Are you running? If you don’t have any particular health problems that might not recommend it, that’s a good thing. But if you want results, you’ll have to organize a little!
A lot of new runners conceive the idea as very simple. Exit effectively and run, at your own pace, as much as you like or impose yourself. It is a good idea at first, but over time such an approach makes you to get stuck, to blaze, to stay at relatively the same performances and to become extremely boring.
It is ideal to try to vary your running days, to practice different types of training every day. The easiest is to take a training program. There are many available, the most advantageous are the ones that offer you guidance during training, on your smartwatch or phone. Garmin Connect, Strava or TrainingPeaks are some of the great sources for competent plans.
However, it is good to have a little idea beforehand about what we are going to do. For this reason we will try to explain here some basic ideas about the workouts you should do.
30 minutes of uninterrupted running
Somehow it came to be considered that the first step when you start running is to be able to do this for 30 minutes without stopping. For those who are already running or in good shape it seems like a joke, but it is not! I know it from my own experience! When I decided to start running I was about 130kg and my first goal was to take a block tour without stopping. Then I manage not to stop a whole lake tour in the Youth Park (it is about 2.7 km). It was not easy, I assure you!
Until now, 30 minutes running without stopping, it is not necessary to introduce specialized training. The only solution is to alternate the running pieces with the walking ones. It can be done according to your own senses, ie you run as much as you feel you can, then take a break. I do recommend some time intervals, however, because they will cause you to push a little beyond the psychological limit of comfort. You can start with 3-minute pieces. If it is too much, you can shorten them, if it is simple you can go in 5 minutes. Then take a break of half the time you run. Once it becomes easy, you increase your running time. It’s the best method.
Running training – in short
Since running is no longer a chore and no longer seems impossible, it is good to start a structured training plan. As I said, there are sources from which you can get such a ready-made plan, based on your performances and ambitions, but they all contain a combination of the same types of workouts. Here are some of these:
endurance run (long run)
The endurance run is fixed what the name also says: a long run, at a more relaxed pace. Its purpose is to get the body used to long-term effort. For most amateur runners, a long run means a one-hour run. But if your goal is to take part in a long race (half-marathon, marathon) then the long run must be longer, 20-25 km for the half-marathon, 30-35 km or even more for the marathon. This workout should be done at least once a week, on a day when you have more time available.
The tempo run is a medium distance run, but with the maximum speed you can sustain. It’s basically a competition simulation. Depending on your goals, it can be any length. To begin with, a good distance is 5 km, maybe even 3 km. It’s good to do one every week or at least two weeks. The time obtained is a good indicator of your performance at that time. It is good to schedule it on a day when you are rested, with at least one day, preferably two before rest.
Very demanding and even painful, training with intervals and repetitions are the first ones that most beginners try to avoid. It is a mistake because these are the basis of progress, they determine the body’s habit with a faster pace and implicitly will make you run faster. The training starts with a warm-up (5-10 minutes), after which short pieces will run at maximum intensity. The length of the sprints can vary between 200 and 800-1000 m, depending on the performance of each one, but 400 m is a very used length. You can also do time intervals, for 1-5 minutes, 2 minutes would be a good start. The difference between intervals and repetitions is the rest between them. At intervals, recovery is established and is usually about half the length of the interval, so that at each sprint the body is more exhausted. At repetitions, one expects from one sprint to another until a good recovery and a normal return of breath and pulse. Obviously, the repetitions will be faster than the intervals. In the end, it is good to run another 5-10 minutes to return. A stretching session is also appropriate, the muscle demand is very high.
This is a special type of interval that has the role not only of increasing speed but also of power. 1-2 times a month it is good to introduce such training in the program. Find a suitable slope that you can walk in a few tens of seconds and do 8-10 repetitions at maximum effort. And here it is recommended a warm-up before and a return after 5-10 minutes each. Between repetitions you can rest or run easily.
Fartlek is an alternative to endurance running, something more demanding but also less boring. It is a free run in which, after a warm-up, you run successively with different speeds, but without an initial plan. You can run through the park and force yourself to sprint to the donut box (without stopping there for a snack, of course), sprint until you reach the blonde / brunette in front who gives a long run, whatever comes to your mind to break the monotony.
Combine all this in a program with 3-4 runs a week, be ambitious and progress will not be late!