When it comes to starting a running program—or any other training regime—taking the first steps right is critical. Running is the ideal cardio exercise. It burns mad calories and can help you get into the best shape of your life. Nevertheless, running’s high impact nature can lead to injury, burnout and a myriad of health troubles.
As a result, if you’re looking to start running but don’t want to go through the agony, here are some tips that can help.
If you’re currently sedentary or really out-of-shape, start with a 20 to 30-minute walk four times a week for two to three weeks. Walking can help you boost metabolism and get your body ready for more intense exercise by strengthening running specific tendons and muscles. And most importantly: Walking helps you build the habit of exercising in a fun and easy way.
First-run horror scenarios are common, but preventable nonetheless. In fact, if you never ran before or are out-of-shape, then running is going to be a little painful because your body is not yet conditioned to running’s impact. Luckily, you can ward off the agony by taking walk breaks and keeping your running at a conversational pace. This is what is known as the walk-run-walk program.
The walk-run-walk training recipe is the ideal approach for boosting fitness level without increasing the likelihood of injury or overtraining. Usually, opting for this method lets you catch your breath and shields your joints and muscle from any premature damage. The walk/run program is about alternating between running intervals (shedding pounds and improving fitness) and walking breaks (for recovery). Adjust the length and intensity of each interval to your own needs and training goals. Just be careful not to do too much too soon; otherwise expect trouble along the way.
As the training progresses forward, make sure to up the ante by increasing the time spent running and taking less and less walking breaks for recovery. After 5 or 6 weeks, you should be running continually for 25 to 30-minute without much huffing and puffing. But this is not written in stone. Don’t make a big jump as doing too much too soon can spell disaster on your fitness and health levels. Instead, keep a keen ear on the way you feel both during and after the training, then adjust your training approach accordingly. Your body is your best coach; it can tell you when you need to keep going or when to stop.
Ready to run faster, longer and take on more challenge? Instead of letting momentum dictate the pace of your speed and running mileage, determine the purpose of each workout before you head out the door. To run longer, you need to gradually increase running distance by following the ten percent rule. Becoming a faster runner requires regular speed training, such as sprints and fartleks. Nevertheless, determining the purpose of each run can help you take the guess work out of your training, thus boost performance and help you become a better runner.