Running is a great activity and it rightfully is one of the most popular workouts. It does not require a large investment, it’s a natural motion and despite all the high intensity hype, it offers benefits other types of training can’t offer (the same applies the other way too). There are certain disadvantages but many more benefits.
However, some people have a hard time getting into running in an acceptable way. They get demotivated because they don’t see enough progress, they have aches, limitations or don’t know how. The following pointers might help:
– Don’t go from 0 to 60 right away. Take your time to build up duration, speed and intensity. Doing too much too soon will only lead to overtraining and/or injuries. Be patient and add structure to your training.
– Running ‘blind’. Don’t base the quality of your workout based on your speed. That’s a privilege for established and experienced athletes. They know their body so well that they know exactly what each intensity level feels like. Instead, get a heart rate monitor. Ask a coach to determine heart rate zones either by doing a lab test, field test or the Formula of Karvonen. If you need help, contact us or check out our fitness programs.
– Add structure to your training. This is very important. You can train less and risk less injuries but have better results with the right structure. Read a few books on the subject (magazines don’t count) or contact find a good coach or training program.
– Add variation to your training. Don’t run the same distance, same pace, same heart rate zone every time. Switch it up and challenge your running skills in different ways.
– It’s ok to walk! If you’re a beginner and just starting out, it’s totally fine to walk. Start off slow and gradually decrease your walking time and increase your running time. Keep track of these and keep a log. Even if you are a more experienced runner, it’s ok to walk if you have an ache or a bad day.
– Focus on form! Don’t run like a slouch or a bank robber trying to get away from the police. Roll your shoulders back, head up and arms relaxed. Swing your arms, this is proven to be a much more efficient way to run.
– Focus on your breathing. Everyone has a different preference. Try breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Inhale and exhale for 2 seconds each. Control your breathing.
– Bring music! This is a dilemma for me being a trainer and also self defense coach. Sorry ladies but only keep one earbud in or run with your large intimidating husband! Just for your safety. That being said, music can be very motivating.
– Have a workout buddy or coach. It keeps you on track and motivated.
Hope this helps, no go out and get some miles in those legs!
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.