say your right foot hit the ground 50 times in 60 seconds. Take that number and double it to get the total for both feet. So your cadence in this example would be 100 Strides Per Minute.

Plain and simple I took shorter strides and increased my cadence which improved my distance immensely.

2. I started my runs slow and ended strong. I feel like an even expenditure of energy throughout the whole run is important. You should be able to carry on a conversation in the beginning of your run. After a few kilometers, I would take any dialogue you might be having with a friend and turn it into an internal monologue. If you want to get better at running, let your mind relax! Concentrate on your breath and pace – but – nothing should be forced!

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

3. I increased my kilometers gradually. To keep free from injuries I would suggest doing only one long run per week. Pick one day out of the week where you have the time to invest in a long run. You don’t want to feel rushed to complete your long run, enjoy it!

4. When I felt tired I slowed down but never fully stopped. In addition to running, I also like to swim. There is a German guy, in his early 30s, who regularly comes to the pool I swim at. He has the best endurance out of all of the regulars who are there week in week out. I approached him once during one of his rare rest breaks and asked: “How can you just keep going?” He replied: “If you want to increase your distance it’s pretty simple. When you get tired don’t stop, just slow down to a moving rest, but keep moving.”

5. Maybe the most important out of all: I changed WHAT I was feeding my body! I went from eating the standard Canadian diet of meat, dairy and oils to a living plant based diet. I didn’t add caffeine or running gels during long runs. I started eating a diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. It made a drastic difference!

Be patient. Anything worth achieving is going to take time.