Running is a fantastic way to get your body moving and your heart pumping. It is one of the easiest sports to get involved in. All you need is a pair of running shoes!
Different types of running have different benefits. Jogging and long-distance running help to build endurance whilst sprint training works on power output and explosion and is one of the best ways to tone and define the muscles of the body.
If you are new to running here is a basic overview of the different types of running alongside a sample week of what your training should look like.
How often should you run? We will give you the answer to the perfect balance in your weekly running program.
What you need to know before starting out
- Ease into it. Your body will need time to adapt. Often beginner runners push themselves too hard and develop injuries that set them back and can be demotivating.
- Develop good warm-up habits. Ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to warm your body up. Start with a 5-minute warm-up that raises your heart rate so that your body is prepared to run.
- Rest, rest, and more rest! In general, you should not run every day. Beginner runners will need to allow themselves plenty of rest throughout the week to allow their bodies to adapt to their new training load. When starting, stick to running just 2-3x per week and give yourself one full recovery day, especially if you are speed training or pushing your body hard. The only exception to this is the low-intensity jogging.
- Nutrition and hydration is incredibly important. Ensure you are fuelling yourself with balanced meals consisting of nutritious whole foods. After a hard run, ensure you are refueling with a post-run snack consisting of carbohydrates to replenish energy stores and include approximately 20g of protein. You should aim to consume 2-3 liters of water per day and ensure you are well hydrated before going for a run.
Types of Running:
Jogging is generally defined as a pace of less than 6mph. Anything above this is usually classified as a run. Jogging activates fewer muscles than running or sprinting and has a lower overall impact on your body. Jogging is a great way for newbies to ease themselves into faster running and can build a good base endurance. Jogging is also a great way to recover and gently get the muscles moving.
How often should you jog?
Beginners should ease themselves into jogging. Because jogging has a relatively low impact on the body, it is okay to jog every day if your body is recovering fully.
Long-distance running is usually any distance over 5 kilometers and is at a faster pace than a jog. It places more demand on the cardiovascular system and muscles. Normally, long-distance runners have a goal race in mind such as a 5K or half-marathon.
A long-distance running program should be varied and include easy-runs, tempo runs, strength training, and interval running.
Easy run - An easy run should not require much effort. An easy run aims to increase overall endurance. During an easy run, your heart rate should remain in Zones 1 or 2. You can track your heart rate and puls using different smart devices when you are running!
Tempo Run - A tempo or threshold run is at a sustained pace that helps you to become faster over long distances. A tempo run should be difficult but it should not push you to the limit. You should run at a pace that allows you to complete the set running distance. Your heart rate should be at 85-90 percent of your max.
Strength Training - Focus on the glutes and lower body to improve running speed. Several studies have shown that including strength in your running program can improve overall running performance (1, 2).
Interval Training - Alternating periods of higher and lower intensity exercise can help to improve cardiovascular capacity and overall running performance (3).
How many miles should you run a week?
Beginner runners should aim to run between 5 and 10 miles per week for at least the first 4 weeks before gradually building up the distance. The ten percent rule that many runners abide by is that you should never increase your running load by more than ten percent per week.
Speed training activates the muscles more than jogging or long-distance running and burns calories faster. Therefore, speed training normally requires a longer recovery period.
Speed training is a great way to improve long-distance running and is great for explosive athletes as it engages fast-twitch muscle fibers. A speedrunning program should include repeated sprints, plyometrics, and rest. Rest is very important and for beginners, sprinting two days in a row should be avoided.
Repeated Sprints: Allow at least 30 seconds in between each repetition to allow your body to recover before the next sprint. The aim is to sprint at 100 percent of your maximum power output.
Plyometrics: A type of agility training that involves jumping, hopping, and bounding. Plyometrics not only improves balance and form, but it also improves muscular power and strength which ultimately improves speed.
Uphill Intervals: Consist of a timed uphill run and a slow descent. Builds muscles in the lower legs and strengthens the hip flexors.