You Can Become a Runner
With the right training, even beginning joggers can get ready to go for the gold
Step 8. The long and short of it.
The basics of any training program involve a combination of hard runs, easy
runs, and long runs. "Alternate your days with hard runs and easy
runs," Bakoulis says. "You can do this by running every other day or by
running roughly twice as much on the hard days as the easy days." Don't add
miles to implement the hard runs. Instead, figure out how many miles you are
doing now and divide them up so that you are running more on the hard days,
less on the easy days. Get it?
As the race or marathon gets closer, start gearing up for a long run.
"For a marathon, a long-run is 18 miles or more, but a long run is shorter
when training for a 5K, 10K or another race," she says.
Before your run, do any type of exercise -- a light jog, calisthenics, a
bicycle -- until you break a sweat, says Lewis Maharam. "Muscles are like
taffy. When they are warm they stretch, and when they are cold they break."
Also stretch out important muscles -- your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and
iliotibial band -- before and after your run. "This will not only improve
flexibility but prevent injury," he says.
Step 9. Rest your body and your feet.
It's really unnecessary for 99% of runners to run every day of the week.
Most people should take at least one, if not three days, off each week,"
Bakoulis says. "And you don't have to run every day either." Instead,
try "non-impact activities such as cycling, swimming, using the elliptical
trainer at a gym, or any activity that is not causing you to pound your feet at
least once a week," she says.
Step 10. On your mark, get set, go!
Congratulations. You are now on your way to the starting gate and much
closer to achieving your goal. Remember, aches and pains can -- and will --
occur during your run. If you feel sore on race day, take acetaminophen
(Tylenol). Says Maharan: "The temptation is to take ibuprofen, but it can
block prostaglandins and blood flow to the kidneys in race conditions."