Monday, April 2, 2012

Reader's Question: Running Long Distances

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

"Welcome Stephanie! I have a query about preparing to run. I work out a few times during the week (yoga and a cardio class). I decided that I would like to give running a try and possibly do a marathon next year. Are there any tips that you can share with a novice such as myself?


Howdy Mona!

First I would like to say that is awesome that you want to run a marathon! Training for a marathon does take a little discipline and you have to set your goals and try to achieve them!

For those who are looking for where to start when it comes to starting a new running routine, the best way to start is slow. Try not to jump into any exercise routine. You have to start out slow and gradually build up to the desired routines that you would like to do.

You should set your first running goal by setting a workout/running schedule for the first two weeks of your new program. Schedule consistent runs by shooting for running at least 2 days in a row. You want to try to run 3 to 5 days a week! Try not to take more than two days off in a row, because doing that makes running each day like it’s the first day all over again.

For starting out, 20 minutes is the magic number because that is when the body starts to produce physiological benefits; increased heart size, stoke volume, and capillarization to name a few. You should start out by pushing yourself to run for at least 20 minutes per workout session for the first 2 weeks. You want to maintain a steady run for the duration of the 20 minutes (this is of course after your warm up and stretching!) If you need to stop during this time it is OK! But keep moving! Either briskly walk or significantly decrease the speed at which you are running so you can catch your breath and get a small rest. You want to maintain this routine for at least 14 days. At the end of those 2 weeks you can monitor the progress you have made since the start of your program. Once you have been able to run no stop over your 20 minute run, then slowly add time to your runs (I usually suggest adding times in increments of 10 minutes).

When getting ready for a marathon you want to set a goal at what time you would like to accomplish when you finish the race. So as you gradually build up your tolerance to run longer amounts of time, which is when you try to run a little faster and push yourself to reach the time you would like to accomplish for the race. Like I said before, START OFF SLOW and then gradually build up to the desired time you want.

For those veteran runners out there I suggest incorporating sprint intervals into your run. Let’s say that you have a 40 min run planned for this evening. Start your run (after stretching of course!!) and do your usual run for 15-20 minutes. It is then at that point that you sprint (yes as hard as you can!!) for 15-30 seconds (I suggest to start off with 15 seconds and then gradually build up). After the 15 second sprint, go back to your regular jog for 30 seconds. You can continue this sprint interval for the next 10 minutes (which is suggested), but for those who are in better shape you can do this for the remainder of your jog.

There are always other suggestions you could do to help you start off with your new running routine, but these are just some suggestions that I have personally used with friends that have been beneficial to their success in completing their workouts and getting them started with training for races. Hope this helps! And please feel free to ask any other questions you have!

Also, please feel free to stop by my website for more health and fitness tips!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, you responded! Thanks a lot. I should also add that I do not care for outdoor sports, except for tennis. I will go to the gym in a heartbeat, but running is a BIG move for me.

    Thanks again and I am going to give these a try.