How to Devise an Efficient Running Schedule
The most difficult part for people who start out running is the beginning. For every runner who progresses past the first 2 or 3 runs and a major muscle fever, there are many others who give up. Fear of failure, fear of pain and accidents, a lack of motivation or lack of an adequate running schedule are the top reasons why many people never put on their running shoes again after a few attempts.
In this article I’d like to focus on the importance of having a training plan – a running schedule – and sticking to it. Running without a plan is bad for you on many levels. For one, without the expert eye of a trainer, you do not know what your tolerance threshold as a beginner is. This is why people run until they are left completely exhausted and out of breath, and will experience the worst case of muscle fever during the next few days.
On another level, a running schedule developed by a professional coach will take into account various corrections which need to be done to your running gait and cadence. Also, the trainer can recommend the most adequate type of running shoes, depending on your pronation, to help you achieve a correct running posture and not place undue stress on your feet and lower legs.
These are some of the most important elements which your trainer will include in your running schedule:
- Developing Endurance through Small Increments
If you are not an athletic person, you are certainly in no shape to start with a long distance run. A realistic schedule of reaching a certain endurance threshold is critical in this initial stage. If you try too hard to reach top performance, you will fail, risk suffering an accident and lose motivation to continue.
The key to getting in shape is adding small increments to the distance you run from day to day. In this way, each extra distance you run is not felt as a heavy toll on your muscles, and you can progress from milestone to milestone with ease and confidence.
- Alternation between Intense and Relaxed Run
Mixing running styles helps your muscles become stronger, more resilient and flexible. Most runners usually engage in the long distance running style, without adding a short distance fast speed sprint to increase the blood flow and the oxygenation level in their muscles. Sprints in the middle of the long distance run are also great to keep you alert and not let you fall into a routine which may seem boring after a while.
A professional trainer will know how to keep your running sessions exciting and useful, helping you achieve a great running form in an adequate amount of time.
- Making Provisions for Bad Days
There will come the day when you just do not feel like running, or when the inclement weather does not allow you to go out on the track. Your trainer will most likely replace it with cross-training exercises, such as stretching for improved muscle flexibility or cardio routines to increase your strength. These alternative forms of training are an integral complement to actual running. In fact, many trainers count on these exercises when they notice low endurance and flexibility in the first trial runs.
- Food and Hydration
You will not be able to achieve a good running form if you do not adapt your diet to include more proteins and vitamins from natural sources and reduce fatty and sugary foods which counteract your efforts. A bad diet will deprive you of the vitamins you need to build muscle strength, and improper hydration before, during, and after your run will further leave you drained of the minerals which you lose through sweating.
Once again, you trainer will be a great help in making recommendations regarding allowed and forbidden foods, and the types of liquids you should drink during training.
Scheduling your runs carefully, with breaks, and with a good variation of exercises and running styles, will allow you to reach your peak performance without too much strain and without putting your health at risk.