John Honerkamp is an RRCA and USATF-certified running coach, celebrity marathon pacer, and recognized leader in the New York City running community.
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Running, the action of moving yourself forward rapidly on foot, is a popular form of physical activity that requires little equipment. It's an excellent way to boost cardiovascular fitness anywhere and at any time. All you need is a good pair of shoes, weather-appropriate gear, and a safe route.
Whether you're running for the first time or training for your next race, read this information about proper form, the best shoes, training strategies, and more.
There are a few strategies that can help you pick up the pace in your runs. Incorporating short sprints will help, but interval training, tempo runs, and hills will also help you get faster. A treadmill may be an excellent tool for improving overall performance and increasing speed. The treadmill allows you to add hills and easily perform speed work. Of course, working on your form, weekly mileage, and allowing proper rest and recovery will also aid in increasing overall speed. Consider working with a running coach or using a running app to create a personalized training program to increase your speed.
To ensure comfort and prevent injury, first, get medical clearance to begin running. Second, invest in properly-fitting running shoes. Finally, decide where and when you will run. Do you have a safe area (trails, road, or a track) that will enable you to regularly run outside? Or will you utilize a treadmill? Deciding which option is most readily available can help plan a running program. When you’re ready to put one foot in front of the other, consider a walk/run strategy in the beginning: commit to a set period of time, and alternate walking and running. You can increase the running component progressively over time.
As a very general and simplistic rule, a runner will burn about 100 calories per mile. Individual calorie expenditure is dependent on weight, pace, and other factors, so individuals who want a slightly more accurate estimate might use a tracking device, such as a running watch. Note that calorie counters on cardio equipment and fitness trackers tend to overestimate calorie burn. Using a heart rate monitor with your tracking device may provide a more accurate estimate.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a combination of foods that are high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. There are a variety of options that can work, such as a bagel with peanut butter or a bowl of oatmeal with berries. You will want to consume your meal or snack within 90 minutes to an hour before a run. Foods to avoid before a run include spicy foods, high-fiber foods such as legumes, lactose-heavy foods, and greasy or fried foods.
According to a study by RunRepeat, the average time for a 5k (3.1 miles) is 35 minutes. Starting your 5k journey can be made easier by following a guided plan.
Literally translating to “with oxygen,” aerobic exercise strengthens your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Running is a form of aerobic exercise as it uses oxygen as its primary source of energy.
Jogging is movement at a steady, gentle pace that is slower than running. Similar to running, jogging is considered a high-impact exercise, as opposed to walking, which is low-impact.
Sprints are runs carried out at top speed for a short distance. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to reap the benefits of sprinting. Sprints can be performed in short bursts on the treadmill or outdoors as part of an overall running protocol to improve cardiovascular health and increase aerobic capacity.
Trail running is outdoor running that can be performed in a variety of settings, depending on your geographical location. Different trails may require different types of running shoes. Wherever you run outdoors, consider safety, and reap the physical and mental benefits of fresh air.
Lee D chul, Pate RR, Lavie CJ, Sui X, Church TS, Blair SN. Leisure-time running reduces all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk. J Am College Cardiol. 2014;64(5):472-481. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058
Calories Burned HQ. Calories burned running calculator.
Wallen MP, Gomersall SR, Keating SE, Wisløff U, Coombes JS. Accuracy of heart rate watches: implications for weight management. Calbet JAL, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0154420. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154420
Cleveland Clinic. Aerobic exercise.