Do you drive by runners in your car in the morning and wish you could do what they do? Or have you been a runner for years, who is getting tired of the same old routes and running schedule? For those of you who regularly or even randomly go outside for a run, you know all about the benefits of “runner’s high.”
People who go running have more energy during the day and usually sleep better during the night. Whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned running machine, it’s not hard to adopt a successful running schedule. It only takes determination, dedication and the desire to get high – on running that is.
The benefits of running are numerous: weight loss, improved health and fitness, and stress relief. The hidden advantages of a running program – the ones that fewer people talk about – make the sport even more enticing. Like the fact that you burn tons of calories and need more of them to re-fuel, hence you can eat more food, more often.
Second of all: stamina that keeps you going all day and all night long (if you get the drift). Third – killer legs. Though few men will admit it, there is something about having toned muscular legs that really makes a man feel proud, not to mention the women.
So then – what are you waiting for? If you are just starting out on your running career it is important to take things slow. This will help to avoid injury, and will benefit your general conditioning. You schedule will include plenty of alternating between walking and running, as you slowly work up to your target running distance or time.
This schedule requires that you carry a reliable stop clock or watch with you, and that you pay attention to how long you are committing to segments of the workout, as well as the overall timeframe. It can be a bit cumbersome to start, but it will be worth it down the road – when you will no longer require timers of any sort.
Begin by walking 5 minutes, running for 5, walking for 5, running for 5, etc. Ideally you would like to maintain this for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to stretch at the start and finish of your exercise.
During the second week, you should try and extend the period of your running to 8 minutes. In other words, walk for 5, run for 8, walk for 5, run for 8, etc. Try to expand the total duration to 40 minutes.
Again, you want to extend the duration of your running – this time to 10 minutes. So walk for 5, run for 10, walk for 5, run for 10, etc.
Maintain your 10 minutes of running, while starting to reduce your walking time. Begin with 4 minutes walking, 10 running, 4 walking, 10 running, etc.
Try to further reduce the amount of time that you spend walking. If you are able, cut the walking down to 2 minutes, while maintaining your running interval at 10 minutes.
The final leg of your running conditioning – walk for 1 minute, run for 10, walk for 1, run for 10. If you find this very challenging, you will want to maintain it for several weeks, until 30 minutes of continuous running is comfortable.
In 6 weeks, you can condition your non-runner’s body into a lean, mean running machine. You will need to run 3 times a week in order to achieve this goal, and it is best for your body if you stagger the days so that there is one day of rest between each run.
If you have been running for some time already, and want to improve on your current schedule, consider adding new features to your routine. You might, for example, run in a different location where there are rolling hills or inclines. If you are lucky enough to live in the vicinity of a beach, it is possibly the most beautiful place for an early morning or sunset run – so take advantage of it! You might also try to challenge yourself by adding sprints into your running schedule.
Similar to the introductory schedule outlined above, you should add sprints to your schedule in small intervals. If you run steady for 15 minutes, start by adding 2 or 3 one-minute wind sprints to your run – you will be surprised how much energy you will have to carry you through the rest of our workout. If you prefer to maintain a relatively low-impact and steady running schedule, you might try introducing light ankle or wrist weights. These weights will not require that you make any drastic changes to your current run, but the extra weight will provide the challenge that you are missing.
There are several important factors to remember when it comes to achieving and maintaining a successful running schedule. First of all, it is important to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Shoes that are specifically designed for running are intended to support the forward and back motion of your feet and legs and help to prevent injury from stress or repetitive strain. Secondly, you want to make sure that you wear weather appropriate clothes for running, which allow your body to move and breath, while also preventing you from becoming chilled. It might take a few runs to get your ideal outfit coordinated, not the one that meets you the most friends (though there is no harm in that) but the one that does not move around or rub as your body moves.
If you want to maintain a good running schedule, it is important to be determined and patient. Long distance runners are not born overnight. The right schedule is just as important for your body’s safety as the right shoes are. Luckily, running is one of the most affordable sports you will ever take up.
After an initial investment in some shoes, you are good to go until it is time to replace them in 12 or 18 months time. So enjoy your new sport, and remember to wave to the people who drive by you in their cars – who only wish they could be as determined to go running. And of course, enjoy your new running high!