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How to Add Running to Your Training Plan and Get Results
Running is a great because it’s simple, cheap, and offers a world of benefits. Unfortunately, a lot of people approach running with the wrong goals and expectations.
» Before you hit the road, track, trails, or treadmill, here a few tips from the running experts at Running Shoes Guru.
Start Smart; Finish Lean
One of the biggest appeals of running is the promise of fat loss.
Whether you’re a seasoned weight lifter who wants to add definition or a couch potato who’s tired of packing on the pounds, running can help you achieve your goals.
If your training regimen does not currently include cardio work, you will need to start off easy and build up your run distance over the course of several weeks. If your first running sessions are too long, your body will respond with excessive inflammation, and you may actually gain weight in the short term. Instead start with an easy paced 1- or 2-mile run and see how it feels.
Also, keep in mind that running burns fat by burning calories.
If you replace all the new calories you’re burning by eating more, your weight and body fat will remain the same or increase. Use a calculator like this one to get an idea of how many calories you are burning and how best to adjust your current nutrition plan to achieve the results you’re looking for.
Easy Visual Guide for Beginners
Check out this easy to follow graphic if you have never ran before. It will keep you from getting over-worked and demotivated. Remember, don’t overdo it your first time because it’ll make you really sore and you’ll hate running!
Slow Down for Faster Gains
A common misconception about running is that you get more results when you run fast ALL THE TIME. This simply isn’t true.
Occasional high-intensity running and interval work is a big part of getting faster, but when you are first starting out, it is more likely to get you injured than make you fast or fit. Your body needs time to gradually adapt to the stresses of running. Going fast every time you head out overloads your body without giving adequate recovery time to turn that work into noticeable gains.
Running hard also causes your body to operate above its aerobic threshold and use muscle glycogen for fuel instead of fat. If you are running to lose fat, too much high-speed work can actually be counterproductive.
Be like Cinderella and find your perfect shoe.
Each runner’s form is as unique as his or her fingerprint. That’s why it important to find a shoe that fits your foot and your running style. Start by checking out this extensive running shoe buying guide. It explains everything you should be looking for in a pair of running shoes and provides several recommendations for beginners, complete with in-depth reviews.
Use Your Legs to Improve Your Whole Body
It’s easy to think of running as a lower-body workout, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Running builds core and back strength, is good for bone density, lowers blood pressure, and, of course, burns a lot of calories. It can also increase daily fatigue and lead to better sleep, as well as boost your immune system and help prevent illness.
Beyond the physical benefits, there are also a slew of psychological reasons to run, including stress relief, mood enhancement, and a boost in self confidence that comes with each new milestone of distance, speed, or weight loss you reach.
Uncover New Opportunities for Strength Training
Even if you’re lifting on a regular basis, you may be neglecting key muscle groups that are essential for balance and functional strength.
Running relies heavily on large muscles, like the hamstrings, quads, calves, and glute max. But to get the most out of your running, you also need to be developing smaller muscles, like your glute medius, hip flexors, oblique abs, and spinal stabilizers. (The same muscles that can become weak if you sit at a desk all day.)
New runners are often overstriders. This means they travel farther between footsteps than is optimal for the speed they are running. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Traveling farther per step means faster running, which means less time on the ground, which means more efficiency, right? Wrong! And here’s why.
Each step you take while running requires your muscles to lift your body weight up into the air and then absorb the forces generated by your body falling back to Earth. To travel farther per step, you have to lift higher off the ground, which also causes you to hit the ground harder with the opposite foot. Multiply these extra forces by the thousands of steps you take in a typical run, and they become a really big deal.
So, instead of blasting off with each step, make it your goal to take shorter steps as you run. Aim for a cadence (the frequency of your footsteps) of around 180 total steps per minute without increasing your speed. If you do this, you will notice that your muscles and joints are less fatigued after your runs. (Note: While adjusting to an increased cadence, your calves may be more sore than usual. That’s okay. They’ll adapt, and you should see noticeable performance gains from a from your new cadence.)
Embrace the Cold
If you live somewhere that gets cold during the winter, use it to your advantage.
Running in cooler temperatures can help you get more out of your workouts by letting you run faster at a lower heart rate. This happens because your body uses less energy and fewer heartbeats trying to shed heat. This translates into higher intensity training while staying comfortably within your aerobic zone.
Before you take on winter, take a look at these cold weather running tips for beginners.
Can’t stand being out in the cold? That’s okay too. Use the winter to get inside on the treadmill and do some highly specific workouts where you control the speed, terrain, and even temperature in ways that are difficult or impossible outdoors.
You’re Only as Good as Your Equipment!
People interested in running or any type of physical activity often tend to ignore one of the most important aspects of training; your gear!
Gear that a Runner Should Consider:
- Hat or Visor
- Hydration Method
- Compression Socks
- Reflective Clothing
- Nutrition Aids/Supplements (Click here to see our top 10 useful supplements for runners)
There are many outfits out there designed for marathon runners, competitive runners and people who like to go overboard with their hobbies. However the most important thing a beginner runner needs is a solid pair of running shoes!
Shoes are the Most Imporant!
You wouldn’t drive your car with crappy deflated tires would you? So why treat your feet and body any differently. You can read reviews of the latest running shoes, find a pair that works for you, and start running your way to better fitness.
Keep it Fun!
Go out there, get fit, get healthy and most importantly try to have some fun! And try to remember that you aren’t going to get it all done on the first day, its going to take time to establish a running routine, the important thing to remember is that you have to stick with it.
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About the Author
Rick Grimes is the administrator and editor on top10supps.com. He is a former D1 athlete, and a current fitness nut with over 10+ years in the health and fitness industry. After getting his bachelors degree he became devoted to contributing accurate, concise and research-based information to the bodybuilding industry. When he’s not researching supps, you can find him on Twitter & Quora giving back to the community. Feel free to contact Rick with any questions.