How do I shake up my running?
So you’ve probably been running the same route for ages, could probably do it with your eyes closed and no longer really find it challenging. Sound familiar? Well it’s at about this point that you’ll also notice you stop getting results if you’re trying to lose weight, and you don’t feel like your fitness is increasing either. Basically you’ve been doing the same thing for too long and your body no longer needs to adapt to meet the challenge. Time for a change! Here are my top tips for doing just that…………..
Switch your route
This will not only add interest, but you can surprise your body by running further, or doing a shorter route but faster. Even running your normal route backwards will make a difference! Try and take some time off your PB and compete with yourself.
Add some sprints
By adding some fast sections, you can turn your run into an interval session. This helps increase your cardiovascular fitness and will burn up calories for longer when you’ve finished. Try increasing your pace between alternate lamp posts, or choosing sections of your route where you can do short bursts at full blast. If you live near a running track, why not use it? If you’re on a treadmill, try increasing your pace for stretches of 50 metres, or bursts of 30 seconds to a minute with an equal amount of rest between intervals. Start with 5 of any of the above and see how you feel. If you don’t feel like you’ve worked hard enough, add in some more or increase the distance or speed of each one.
Add some hills
Swap your normal flat route for a hilly one, and run all the way without stopping. Try not to let hills become your nemesis, but instead look upon them as just another part of the route that needs tackling differently. You don’t need to stay at your flat pace, and you’ll need to use your arms more but you’ll feel great when you reach the top and keep going! You could also find one hill and use it to do intervals, with the runs back down being your rest periods. Use the same principles as for the sprints above.
Go off road
Have a go at cross country! You can easily find routes using OS maps or local information, and it’ll add interest as well as the challenge of a different terrain. The same applies to running in woodland where avoiding tree stumps and taking narrow paths will make you shift your focus and change your running style. You’ll need to concentrate to avoid stumbling, and also change your pace to take account of the running surface, but that’s all part of the fun! Make sure you have a sturdy, well fitting pair of running shoes and be aware of personal safety at all times.
Join a club
Search your local area for a running club, and join in. This way, you won’t need to plan your own routes and can enjoy the social aspect of training too. Some clubs have coaches and even do track sessions, which will add another dimension to your training. There’s no need to feel intimidated – most clubs divide into different ability groups and are always on the lookout for new members.
Whether you choose one or all of the above, don’t just keep slogging away at the same old thing. Good luck!