So you’ve finally started running, it's been a few weeks of 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there… All in all a good effort on your part. But despite all your hard work and efforts you just can’t seem to find any consistency going, nor do you seem to make any real progress. Your times aren’t getting any better, your stamina isn’t increasing and your speed actually seems to be getting worse.
Don’t panic and most importantly don’t give up because although it may seem like nothing's working, we’re here to tell you that all is not lost. Because in the greater scheme of things you're not really lost, you’re just in need of a little bit of guidance. And that is where we come in, because today we’re going to teach you:
HOW TO TRAIN TO BE A RUNNER
That’s right, in this article we will be covering a range of topics including:
Now before we dive into all of the above I do think there is one aspect that needs to be covered before anything else… How to start running.
It sounds strange but it is something that gets overlooked so often. Most people just don’t know where to start or how to go about becoming a runner. Luckily for you we’ve set out a simple and concise game plan in our previous edition of this series
HOW TO START RUNNING: QUARANTINE EDITION
So if you haven’t checked that out yet, go over there now and check back in to make sure you’re perfectly equipped to start training to be a runner.
Okay, so now that you’re all caught up and ready to go, we can start with our first and probably the most important aspect of training to be a runner:
How to Warm Up and Cool Down Before and After a Run
You won’t believe how many people neglect this crucial part of running. I see it almost weekly, 2 or 3 runners standing at their starting point getting ready to go and their “warm up” consists of a few side to side movements and a couple of toe touches. Please guys stop, no seriously stop this, because you're actually sabotaging each and every run. And you’re one ill prepared run away from a devastating injury.
You see warming up is the preparation phase. It is where you prepare your body and mind for the high level of activity you’re about to take part in. The warm up serves as the tool that initiates sufficient blood flow to your extremities (arms and legs), activates your muscles and mentally prepares you for the run or race ahead.
So how do you do it? Well it’s actually pretty simple and we’ve put together a simple warm up routine designed by our in house sport scientist.
This routine will take you 10 minutes and requires no equipment, you might need a bit of space but that’s about it. The warm up consists of a few exercises that you will perform continuously for 20 seconds followed by a 20 second rest which you will repeat for a total 3 sets each.
Here’s how it goes:
So now that we have the warm up covered, let's talk about your cool down. And the good news is there are multiple options you guys can choose from, cryotherapy, cool down walks or cycles and even good old fashioned stretching all qualify as a sufficient cool down. Try and get it done within 10 minutes of ending your run and it should be around 10-15 minutes in duration.
Because ultimately the reason for both a warm up and cool down is injury prevention. This is why we regard this area of training as one of the most important aspects of running. It is non-negotiable.
Okay, warm up and cool down… Check.
On to the next thing on the list which is:
How to Set Up a Weekly Training Schedule
A weekly training schedule or training cycle as it's known in the professional world, is a 7 day period that sets out exactly when and where you’re going to train. It usually includes active and rest day splits, daily and total distances and even time and distance targets.
As a beginner you should be looking to get at least 5 training days done. This should be accompanied by a minimum of 2 rest days spread out through the week. So the following example will give you guys an idea of what a classic training schedule would look like:
By following this schedule or something similar, you’ll be giving yourself the best shot at progressing and ultimately improving your overall running performances.
That being said, your individual running performance all depends on how you train. And by that we’re referring to factors such as intensity, average heart rate and overall effort.
That’s why we thought it best to include a segment on:
How to Increase Stamina, Speed and Improve Recovery for Running
Stamina is your ability to both physically and mentally, endure stressful effort or physical activity for a prolonged period of time. By increasing your stamina you will not only be able to run for longer but it won’t be as difficult a task to do.
But that is easier said than done. That’s why the best and most effective way to increase your running stamina is by raising your total weekly volume. And you can do that by including one or two long runs throughout your training schedule.
As for speed training, sprints, interval training and hill running all help with getting you to run faster. The key here is to run faster more often, so that your body can adapt to that type of training stimulus.
Now in terms of recovery, nothing restores the body more effectively than sleep. Yep, sounds a bit silly I know, but it's true and the science backs it up. In fact, some professionals hold it in higher regard than all the fancy-shmancy new age recovery techniques on the market. And the best part of it all? Sleep is 100% free! No brainer right?
You will be surprised how poorly the average person sleeps over the course of a week. So put away those smart phones and get in those Zzzz guys!
All in all these steps will help structure your running training so that you have the confidence knowing it’s getting done correctly. And yes, most people usually don’t know how exactly to train to be a runner.
But luckily for you, WE have given you the basic tools to hit the road asap. And despite all the uncertainty in the world right now, one thing remains … We can always go for a run.