How to build up to a realistic running routine
Running is a great way to get fit and find some me-time – try these strategies to get started.
Everyone knows that running is a fantastic way to get fit or to boost your endurance for another sport. But it’s hard to know how to get started if you’re a beginner to running. And let’s be honest, the idea of pounding the streets come rain or shine isn’t exactly appealing! Luckily, there’s you can use the treadmill at your gym. Let’s look at tips and strategies for building up a realistic running routine.
Choosing a suitable running goal
Just like any other type of exercise, running works best when you have a goal. This could be running non-stop for a certain amount of time, or reaching a goal pace. But the easiest (and most rewarding) running goal is distance.
When you set a running distance as your key goal, you’ll be able to track it and celebrate it! You could do that quietly by yourself on the treadmill or out in the local area, or you could enter a race and get a medal for it. Either way, you’ll end up with a PB (personal best) and a benchmark time to improve on.
What are the common running distances?
The most popular running distances for beginners are 5K and 10K. 5 kilometres is 3.1 miles, and 10 kilometres is 6.2 miles. How long should you aim for? That really depends on your fitness and other factors. The main aim is to set realistic goals without piling on the pressure. Why not aim to simply run 5K non-stop, or finish a local 5K race?
If you think that running races would be your jam, google local 5K or 10K events and fun runs. Running events are fun, friendly, and have an amazing atmosphere. Plus you usually get a medal and a goodie bag!
Should you use the walk/run method?
The walk/run method is a popular way to build up running fitness from scratch (or if you haven’t run for a while). It was popularised by legendary running coach Jeff Galloway back in the 1970s and plenty of runners use it today.
Walk/run is simple – just alternate periods of running with periods of walking until you build up endurance. It doesn’t matter how long you run (or walk) for, but try to stay consistent and always track your training so you can gradually walk less and run more.
Why not start walk/run by running for 1 minute, walking for 2 minutes. If that feels OK, next time you could either run faster for 30 seconds and walk for 1 minute, or run for 1 minute and walk for 90 seconds.
There’s no right or wrong way to use the walk/run method but you should be aiming to increase the amount of time running and/or decrease the length of your walk periods.
How to have good running form
Don’t overthink your stride
We all walk and run differently due to our height, skeleton, ankle mobility and foot shape. Some people are natural heel-strikers, whilst others tend to lead with their toes. Neither style is better, and you shouldn’t try to adapt your natural stride style. Just make sure you have the best type of running shoes for your running style.
Relax your arms and shoulders
It’s easy to tense your hands and shoulders when you run, but this will lead to aches and pains (and it won’t make you run faster!) Check in with yourself occasionally to relax your hands, shake out your arms, and drop your shoulders. Unless you are actively sprinting, or powering up a hill, your arms should have a relaxed swing.
Mind your posture
As you run, keep your chest up and your chin level. Think about drawing your shoulder blades back and down. This posture will help you run freely, with a decent pace, and it will minimise injuries as you build up your running routine.
How many days per week should you run?
Let’s talk about how to design a running routine that suits your lifestyle. Start by thinking about how many times per week you can exercise. Now consider whether you just want to run, or if you want to do classes, gym workouts, swimming or yoga.
You don’t have to run every day to become a runner. In fact, running too much can be detrimental. You’ll have permanent DOMS, feel tired, and be seriously achy. And you might leave yourself open to common running injuries like plantar fasciitis and IT band issues.
Aim to run 2-4 days a week (depending on the length of your runs, and any other exercise you do). When you’re starting out, keep sessions between 15-30 minutes and use the walk/run methods until your muscles, ligaments, and lungs adapt.
How to do running at the gym
Outdoor running can be great, but you can also have an amazing running workout on the treadmill. In fact, treadmill running has some benefits over outdoor running. You can minimise the variables (no wind or rain!) and you have ultimate control over speed and incline. When you want to introduce sprints or hill training, the treadmill makes it easy – literally at the touch of a button!
Running at the gym is a great way to include running in with your favourite gym workouts. To find a great local gym, use Hussle’s website. One network. Any location. Thousands of gyms. Zero contracts’