Coaches Corner – How To Add Running Into Your Training Regimen

Last week, a friend asked me for advice in an email.  She asked me about adding running into her training.  Here is a small portion of her email and my response.

“I know that adding in additional workouts will help me lose weight and get in better shape.  I have run twice this week already on Tuesday and Thursday for 2.5 miles for the first time in like forever.  I know you aren’t a big fan of running but it is something that I don’t mind and I am decent at it.   Running typically helps me lose weight quickly if I can stick with it.” Here is my response. I made important points bold. For the sake of this article, I added a few additional recommendations as well as a closing statement.

Training at the gym three days is good. Running is also good. I think running is fantastic. My recommendation is that people be strong enough to handle the constant impact each time our foot hits the ground. If you enjoy it and your body handles it, do it. 

My thoughts are how can we maximize the time you are dedicating to running?  Steady jogging the same 2-3 miles twice a week won’t do much for long. Your body will become efficient at burning energy (this means you will burn less). So you either have to go further or faster. Further takes more time. Faster does not.

I think your running or “conditioning” should resemble how I would train a soccer player in the off season. Remember all that stuff you used to do? (My friend was a good high school soccer player.)

  • Agility drills – ladder work and a variety of lateral stop and go type stuff. Follow that up with:
  • Tempo runs – run 100 yards somewhere between 18-25 seconds. Rest 30-40 seconds, run another 100 yards in 18-25 seconds….Do this 10-15 times. As you improve, run the 100 yards faster and shorten up the rest.
  • Stadium running, hills or beach– If you live close to a stadium, see if you can run up and down the bleachers. If you live by hills and steep terrain, try running up the hill and walking down. Repeat once and back down. If you are close to the beach (like my friend), run/walk on the thick sand. Use landmarks as goals. Maybe you’ll run from your starting point to a lifeguard stand. Then walk to the next.
  • Sprint work – 20 yard sprints or flying 40’s. For the first 20 yards, run at a moderate speed and then all out sprint for last 20 yards. Rest 30 seconds, repeat 10-15 times. Take your time and build up to faster speeds. And it should go without saying that you should be properly warmed up. This might take you back to your soccer glory days, but you are now an old mom 🙂
  • Intervals (let’s use a track as an example) – sprint the straight aways, walk or jog the turns.
  • 15/15/15 drill = walk 15 seconds, jog 15 seconds, sprint 15 seconds…..keep repeating for desired time. Adjust accordingly.
  • 50 yard gassers or suicide runs (I heard they can’t call them suicide runs anymore in school.)

This is productive running for body composition goals, in my opinion. Steady, same pace jogging has it’s place. I good plan would be to do 20 minutes of stuff like this and then finish with a steady-state jog for 20+ minutes.

My friend is a mom, has a full-time job and all the responsibilities you and I have. I want her and you to maximize the time you commit to training. Faster, shorter sprints and drills are intense (intensity trumps volume), requires full body coordination and are highly metabolic (burn lots of energy). Coordination, spatial awareness, elasticity (springiness) and the ability to move at different speeds don’t get trained often enough.

You are sitting and moving slow most of the day. When you exercise, unleash the potential we are built for and train with a purpose. Your training will feel really rewarding, which will make it more enjoyable.

Keep moving, Coach Dom

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