A running plan can be a very good tool for a number of reasons. It serves a source of wizdom as to when to run and how much. It can be a motivator to get out the door. For new runners this is an absolute essential piece of training equipment.
The new runner will want to make sure that they do not over do it here. You want to introduce your body to the new exercise of running with a certain amount of care and caution. A suffeicent warm up before going into a full run or jog is very important to give the muscles and tendons a chance to be warmed up and ready for a run. Do not skip this part of your run.
New runners may also want to train with someone, as the accountability and joy of running with someone are both great things that come with joining up for a run.
To find an official running plan, the couch to 5k running plans are a good tool to get a runner into the sport of running, as many new runners have had success with this training tool.
The moderate runner will want to add a few new components to his or her running program, as by this time he or she may want to increase speed and set a new “PR” (personal record) for a particular distance. This runner should take a look at the 5 essential training runs, and see if he or she can incoruperate them all into the training. First would be the long run – The long run provides a runner with the increased ability to transport oxygen from the air, throughout the body, and to the muscles. The more efficent this process the less fatigued and more energized a runner will be at all distances. The long run also builds tendon strength. Second would be the track work out – The track work out is an essential compontnet for a runner increaseing speed of the runs. It will provide the body the abitiy to increase “turnover” of the legs and more “normalize” running fast. As the body is able to achieve faster speeds, it is actually easier to run at slower and moderate speeds. The third training run would be the tempo run – The tempo run builds your bodys ability to deal with the pain of running at a fast papce for a extended period of time. When you make your body run at a speed that produces excess lactic acid, Lactic Acid being the by-product of muscle exertion, and what causes your muscles to feel fatigue, and when your body produces this it is a big step in your training when you can “hang on” through this pain. This is what will allow you to persevere through that last mile of your 5 or 10k to set your new PR. The second to last run is hill workouts or strength training – Both hill workouts and strength training are going to provide your body with significant muscluar gains and, in turn, provide you with a more effiencet run. The last run is the easiest of all 5 running components – the easy run. The easy run is a simple 20 to 30 minute run that provides your body with a nice increase of healing blood flow to all your muscles, and loosens any tightness and soreness you may have from your harder runs.
When and how long are these runs?
Long Run – 8 to 18 miles, done at an easy pace, on Saturday or Sunday
Track Workout – 200 to 800 meter runs totaling about 3 to 4 miles, done at about 90 to 95% of your top speed, on Tuesdays
Tempo Run – 3 to 7 miles, done at a little slower than your 5k race pace with “run hard” then “run easy” tempo built in, done on a Thursday perhaps.
Hills/Strength – 10 repeats on a 30 to 60 second climb, done at about same pace as tempo runs, do these runs on alternating weeks of the tempo run or on Mondays.
Recovery/Easy runs – 20 to 30 minutes, easy pace/whatever is comfortable, done on any days you do not have a work out or long run. May even be done in addition to workout run days.
The elite runner may want to consider a few moves to progress his or her running career. A few of these steps may include high altitude training, minimalist running, ice baths, iron and zinc supliments, fish oil, lactic acid buffering sports drinks, caffene.
High altitude training - a runner or athlete, trains at a high altitude for 1 to 3 weeks, and as he or she is in this oxygen-depleted environement the athletes body increases the production of red blood cells and when he or she returns back to sea level the body can more effienclty use oxygen for energy and thus the runner is faster for 1 to 2 months.
Minimialist running – using little to no footwear and forcing the body to run with a more efficent stride claims to be a way that gives a runner a faster running gait. Using “shoes” such as vibrams are the most demanding, but provide the most bare-foot simluation, however many shoe companys are providing a product for this market some with more “shoe” and some with less “shoe”
Ice baths – directly following a long or hard run the body is in rough shape and the effects of an ice bath can be very beificial. The ice bath reduces harmful inflammation of the muscles, while also providing a complete new flow of “fresh” blood once the body warms back up. (New blood flow brings healing to muscles)
Iron and Zinc – nothing too crazy here, but Iron helps to transport oxygen to the muscles and thus can increase performace as a runners effiecnenty of running is directly related to ones ability to get oxygen to the muscles. Zinc simply is the mineral that helps to absorb Iron.
Fish oil – the undisputed supimnet, this supplement will serve to lubricate the muslces, reduceses lactic acid buildup, and make you feel ready to run sooner than if you hadnt taken those stinky fish oil gels.
Lactic Acid buffering drinks – These sports drinks simply help to reduce the build up of lactic acid in the body during your runs… out on a long run for longer than an hour and you will notice the increased stamina if you use this product. Run a marathon and you might see companies like cyto-max at the fueling station instead of your traditional hydrating drinks.
Caffene – Some runners claim that having a a cup of coffee 60 to 90 minutes before a run helps them to kick a bit more but out on the course. It is true that caffene can open blood cells to incrase blood flow. Caffene is also often found on the energy gels used in distance runs from 1/2 to full marathon. Careful with your cafene intake though, as this is a diaretic.