Running is an effective exercise that almost everyone can do. Requiring only simple equipment such as proper running shoes and attire, it’s an activity that can be performed just about anywhere. At the same time, it provides a myriad of benefits, such as improving your metabolism and heart health. So how do you enhance such an already spectacular exercise? Here, planning is paramount, and these are some tips you can use for the process:
1. Slot running into the schedule appropriately
With how there always seems to be something going on in our lives, it may seem like there’s simply no time for running. If you plan your schedule right however, there can be days where you can set aside a fair amount of time to get a good running session in. Instead of taking a haphazard approach such as going for a run when there happens to be nothing to do, make advance preparations so that you can ensure runs of a consistent quality. This will make you less stressed about your tight schedule and you get to enjoy the run more.
2. Plan days for strength training
Running is more than just cardiovascular work. It also requires strength; strength from your calves, thighs, hips, abdomen and other muscle groups. Doing strength training for the entire body can improve your performance the next time you hit the track/treadmill. Furthermore, it allows you to increase your maximum oxygen intake, so that you can develop a higher level of endurance to run longer distances. The stronger you are, the better you’ll perform!
3. Incorporate HIIRT
High Intensity Interval Run Training (HIIRT) involves short bursts of sprints. You don’t have to do them for a long time – a few short but intense bouts are just as effective, and they can easily be slotted into your training regimen. HIIRT helps to improve your heart health and increase maximum oxygen intake, both of which will affect your endurance. If you are a beginner, adopting sprints of short distances can condition your body for more intense runs. Over time, you can consider increasing the distance of the sprints. Time your rest periods in proportion to your sprints; many people go with a 1:2-4 work-rest ratio.
Despite the apparent simplicity of running, it is extremely important to rest and recover sufficiently after each run and sprint to minimise the risk of excessive fatigue. Performing regular myofascial releasing work also helps to mitigate tightness in areas like the iliotibial band and the plantar fascia, which are both common areas of concern for runners. Like many things, a good plan can make one’s run even better, more effective and more efficient. Don’t take yours for granted!