This year can be the one you seize the day and take your running to the next level. Here’s the third article in our series on how to make it the year of the runner!
After the first and second articles in this series, you’ve made a commitment, selected a SMART goal (and made it public), and enlisted your allies. Now let’s look at your running programme.
While it’s important to have commitment and a SMART goal to give you diligence and direction, there’s a lot of freedom and flexibility to be gained by understanding the path – running as a life practice – is the real goal.
When we remember this, then we are less likely to get hung up on whether we have done our three hour-long runs this week, possibly feeling guilty if we haven’t, and instead focus on doing what we can. Maybe, on a busy day, or if we’re travelling, we can only fit in a 20 min run. That’s fine. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Start running as a daily practice – that’s the goal. Doing this builds the running habit.
Go for four 10 minute runs this week. Time them, and make sure you keep it to a maximum of 10 minutes. Notice how doing this makes you feel. Running doesn’t always have to take a long time.
The slow run
The main pillar of any running training programme is the slow run. For most runners, these are about an hour long, and their purpose is to condition the body for endurance. But they don’t have to be an hour; they could also be 30 minutes if you are starting out.
The tendency of many of us is to push ourselves too hard, too soon. We come out of the gate too fast. This can lead to injury or, eventually, overtraining syndrome. The slow run is about learning to slow down.
To make sure you are running slow enough, minus your age from 180 (for example, 180 – 45 = 135). You’ll need to get yourself a heart rate monitor and pair it with Sports Tracker app and your mobile phone. Then, when you’re doing a slow run, try as best as possible to keep your heart rate at that number (135 beats per minute, for example). It might be quite difficult to begin with, you’ll probably stray over that number. Don’t worry if you do, just keep it hovering there. This will help you gradually build your running endurance, without overdoing it.
Continue running three times a week, now making one of the runs 45 minutes to an hour long.
We’d love to hear what you’ve learned or discovered from reading this article in the comments below. Stay tuned for the next article in this series scheduled for next week: Training is life!
Josh Gale – Kiwi journalist tracking adventures great and small
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