Browse Month by January 2018
Sport

Solutions For Improve Your Running

How can you improve your running?

Knowing the answer to the 3 most common questions will help improve your running today.

How often should I run
How far should I run
How hard should I run

How often should I run?

At the very beginning, this was a tough question for me to answer. I had tried to get into running on several occasions previously. What I found was that I lost my motivation to get out there after a few runs or a week. So the best advice I can give you on this question is to start smaller and build up. Set a schedule that you know you can meet. If that means getting out 3 times a week then go for it, if you have the time and can plan more all the better. You will find that if you have a plan ahead of time and meet that plan, you will build confidence and will be more likely to keep at it.

For me, I found that the minimum I could do and still see the small gains I was hoping for was to run 3 times a week. Less than that and I was not consistently seeing improvements. Not seeing any improvement led to disappointment, and ultimately giving up on the process. Each time I finished a planned workout no matter how far or how slow, it built my confidence and helped me to get out the door on my next run.

How far should I run?

If you are just beginning this question is natural. However I would recommend that for the first few weeks, at least, you change the question around. Rather than worrying about how far you should run, focus instead on how long you should run. For me, I was able to build confidence knowing that getting out there for 20 minutes was something I could do 3 times a week. In my previous attempts, I would say I am going to run 3 miles, and I would struggle to get the mileage. Or the goal would end up taking far longer than I had planned. In both cases, the result is you will not feel as though you are improving your running, just the opposite I was developing a negative thought.

Start with a plan that has you focused on a time frame rather than a specific distance. With each run you will acclimate your body to the demands of running. As your body starts to adapt to the demands you place on it, you will see improvements. Maybe your first day out you can cover 1.25 miles in 20 minutes. If you stick to your plan, you will start to see gains and maybe after a week, you can cover 1.35 miles in the same time frame. Regardless of how big or how little the improvement is… CELEBRATE it. That is a success and you worked hard to earn that success.

The biggest recommendation I can give as newbie runner is to finish the workouts you start. If you find that the duration you have set for yourself is too much, shorten the workout rather than continually stopping early. It is a small change, but you will find that you build more confidence in meeting a goal or plan, than stopping short or making it up as you go.

How hard should I run?

I will be very honest with you while I learned the answer to this question for myself early on; it took me nearly 2 months to fully embrace.

It doesn’t matter!

Almost every run will seem like hard run to a newbie.

Most of us will not be able to run very far without huffing and puffing or feeling their legs ache. This is completely natural and expected. Your body is simply not accustomed to the motions and demands of running. This may occur after ΒΌ of a mile or after 10 steps. Just remind yourself, that this is only a starting point.

In my first week, I focused on jogging short distances (60 seconds) at as slow a pace as I could without actually walking. Then I walked for 120 seconds, and then I repeated the process. The actual times you choose will depend largely on how fit or conditioned you are when you begin your own journey. I know runners who started at as low as 15 strides of running and then walking. They key is to keep moving and make sure the walking portions are being done at a fairly brisk pace.

Here’s a secret… your heart doesn’t know if your running or walking. When you work harder than normal it is going to beat faster and pump more blood through your system and thereby improve your endurance. You just need to be active. All the while it is becoming more efficient and better at its job and therefore, you can ask more and more from it.

A good rule of thumb to improve your running is to use the 80/20 rule. 80{2281a464b0db6d821f967ee4c31842ef432e8153e986fd396ff458e4f3c84c77} of your running should be at LOW intensity. Only 20{2281a464b0db6d821f967ee4c31842ef432e8153e986fd396ff458e4f3c84c77} of all your running in a week should be at a moderate or high intensity. Don’t believe me, check out some of the elite runners schedules. They follow the 80/20 rule.

Conclusion

If you start with small achievable goals and then build upon those small successes early on, you will be more likely to stick with your plan and continue to improve your running.

The takeaways for a new runner are simple.

  • Commit to a plan that is reasonable and achievable.
  • Focus on a timeframe rather than a distance at the beginning
  • Finish your workouts
  • Celebrate your successes no matter how small
  • Find a walk/run interval that fits your current level of fitness.
  • Believe that you are getting better each time out. You may not see it on your watch, but your body is improving and becoming more efficient.
Sport

Ways to Rediscover Your Love of Running

You laid out the perfect plan to achieve your goals and everything was progressing according to your plan. You could see the physical improvements, and you were developing a mental toughness and mindset that nothing was going to get in your way. Until “it” happened…

“It” comes in many forms and when you least expect it – disguised as a family crisis, work demands, or a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. Clearly it’s not something you expected to encounter, but it derails progress toward your intended goal. Although it may be disappointing to backtrack to re-gain fitness, re-lose weight, or simply gut out a less-than-ideal situation to get through your intended race, there is comfort in knowing that: “I did it before, so I can do it again!” While that may not be the most comforting thought, sometimes it’s enough to get you through the moment (e.g. workout, training plan, or even the race) – and that’s all you need.

Let me share with you some experiences and see if you can place yourself any of these scenarios. I’d been putting off surgery for a nagging shoulder injury, but finally had it done in 2012 – after one of the best running years I’d had in quite some time. I’d been fit, lean, and just finished a new ultramarathon distance which was a huge personal triumph. After the race, I had the surgery and couldn’t run a step for three months. That major setback in my training cost me many more months to regain the same level of fitness prior to the surgery. As it turns out, I ran the same race again in 2014 and finished faster! I was burnt out by the end of the 2014 running season. I’d worked hard to regain that fitness, but lost my joy for running in the process. For most of 2015, I spent my time hiking, riding my bicycle, or doing many other activities – but I thought that my running days might be in my past. After nearly a year away, I’m back to running and enjoying it as much as ever. My fitness and weight have both declined in the past year, but at least I’ve recaptured the joy in my running and can work toward improving both. And speaking of weight, with the inevitable march of time, my weight seems to be an ongoing (losing) battle. It’s tougher and tougher just to maintain my weight, so I accept that I need to adjust to a new “normal” and work with what life provides. Being at a less than ideal weight is not going to stop me from getting out and doing the things I love.

From the stories I’ve shared about my own challenges, I hope you take away two important messages:

1) every woman you know is working on overcoming some obstacle between her and her goals – so you aren’t alone

2) know that whatever challenge you are facing can be overcome if you don’t quit trying!

Let’s face facts; most of us are weekend warriors who don’t have the luxury of the singular pursuit of our personal goals, and we need to juggle a lot of balls while we are working through our plan to achieve great pursuits – but that makes the achievement that much sweeter. Accept that your plans will probably need to change, and understand that is part of your journey. Most importantly: believe in yourself and your ability to overcome those obstacles to achieve your goals. And never, never, never give up in the pursuit of your own greatness!