How Often Should You Run?
So you found out you can run and want to run everywhere. Even if you can’t run from A to B you’re working out for when you can and thinking about adding a C. There aren’t too many people who can resist throwing themselves into a new hobby particularly when they have splashed out on the kit and can feel the advantages early. However, running is not only a worthwhile hobby, it’s a full workout that can go extreme. Just as with any exercise, if you push too hard and too fast there are going to be painful consequences and they could you off. If you want to keep running for longer than it takes to break in your new running shoes, it pays to listen to sound advice.
The Appropriate Frequency For Running In A Week
Running frequency varies from individual to individual. There is no wrong running frequency if it fits well into your schedule and helps you achieve your desired goal although you must set your goals according to your stamina. Gradually increase your running frequency as you progress from beginner runner to advanced level.
1. Be Consistent
To stay healthy and fit and achieve your weight loss goals it is essential to be consistent with your running schedule. Whether you choose to run three times a week or five, do it regularly.
Even if you are not running every day it is essential to workout and exercise daily. Half an hour of physical activity each day not only keeps you fit and smart but also help you stay healthy for a lifetime.
2. Rest Is Crucial
Your body is a machine and it needs an appropriate amount of rest in between each intense session. Whether you choose to run or work hard in the gym, your body needs time to regenerate lost energy. An appropriate amount of rest not only keeps your body strong, but also helps build concentration and morale.
It is not advised to run every day. This weakens muscles. You won’t receive long term benefits exercising or running without breaks. Rest days are crucial in between running days since they keep your determination high and refresh both body and mind for the next working day. Appropriate rest also keeps you focused so you maintain your interest in whatever you are doing.
The recommended running frequency is 3 or 4 times weekly although advanced level runners can go up to 5 days a week. This is the maximum and must not be exceeded. It is advisable to keep cross-training to your non-running days. You can choose any cardio or strength training depending upon your inclination and stamina. Cycling, swimming, walking, and weight training are just a few possible options for exercise on the days you are not running.
Keep in mind that while doing cross-training alongside running, your body still needs to rest. It is essential to take a rest day when you neither run or cross-train to allow your body time to regenerate. We advise you invest in a good pair of cross training shoes for maximum comfort and protection.
4. Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
Some beginners opt to work very hard in the initial days and soon become overwhelmed and tired. Their body cannot provide the energy to keep the muscles going and they end up giving up. The trick is to not overdo anything until your routine is well established.
For the beginners with zero or very little stamina, it is recommended to begin running with walking for 20 to 30 minutes 3 or 4 days a week. Slowly increase the walking pace and eventually start running. This slow and steady approach will help you get started and keep going to help develop running habits for the long term.
If just running 3 to 4 days a week makes you tired then there is no need for cross-training on the non-running days. Cross-training is adopted to keep you active and physically challenged for the days when you are not running but if this is making you exhausted then leave it until you develop the stamina. Instead, allow ample rest time and progress gradually to avoid feeling overwhelmed and develop running and cross-training regimes later.
5. Beginners’ Running Plan
If you want to start running when you are out of shape, you should gradually adopt their desired running regime. You must be wary of injuries caused by overworking. Run 3 or 4 days a week but ensure these running days are not consecutive. Alternate days will allow a day for your body to recover naturally.
The importance of rest days cannot be understated. Rest days produce numerous benefits as rest restores glycogen reserves, allows time for broken and fatigued tissues and muscles to heal and also prevents demotivation from physical and mental exhaustion. These benefits are the reasons rest days are so strongly recommended as an essential part of a running regime.
It is not necessary to take only 3 days a week as rest days. You can increase their frequency and alter your regime so it works best for you. Your prime goal should be to build stamina and commit to developing a long term workout regime you can stick with. Allow yourself some flexibility with ample time for your body to get adjusted.
An ideal running plan for beginners:
- Monday – Run
- Tuesday – Rest
- Wednesday – Run
- Thursday – Light walking
- Friday – Run
- Saturday – Walk
- Sunday – yoga, aerobics, swimming or rowing
Factors Impeding Running
1. Making Sudden Progress In The Beginning
Some runners are very passionate and they want to adopt a running regime at advanced level in no time. They tend to increase their speed or mileage at a fast rate and consequently push their bodies too hard in the initial phase. They assume they are doing themselves a favor but in reality, they are causing more harm than good. A sudden and abrupt increase in any workout regime is the major reason for overuse muscle and joint injuries.
The recommended intensity increase rate is intervals of 10 percent. Sometimes it is necessary for runners to maintain their speed and mileage for weeks increase only up to 5 percent at a time. This helps the body to gradually adapt to the pace.
If you are too fitness conscious and want to increase the duration of your workout then it is advised that instead of increasing your running mileage or days you can include cross-training early. This way your body will get sufficient rest and recovery time.
2. Running On Uneven And Rough Surfaces
The running surface has a significant impact on your running outcome. Running on inappropriate surfaces may result in muscle injuries, tissue traumas or knee and sprained ankles.
Running on hard surfaces increases stress on muscles and if you continuously opt to run over hard surfaces, research shows you are very likely to damage your muscles and tissues.
Running on sand or other soft surfaces is also not recommended as there are increased chances of your foot slipping while moving forward which leave you vulnerable to Achilles tendonitis.
If you are running on a slightly slanted surface it is advised to run on both sides. Running on one side continuously on a slanted surface means you are constantly running with one leg at a higher level which may lead to serious skeletal and muscle injuries.
Running uphill stresses the Achilles tendon and tibialis anterior (muscles at the front of the leg). If you chose to run uphill regularly, this too may lead to chronic injuries.
Running downhill increases the risk of slipping and it exerts a lot of stress on your knees which may result in knee injuries.
There are pros and cons of running on different kinds of surfaces so it is recommended to run on a variety instead of sticking to just one particular type of surface. This way all the muscles will be involved and the risk of injuries will be reduced.
3. Improper Running Technique
Your running style is another factor that significantly impacts your running outcome. Under normal circumstances, your feet land flat on the ground, but some runners exert a lot of pressure on heels that exerts more stress on leg muscles and in turn slows down movement. Runners that land on the ball of the foot or the mid foot exert unnecessary stress on their Achilles tendon; therefore, your running technique must be correct to maximize all the running benefits with minimal risk of injury.
Running is a cheap and convenient way to get fit and healthy, so no wonder people of all ages love it. But when you are a novice this is could be the one time when too much of a good thing could be downright dangerous. If it is just tempting and you can’t sit still, redirect your energy into cross training. It will build your muscles and stamina and release that tension but remember, your rest days are still vital. Your body needs that time to recuperate and to develop your hard earned muscle but you can help it along by keeping exercise light so you can be in tip top shape ready for your next run.