27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. ~1 Corinthians 9:27
What’s the purpose of your running workout? If you want to get fit or get faster be sure to have a goal. Those without workout goals generally get stuck in a workout rut.
We see this a lot with people we know, especially on New Years Eve. They make big promises to themselves but don’t have a plan to see it forward. Come weeks into the new year they quit and go back to old habits. Newbies usually quit within a mile of hitting the road. Have a goal if you want to succeed at most things. Have large and small goals that tie into your overall purpose for running. Are you trying to improve your Physical Fitness score or trying to run a marathon for the first time?
I have a few events that I have to celebrate and these tie into my overall fitness purpose and running plans. I go for a long solo run on my birthday. I run on the first day of snow. I run on the first day I touchdown in any city, state or country that isn’t mine. All of these things are rituals that tie into my fitness purpose.
So, what kind of purposes can you apply when you are running? Are you running in order to:
- Build endurance: Long runs build your endurance. There are many training plans online that increase the length of your long runs. Some of the plans will help you improve your speed. A long run is usually done at about 1 minute slower than your race pace. Until you get to that level, why not try running long and slow? Just get on your feet and go a bit faster than walking. If you’re already fit and want to try something more challenging, like a 10k, then try to get more time on your feet. Don’t worry about your running pace instead be concerned with getting time on your feet. Duration on the road is key. Example: run or run/walk for 30, 60 or 90 minutes or worry less about the miles.
- Build Mileage: This kind of run helps you build a good base and is tied into building endurance. This is usually done at the conversational pace. My wife does a lot of this when she’s training clients. Her goal is to get them on their feet in order to strengthen their bodies. Eventually you’ll be able to run that 1 minute slower pace than your race pace without struggling and do it for miles!
- Explore: Probably one of the best things to get you started on building a better base. Run/walking is a good way to exercise. Walk uphill, run downhill, go solo, or go with friends.
- Get Faster: In order to increase your lactate threshold and your V02max do things like speed workouts. You can do a few of my favorites: fartleks, hill repeats, or other types of workouts. I like to sprint and walk jog between every street lamp posts in my neighborhood. Usually I will sprint to every second lamp post and then jog to one, repeating myself. By workout’s end I might have covered 2 miles. Hills are great to be on. Go slow and build up to tackling steeper and steeper hills. Another thing you can do are the tempo runs and progression runs which help you build your pace. This kind of running is hard but not you’re not pressing as hard as your short interval workouts.
- Lose Weight: Eat less. The lighter you are the faster you can be.
- Recovery Run: RR are usually done the day after a hard workout.
- Reduce Stress: Who doesn’t like this kind of running? Having a bad day?
- Socialize: Running with a partner is good for catching up with each other. On social websites such as Facebook there are social clubs you can join in order train or just to run. Many leisure type clubs cater to all fitness levels. In my old home town groups of people would meet by the lighthouse. People would group up by running speeds. 10 minute mile runners with 10, seven minute mile runners with seven. So you had a group that was particularly at your level.
The old thinking, that in order to run faster you just have to run, is not true. All you’ll end up doing is running and maybe quit too. Have a plan, know what you want to do. And once in a while take a break, look around, appreciate the view, and be thankful for the ability to actually get out there and do this.
top pic from the runningaddict.com