Running Routine Tips
Are you getting bored with your running routine? No worries, there are tons of thing that you can do to change up things and find new ways to enjoy your passion. Now that the cold weather is here, you have to change up a few things up anyways. The point of running is to be able to enjoy yourself, get lost in your thoughts, relieve stress, and get fit. If your routine has become so routine that you dread lacing up, it’s time to change it up. Even a small change can help you head out the door with a little more motivation.
1. Get Stuck on Repeat
Running a set of repeats interspersed with intervals for recovery is a simple way to mix things up. Choose a distance or time period (200 meters or 45 seconds, for example) and run hard. Rest for a set period of time and do it all again (and again). (Spoiler alert: The recovery interval is just as important as the repeat!) The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale is an intuitive way to loosely measure your effort, no heart rate monitor or other gadgetry required.
For most workouts, repeats should feel like a “7” to “9” on an RPE scale, (ie. a rough approximation of “intensity”) and recovery intervals can either be full rest, walking, or light jogging. Start the next repeat when you’ve caught your breath enough to talk comfortably. The longer or harder the repeat, the more recovery you’ll need.
Short for High-Intensity Interval Training, is all the rage in many exercise circles. Studies show that it’s good for fat-burning, and you can get a good workout in less time. It’s a series of near-maximum intensity sprints with less-intense recovery intervals (after a warm up of course) and usually lasts between 10-20 minutes (not counting warm up and cool down). Here’s a great beginner workout.
3. Climb a Ladder
Ladders add a different challenge to the traditional interval workout with repeats that grow increasingly more challenging (in distance or intensity) as the workout progresses. For example, you might run 200m, rest, run 400m, rest, run 600m, rest, and so on. This kind of workout is good practice for managing exertion throughout a workout—going hard while leaving something in the tank to finish strong. Check out a couple of sample ladder workouts for both beginning and advanced runners.
4. Step Up
5. Go Off-Roading
Rejuvenate the body and mind by getting off the road and into nature. Running a path or trail provides a scenic backdrop and tests your coordination on new terrain. Just make sure you have the right kind of running shoes, and if it’s your first time off the road, pick a path that isn’t likely to (literally) trip you up.
6. Try “Fartleks”
Swedish for “speed play,” fartleks allow runners to reap the benefits of speed work in an unstructured workout. Bonus: They’re as fun to run as they are to say. To try fartleks, just run at a comfortable pace to warm up and then throw in a sprint—run hard until you reach the end of the block, or until the next stop sign, or until you see a red car.
7. Get Social
Run with a group or club to learn new routes and meet running buddies. Larger cities will have multiple running clubs that gather for group runs before and after the 9-to-5 workday. And most have a social component too—post-workout recovery fuel might include beer, bagels, or both. If there aren’t running clubs or teams near you, contact specialty running shops in your area; they often host group runs.
8. Run to a Beat
Sometimes it’s tough to push ourselves to maintain a challenging pace. When this happens, let the music do the work. Apps like RockMyRun, TempoRun ,and PaceDJ provide a beat that will keep you moving fast by sorting your music library by tempo. Songza’s 90 BPM Hip Hop Running Mix will keep you moving, too.
9. Work the Treadmill
With the ability to do workouts that vary in pace, distance, and incline without having to scout routes or worry about climate, weather, or road conditions, the treadmill is one of the most versatile tools in a runner’s fitness toolbox. Almost any running workout can be done on the treadmill.
10. Just (Don’t) Do It
Just don’t run. As Jason Fitzgerald points out, “Recovery is just as important as the workouts themselves. If you don’t recover from them, you might as well not do them.” Days off are “when you adapt to that workload from the workout—get faster, stronger, become a better runner.” Without adequate rest, the risk of becoming over trained increases. Over training can cause a backslide in fitness gains, persistent fatigue and soreness, and increases the likelihood of injury.
11. Experience the “Pyramids”
Pyramids start with the shortest repeat and increase in set increments until they hit the longest distance, then decrease in the same increments. The last repeat will be your starting distance. For example: 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m, with recovery intervals between each run. Feel free to swap out timed repeats for the distances.
Learn how to make running easier on your body:
- Running Drills
- Strength and Mobility Exercises
- Postural and Stability Exercises
- 6 and 12 Week Training Plans
- Step by Step Coaching
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