Ok, so you’re a few weeks in now and sticking at it. Hopefully you’re enjoying it
and it isn’t a chore!
Once you’ve progressed on an you are doing full runs of 30 minutes or more without
stopping it’s time to reflect on your goals and and maybe change tack.
Are you enjoying it and getting a buzz? If so I would really recommend joining a
club if only for the social side, meeting other runners but also having access to
coaches who can guide you better and help you out a bit should you start getting
any niggly injuries.
Most people continue running without joining a club, preferring the solitude - I
did for several years, so fully understand this point of view. If this is the case
for you, then you probably have to be a bit more careful about looking after yourself,
see the injury pages for common running ailments!
If you started on the run-walk-run training programmes, then you can stick with this
theme as you progress, though it’s now called “interval training”. Most runners
incorporate interval training into their programmes, from you casual runners to top
athletes, the Kenyan team base all their training around intervals of some form or
In simple terms you replace the “walk” with “run” and the “run” with “run a bit faster”!
You don’t want to go bananas, just push on for a short while (say 100m) where you
are breathing that bit heavier then relax go back to original running pace or even
slower for the early days. As you get more comfortable with this, start increasing
the distance of the interval.
Many runners like to do a long slow run, this is a fairly self explanatory; a longer
distance than your ‘routine’ runs but done at a slower pace. One of the principles
of a long slow run is to develop tolerance to lactic acid build up. They are also
useful as a fat-burning exercise. That said I never really took to LSRs, but I’m
a sprinter at heart.
Unless you’re wanting to win races, I don’t believe there is a great reason to run
more than 3 times a week, that way your running muscles have plenty of time to recover,
the time is better spent do other forms of exercise or even having a couple of complete
rest days. See below!
Even if you are really enjoying the running, it’s worth mixing up your exercise so
you don’t just train the same muscles. Many runners call this “cross training”,
be it swimming, cycling, cross trainers in the gym or yoga classes.
As I mentioned on the getting started page, core stability is very important for
runners to help protect against injury, there are loads of web resources with this
kind of stuff, and I’ll try and put some stuff on here as I develop the site.