Novice’s Guide to Running
When I trained Army personnel in fitness, I was dealing with people who had run 1 mile under 5min: 45 sec. Some of my students cannot run for even 5 min continuously, forget the distance! I have learnt to work with them with fair amount of success. This blog: “Novice’s Guide to Running” is meant to help someone who meets all/some of the following criteria:
- No experience of running.
- Not been a sportsperson.
- Probably overweight.
Just start running! If you find that you cannot last even 1 min then do the following:
- Run at a very comfortable pace. Comfortable pace is one at which you can hold a conversation while running.
- Run intermittently- 30 sec to 1 min & then walk for 1-2 min.
- In this manner gain the ability to continuously run for about 30 min in 30-60 days.
Please run only on alternate days. Take a day to recover from the exertion. This is important to prevent injuries, maintain the motivation and also progress.
Injury prevention is the most important aspect for an untrained runner. Common injuries for untrained runners can be the following:
- Pain in Knee.
- Pain in ankle.
- Pain in shin.
The best solution for all these injuries is rest and gradual buildup of strength of the weak areas and weight reduction. Let us understand the method of injury prevention/recovery. Injuries below the knee occur because the ankle and calf muscles are weak and also the bones are not dense enough. Bone density will build up over a time with training. Muscle strength can be improved faster. The good news is that calf muscles are the strongest muscles in the body and can be trained easily every alternate day. Practice single/double leg calf rises over several sets (8-12) to strengthen the muscles of the lower legs.
Cardio endurance has to be built by running only twice/ maybe only once in a week. For at least 3 days in a week you should cycle, or train on the cross trainer machine or the rowing machine. These exercises are good because they will build up the cardio endurance (lungs and heart) without putting much stress on your joints.
Knee injury can be prevented by training the quadriceps on the leg extension machine, or just tightening your upper leg muscles for 15-20 sec and then relaxing them. Do this exercise over several sets (8-12) twice a week.
30 Min Continuous Running Ability
By observing the above tips you should be able to reach a level of being able to run continuously for 30 min in about two months without being injured. Even if it takes longer, please do not worry. It is important to have patience and not get injured. Once you have reached this level it is time to think about the distance being covered and speed. Further tips you will get in my earlier blog. The link is given below:
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