Lot of people ask how to approach running. Most people set out on unplanned jogs. Many start to get injuries or pain and leave it. Running is a wonderful form of sport and I started late in my life around 15 months back. Here are some of the things that has helped me and will help any beginner:
Warm up & Cool down – Warmups minimize your risk for injuries. Jog for a comfortable 8-10 mins before starting your run. Do some dynamic warmup exercises – Walking lunges, knee hugs, Straight leg kicks, Ankle pulls, high knees, butt kicks, lateral shuffle. After your run, cool down with 5-10 min jog to flush the lactic acid out of your legs. Foam roll to reduce soreness and will help you keep your muscles getting knots.
Interval workout – One day of the week do interval workout. This will help you increase stamina. You may do it like this pattern:
- Jog/walk 50 mtrs
- Run 50 mtrs
- Run 100 mtrs
- Jog/ Walk 100 mtrs
- Run 150 mtrs
- Jog/Walk 150 mtrs
- Run 200 mtrs
- Jog/Walk 200 mtrs
- Run 250 mtrs
- Jog/walk 250 mtrs
Increase the distance every week and remove the walk with jog.
Short & Long Sprint – Short Sprint helps develop speed and power, long sprints help develop endurance. If you are planning to get into your best shape, do short sprints. If you are targeting 10K and half marathons, do long sprints. Short sprints are best for burning calories , adding muscle strength and power.
Short Sprints – Do 6-8 sprints of 100 mtrs at 70-80% effort. Recover for 1 min in between. 70-80% effort, means, you can speak a few words while running but cant converse.
Long Sprints – Do 3-4 sprints of 400 mtrs at 70-80% effort. Recover for 2 minutes between sprints.
Increase your distance and number of sprints as you progress.
Fartleks – Fartlek training is simply defined as long distance running, intermixed with periods of slower running. This will increase your aerobic capacity. Incorporate 1 session per week. To start with you can do this:
1 min run followed by 1 min jog followed by 2 min run>2 min jog>3 min run>2 min jog>4min run>3 min jog>5min run>3 min jog. As you advance, you can do active recovery with 2 min jog in between and go down the ladder with 5,4,3,2,1 minutes run. The shorter the run period, the faster the speed should be.
- Long runs – Long distance running increases your aerobic capacity which is maximum amount of oxygen consumed by your body during exercise. Long runs should be at least 25-40% of your overall weekly mileage. This will be 1 session per week. Increase your mileage by 10% every week. This should purely be such that you can hold a conversation. If you are unable to do that means you are going too fast. To start with, go for time instead of miles. Like a 20 min long run or a 3 km run. Just keep your run continuous and progressive every week.
- Strength training –You should do strength training at least once a week preferably twice a week which is crucial to your health and optimal performance. It will help you prevent injury and enhances performance. Specially as you age, strength training is particularly important. Commit 60 mins a week to strength training. You don’t have to go to a gym for this. A strength training exercise is simply an anatomical movement with resistance. The resistance may come from a band or machine or body weight. Your muscle cant decipher where the resistance is coming from. You should do full body strength training which means working on lower body, upper body and mid section. May be, 3 each of lower and upper and two of midsection.
- Notes – Don’t forget your warmups, cooldown. Static stretching post run, roller foam muscle release. I would also strongly recommend once a week massage. Avoid injuries. Increase mileage gradually. Say, do for three weeks same mileage and if you are feeling comfortable with it increase thereafter. Increase your aerobic capacity which means you run 75% of your weekly mileage at a relaxed pace. Stay positive. Record your runs. There are various apps. If possible, get a partner. Get yourself a good pair of shoe. Stay positive. There will be bad days.