A goal for many runners is to run for 30 minutes without stopping. If you’ve been running regularly or following a running/walking plan like Couch to 5k, you may be working up towards this goal.
In this blog I’d like to share some tips on how to run for 30 minutes without stopping, with a view of helping you to achieve your goal.
Being able to run for 30 minutes without stopping is a huge milestone for many beginner runners as it means their endurance and stamina is improving, as well as their pacing and running fitness. It also has a multitude of benefits for your physical and mental health.
Many studies have shown the benefits of running, including the sought-after runner’s high. One study from John Hopkins University has shown that regular running or jogging “is the single best thing you one can do to slow the cognitive decline that accompanies normal aging”.
Here are my top 7 tips on how to run for 30 minutes without stopping.
How to run for 30 minutes without stopping: 7 tips for beginner runners
Choose your route
Route and terrain are incredibly important when it comes to achieving a goal like running for 30 minutes without stopping. You need to find a route that is a flat, even surface so you don’t have to worry about running up hills or uneven terrain that could slow you down or make the run even harder for you.
Road running is great as it offers an even surface, but be cautious of any road traffic. Athletics tracks or playing fields are also good choices as they offer flat surfaces making them ideal for uninterrupted runs.
If you’re not quite ready to get outdoors, why not consider running on a treadmill. Just make sure the speed and incline of the treadmill are suitable for your running experience and fitness levels.
When running for 30 minutes or more non-stop, your pace needs to be consistent and it should feel comfortable. In other words, you should be able to hold a conversation whilst running and not feel out of breath.
If you’ve been running regularly, you should have got a taste of what a comfortable, easy pace feels like. When practiced regularly over time, it should feel like a pace that you could easily maintain for 30 minutes and more over longer distances.
The key to running is to develop your endurance first as a solid base, then focus on speed later.
And, remember, not all runners are created equal. Someone’s easy pace may be faster or slower than yours, it really is unique to each runner.
Related: How to pace your run
Check your form
Many beginner runners have a tendency to either hunch over or tense up during their run. This can cause strain in the shoulders, neck, upper back and arms which doesn’t make for comfortable running!
If you ever feel tension in your neck, arms and shoulders, it’s a sign that you need to check your running form. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you holding tension in your face and jaw?
- Are your shoulders hunched or raised slightly towards your ears?
- Are your fists clenched?
- Are you holding your phone while you run, or a water bottle?
All these can contribute to tension and strain in your body, so now is the time to learn how to run in a more relaxed fashion. Even pulling your sleeves over your hands can cause tension in your arms and shoulders.
Follow these few simple tips to help you run more relaxed:
- Unclench your jaw and unfurrow your brow.
- Bring your shoulders down from your ears. Imagine your shoulders are melting into your body.
- Keep your hands loose and imagine your holding a 2p coin in between your thumb and forefinger.
- Avoid holding anything in your hands whilst you run, such as your phone, as this can cause tension and imbalances in your running form.
Find a training plan
You may be using a running/walking training plan like Couch to 5k or a more intermediate 5k training plan to help you run for 30 minutes without stopping. Whichever plan you are using, it’s important that you build up to your goal over a matter of weeks.
Make time to run and each week complete between two to three runs a week. It’s important you remain consistent throughout the training schedule and you’ll soon see improvements in your endurance and stamina.
Remember that a training plan should always be used as a guide only. If you feel you want to do more runs one week, and less in another, then that’s fine. Just remember to be consistent!
Wear the right gear
A lot can be said of running gear to get you motivated for your run. Many runners get excited by the thought of being able to run in a new pair of leggings or a new running top.
Although it’s always nice to be able to run in stylish gear, remember to choose clothing and shoes that are comfortable and supportive. You don’t want to be getting blisters 10 minutes into your run.
If you’re running in the winter, wear gear that is warming yet breathable. If you’re going to be running in the summer, the key is to wear clothing that cools you down and doesn’t chafe.
Run with a friend
Running with a friend or family member is a great way to distract yourself on your run, and take your focus away from the clock.
Another way to distract yourself during your run is to listen to some of your favourite music or podcasts.
If you struggle to find motivation to go running, then why not consider joining a local running group? This is a great way to be accountable on your runs and make some friends in the process!
Fuel your run
It’s important to give your body the energy it needs to attack your run. Running on an empty stomach works for some people, but consider having a small snack before your run.
Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source as they release energy a lot faster. Try and have something at least 30 minutes before you plan to run so your body has time to fully digest the food. Here are some good options.
- Greek yoghurt with berries
- Overnight oats
- Energy balls
- Protein smoothie
Related: What to eat before a run