Cardio exercise is important, so let’s talk about one of the easiest ways to add an effective cardio workout to your fitness routine—running.
It’s no good just knowing about the benefits of working out and not putting that theory into practice. Today, I’m going to try and convince you to take up running.
I’m a big fan of running and I’m naturally a sprint specialist—that’s a discipline that is all about explosive power over a short distance. Endurance running is a completely different exercise. Okay, so it still uses your legs, but I think running is something that anyone can get into with relatively little equipment. It’s also easy to start out walking and gradually ramp up—making sure you always go at your own pace.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to add some cardio exercise to your fitness routine, here are some simple tips to help you reach your running goals.
The great news is that you don’t need to purchase a lot of equipment to run, although there are a few essential items that will make your journey more enjoyable.
If you don’t feel ready to run, simply walk instead. Once walking for a set time becomes easy, try to alternate between jogging and walking. Your aim should be to find a comfortable, sustainable pace that feels good. Remember to stop if you experience pain. Always perform a warm-up and cool-down to ensure your body is prepared for exercise.
During the first few weeks of running, focus on the amount of time you are running (walking or jogging), instead of thinking about distance. Set a goal of 20-30 minutes and, once you can successfully run for the entire duration, increase your time. Looking at miles in the first few weeks can be mentally discouraging. Once you can successfully complete 45 minutes at your desired pace, map out the miles and steadily increase the distance you cover.
Don’t just hit the pavement and start racking up miles. Instead, know that you need to form an aerobic base level by training at about a level five or six intensity out of the maximum intensity of level 10. This is because ‘steady state training’ effectively teaches your body to burn fat as fuel. This will be important as you start to increase your distance. You can work on your speed later in your training.
In order to become an efficient runner you must run. However, adding cross training such as biking, swimming or weight training to your weekly routine will help you to get fit and avoid getting bored.
Pick one technique to work on each time you go out for a run. There are several things you can work on, such as:
If you break down your technique one day at a time, you will not be overwhelmed. And after a few weeks, you’ll have improved your running style.
Add some hill running or varied terrain into your program. Running up hill is a great way to build strength, as it’s considered the weight lifting of running. Your posterior chain muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes and calves, have to work harder when you are running up hill.
You must schedule rest days into your program to allow your muscles to adapt to the increased workload and efficiently repair themselves. One to two rest days per week are essential for great performance.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).