A Balanced Running Program For Beginners
● Start slow. Try two to four runs per week, 20 to 30 minutes per run
● Keep running. Increasing your KM's is vital to progress, so aim to increase the distance in one of your weekly runs, and slow down the pace. This will help your body adapt to "time" and avoid overdoing it, or a stress injury.
● Recovery is key. Never underestimate the importance of rest and recovery. Get plenty of sleep and ensure you have at least one rest day a week.
● Think positive. The thoughts in your head can directly affect your performance.
● Tune in. New runners often like to think of anything BUT the task at hand. Being aware of what's going on in your body while you run helps to focus your performance and improve technique.
Once you have built a base over a few weeks and have found a comfortable and consistent running rhythm, look to isolate three sessions each week into three very different and specific focuses:
1. Long Run
All good runners know about LSD. It's a common weekly thing runners like to do and usually conducted on a weekend... No, it's not the "runner's high" version of a psychedelic drug. It's an acronym for Long, Slow Distance. It's a great way to catch up with mates and catch up on all the gossip from the past week. Stop for coffee and a hearty breakfast after it's done.
The idea is to run to time, not pace. In fact slower is better, because you can go longer. Marathon runners know what it means to run slowly, and if you can do it well, you'll race well.
Running slow takes away the threat of other complications. Conserve your energy, and focus on your endurance. Your body only knows time & intensity, so remove the intensity and give it time.
2. Threshold Run
This session is designed to be shorter than your race distance, but at a very solid pace (almost race pace) so make sure you're properly warmed up. If you're racing over 10km, we recommend 5-7km after a good warm-up.
Over time, you will improve your anaerobic threshold, which will allow you to run at a higher intensity, without the need of using glucose as an energy source, saving you from running out of fuel.
3. Intervals Session
Interval training is a great way to pick up some speed and efficiency.
Depending on what area of your running you wish to improve, your intervals can range from 200m to 1km repetitions.
Having a break between each rep allows you to:
● Work on your posture and technique
● Run at a pace that is faster than race pace
● Learn how to pace yourself
Your interval session should include a huge warm-up including running drills and a few run-throughs. Look up some running drills to improve your efficiency and technique. Add these into your warm-up.
Overall, these three sessions provide variety in your training program. Not only does it save you from boredom, it also saves your body from falling into a running rut or plateau. Many runners simply walk out their front door and "run". They become unable to turn their pace up or down if they need to, and very rarely improve their ability.