As fun run season gains momentum with events like the Sydney Marathon, Melbourne Marathon, Bridge to Brisbane, and City-Bay Fun Run on the horizon, coupled with the allure of early spring’s warmer mornings and extended daylight hours, many are eager to hit the road. Whether you’re a novice runner embarking on your first recreational run or a seasoned athlete aiming to enhance your morning jog, it’s essential to understand that running is an accessible endeavour for all.
Starting Out: If you’re new to running, the initial focus should be on establishing a consistent routine rather than pushing for distance or speed. Fitness expert Knox advises, “Try to engage in physical activity two or three times a week, which can include running, walking, or a combination of both.” In the early stages, the goal is to maintain a comfortable conversational pace.
During the first two weeks, prioritise increasing the duration of your runs rather than the distance or pace. This gradual approach allows your body to adapt to the new activity. Remember, ten minutes are better than zero minutes. Over time, those 10 minutes can effortlessly evolve into 20, and weekly jogs can become a regular part of your routine.
Speed Improvement: Enhancing your running pace necessitates not only cardiovascular training but also strength training. Knox underscores the importance of a proper warm-up and active mobility movements like lunges, knee hugs, high knees, butt kicks, and straight-leg kicks to reduce the risk of injury.
Incorporating interval training one to three times per week is a valuable strategy for boosting speed and power through high-intensity efforts. Knox recommends incorporating explosive hill sprints and both short and long sprints into your regimen to witness improvements in speed within six to eight weeks. However, it’s crucial not to neglect recovery, as this type of training places additional stress on bones and muscles. Incorporate active cooldowns, including foam rolling and stretching, to enhance your recovery process.
Aiming for Longer Distances: For those aspiring to conquer the 10-kilometre distance, combination training is key. Experts advises dedicating a minimum of eight weeks to build up your endurance and speed. Achieving success in a 10km run requires a well-balanced approach that combines speed and endurance.
Knox suggests incorporating a mix of speed and endurance sessions into your training plan. You’ll need a blend of sprints to enhance strength, long runs to build endurance, recovery runs to absorb the workload, and rest days for recuperation. Aim for three runs per week, or two runs complemented by strength training. Diversify your training by including hill runs or interval speed sessions on shorter distance days to build power, while also incorporating one longer, gentler jog on other days.
By following these expert guidelines, you can embark on a journey to improve your running performance, regardless of your experience level or distance goal.