Running is a great way to stay in shape and relieve stress. It
can be extremely difficult though for those who aren’t used to high-intensity
workouts. Running requires a lot of stamina and dedication, even for those who
have run countless marathons.
If you’re just starting to get into a running regimen or are
looking for ways to change up your usual routine, these tips will help keep you
going for miles.
Start Off Slow
If the tortoise from the Tortoise and the Hare taught us
anything, it’s that slow and steady wins the race. To save energy, long
distance runners start off with an incredibly slow jog, then gradually increase
speed after certain milestones.
Andrew Kastor, coaching director for the L.A. Marathon and
head coach of Asics Mammoth Track Club, suggests following a rule of thirds.
The first third of your workout should be slow enough for you to carry a
conversation without being out of breath. Increase your speed during the second
third of your workout and, by the final third, either maintain your speed or
further increase it to push yourself.
If you prefer to run outdoors with nothing but your iPod or
the sounds of nature to keep you entertained, running the same path over and
over again can get old. Switching up your usual running path can make your
workouts more interesting.
“You’d be surprised at how many of us run the same four
or five routes all the time,” says Ian Torrence, assistant running coach
and ultramarathon guru for McMillan Running Company. “We start racing
them, trying to better our times. This is an unproductive, unhealthy
Instead of sticking to the same route, find other routes in
your neighborhood that you’ve never used before. You should have at least three
different routes that you can swap out each day or week to keep your run more
Keep Up Your Strength
Cardio is excellent for your heart rate, weight management,
and overall health. Many cardio lovers, however, shy away from weight training
to avoid getting too bulky and not being able to run. Strength training though
is an important part of a runner’s routine and a vital step to achieving your
“Think of strength training as building and maintaining
your engine,” says Steve Di Tomaso, C.S.C.S., endurance athlete and
strength coach for Envision Fitness in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.
“My clients really start to notice the difference to their running after
strength training.” Building strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and obliques
will allow you to run faster and longer.
Take a Rest Day
Although being consistent with your workout will bring you
fast results, it’s important to take it easy every so often. Whether you leave
one day a week to rest completely or just go for a slow run in between intense
days, resting is important for the muscles to repair themselves and prevent
“Low-intensity training reduces your overall load, and
allows you to work harder on high-intensity days,” says Neal Henderson,
C.S.C.S., owner of APEX Coaching & Consulting in Boulder, Colorado. “Plus,
the more you work your body at an easy aerobic level, the better it gets at
metabolizing fat as a fuel source during endurance events—which means you can
go for longer without hitting a wall.”