While motivation is crucial when beginning a new exercise routine, it’s also important to start slow – literally. A mistake that I see others make frequently, and that I make even more frequently, is running too fast out the gate. This time around, I finally started at a comfortable pace and I’m making improvements faster than I expected. Here are some running workouts I have incorporated.
But First, A Tip: Running on a track when first starting out is the best way to go – it’s low-impact, you know exactly where you are at all times, and you can focus 100% on the exercise. Each routine below is for track-running.
Turns & Straights
This is the easiest workout you can do aside from walking the entire track. The beginning version of Turns & Straights is simple: jog each straightaway on the track and walk each turn. The point here is to build to where you can comfortably run a full lap without breaking, which then leads to the next workout.
But First, A Tip: General track etiquette states that slower runners and walkers stick to the outside, but staying on the outside also means that you’re covering more distance per lap. Stick to the outer lanes for a better workout!
Laps & Straights
This name can be a little confusing since you’re not always walking the straights. I like to start this workout at the 100m dash starting line and then run the first full lap, which will end back at that starting line. Walk the straight, then run your next full lap starting and ending at the finish line. Walk the curve, etc. etc.
With this workout, you’re covering at least 500 meters with each repetition. After running four laps you’ll have covered 2000 meters instead of 1600, and that will be even further if you run strictly in the outer lanes. Remember to take a comfortable pace while running so that you can recover your breathing while walking, which will let you run more laps, cover more distance, and earn a better result.
The Stadium Mile
Once you’re comfortable running Laps & Straights, the Stadium Mile is a powerful next step.
Begin at the finish line and jog your lap around. The difference this time is that whenever you reach the stands or bleachers, you will veer off the track and run up each stair set. Focus on driving your knees upward and swinging your arms from your shoulders as you run upwards. Once you reach the top step, turn and carefully walk back down – this is your rest period in the Stadium Mile. Run up and walk down the staircases and then jog your next full lap on the track. Four laps total and you’re done!
But In Closing, A Tip: Running shouldn’t be stressful. Many of us, myself included, sit for hours on end at work. A good, long walk, jog, or run is an essential part of unwinding at day’s end. While you’re on the track, block out everything else, listen to music that puts you in a trance, and just go. Be free.