Engraining a new habit into your life is always somewhat of a challenge and being that we’re only two months into 2017 I think it’s safe to say many of us have seen a dip in our New Year’s resolution commitment. Being that exercising more is always a top resolution for many people I wanted to share my Top 4 Tips for Setting up a Running Routine. Running is one of the most versatile exercises that requires no fancy equipment, can be performed anywhere, and most importantly, almost everyone knows how to run!
Plan Ahead and Don’t Over-Commit
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make that leads them to falling off their routine. When we start to feel ambitious about change we tend to get ahead of ourselves and exercise too strenuously up front. Take some time and remind yourself of what your typical day consists of and plan your running time around that. To start out, shooting for 15 minute sessions is a great start that will provide you with health benefits without burning you out after a couple of weeks (or less).
Mixed Intervals = More Benefit
When we are challenging our cardiovascular system with something like running we generally use energy in two different ways; aerobically or anaerobically.
Aerobic: This is the energy system in our body that relies on oxygen and sugar or fat. This system is designed to supply the body with low to moderate amounts of energy over an extended amount of time and is activated during cardio sessions where a constant pace is maintained throughout. Primary benefits include improving cardiovascular health, boosting your immune system, and even lowering your risk of cancer.
Anaerobic: This is the energy system that is designed to supply the body with energy during short-duration, high-intensity activities like sprints. The main difference is that this system does not rely on oxygen and can only supply short bursts of energy. Activating this system will increase your ability to build muscle and burn fat (possibly due to hormone balancing effects) as well as provide an additional boost in cardiovascular health.
By intentionally activating these different systems using mixed intervals, you can obtain the benefits that come along with each. Try out these examples or make up your own following similar principles!
15-30 Minutes of Moderate pace running either
- Maintaining the same pace, or
- Holding a target heart rate
- 15 Minutes of: 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 2 minutes of moderate pace recovery (walk or jog)
- 4 rounds of: 2 minute maintained high effort running followed by 1 minute of recovery (walking or jogging)
Find a Running Buddy
Nothing beats having a partner to motivate you and provide a second line of accountability to your exercise routine. This could be a friend, a family member, a coworker, or whoever you want to run with. Having a running buddy will also provide a level of safety if you become injured or choose to run in an unfamiliar area.
Better Yet, Join a Group!
Possibly even better than having a running buddy is having a whole group of running buddies that can help keep you on track with your goals. I’ve created my own Pinnacle Running Group for that very reason. Many of my clients use this page to motivate each other, share stories of accomplishment, organize training sessions, and even sign up for races! If you’re interested jump right in and don’t be afraid to get some conversations going!