Running is a great way to get healthy and stay in shape – you can set your own pace, develop your own training plan and go where you like. Nicki Waterman, ASICS PRO Team’s Personal Trainer, explains why running is such a great way to get fit quickly.
Running gives your heart and lungs a great workout, while also toning your legs and bottom. It’s a huge calorie burner too – you’ll burn up to 600-800 calories per hour depending on your body weight and how fast you run.
Start out easy
A common mistake for many new runners is starting off too fast. Instead, ease your way into your training regime by walking first and then gradually introducing short sections of slow running. Return to walking when you start to get tired.
Before every run, warm up by walking at a moderate pace for a few minutes, and taper down your session in a similar way. Do some simple stretches after your warm-up and at the end of the walk, concentrating on calves, thighs, hip flexors and hamstrings. Make sure you have the appropriate running shoes and training gear to get your started.
Once you can run non-stop for about 30 minutes, challenge yourself by adding these elements into your training regime:
- Long slow distance: Try running at a pace that’s slow enough to maintain for half an hour or more. It should form the basis of your training.
- Speed: There is no rule as to how fast to run and when to slow down. Stay sensitive to your body’s response and increase running speed according to how you feel and the type of terrain you’re on.
- Continuous fast running: Try running fast enough so you can feel yourself working hard. At first you won’t be able to keep going for long at this intensity-- probably only 5 minutes or so.
- Hills: Running uphill increases your heart rate and improves aerobic fitness. Start by warming up on flat ground for 5 or 10 minutes, then run hard up a small hill and back down. Recover with some gentle walking for the same amount of time as it took you to get up and down the hill. Repeat this pattern 3-4 times.
- Interval training: Run fast for 30 seconds and then walk briskly or run slowly for 1 minute to recover, before repeating the pattern.
- Stairs: Doing stairs will give your legs a killer workout. Begin with a mile warm-up and do single and doubles (two steps at a time). Cool down with a slow jog for a couple of minutes and stretch out.