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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beginner Runners Part 3 -- Putting on Mileage

Taken from googleimages

There is always the temptation to do more than you are physically capable of when exercising or playing sports. I am the same. It is nice to set goals for yourself. When you meet them, and surpass them, you stay motivated. However, it is not good to overestimate your capabilities. 

  • Assuming that you've been running for a few months already
  • AND can run 30 minutes with no problem

It's time to start putting on mileage. 

This is mostly so that you stay in good shape and don't plateau. Once an exercise routine gets too easy it is time to make it more challenging. Obvious right? So...

How do you measure "easy"

  • When you can do an exercise correctly
  • Take your time 
  • AND your body no longer responds to it. 
For me many times boredom is the main deciding factor.

I didn't worry about mileage until I'd been running for at least three months. I started with 30 minutes and then would increase the time as I saw fit. I never went over 45 minutes in those three months. 

I started thinking about distance mainly because I wanted to start running some races. So I started recording my runs to measure how long it took to run certain distances. 

Even if you never plan to run a race you will still run longer distances as you become a stronger runner.

  • Get a heart rate monitor. This will allow you to track how hard you're working and allow you to train better for endurance.
  • Make 3 miles your first goal. After that build up slowly to 4, then 5, then 6... I say this because it is the distance (more or less) of a 5K. The typical newbie runners goal.
  • Buy a tool to help you record your distances. Obviously, it's no use running and having no idea how many miles you've clocked in. Check out this useful tool on google. It's a free way to do the same.
  • Document everything. You will thank yourself later.
  • Add weight training to your routine and STRETCH UNTIL YOU GET BORED!!!. It becomes more and more important as you run longer distances to have strong, loose, quadriceps, hamstrings, abs, and back muscles. 
  • Stretching and weights will help you to avoid typical running injuries like Iliotibial syndrome (weak hips), runner's knee (weak quads), shin splints (running too much too fast), and other strains and fractures affecting the legs, ankles, feet and knees.
  • Have a balanced diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Become familiar with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). A runners best friend for sore muscles.
  • Join forums and/or buy runners magazines to connect with other people and to learn from their successes (and mistakes!)
  • Educate yourself. I searched on google for running programs for beginner runners until I found one that worked for my fitness level and schedule. It was incredibly helpful.
(Be sure to check out future posts on my current, tweaked, running schedule)

Also check out my posts on Beginner Runners Part 1 -- Preparation and Part 2 -- Start off Slow for more information on running.

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