My take on Running!

A long overdue blog, this is a subject that i have had on my mind for a while and as i have some spare time today i thought i would try and put my ideas down on paper.

Running, very controversial subject i feel, generally you either love running or you hate it. This goes for the general public and trainers alike. Firstly i am going to say that i enjoy running and have got lots from it in my personal fitness but by no means am i a serious runner. I hear “personal trainers” bashing running all the time and i also hear people who run complain they are not getting any results. I don’t like either of these so lets get to the bottom of this argument…

Lets start with some basic pros to running:

High levels of fitness improvement

High fat burning potential

Great “core” workout

sport specific as many sports involve running in some way

Potential to improve posture

Can be done anywhere with no gym membership

And now for some negatives:

Impact on the joints from repetitive pounding on the pavement

Not a power sport (like say rowing) so no strength improvement

Can be catabolic to your hard earned muscles

Potential negative effect on posture

Injury potential

Weighing it all up:

So as you can see there is equal positives and negatives to running so whats the answer, should we run or should we not??? Before i answer this lets look a little closer at these points, as like many things in fitness its not as simple as above, many factors come into making this decision such as goals, age, fitness level and type of running your doing. I think the biggest problem with running is people don’t look at it like any other element to training, people think they can just grab trainers and off you go, putting little thought into what they are doing. Such as correct running technique, distances, tempo and recovery. Most people just run, comfortable pace and the same route or distance each time. This is almost a useful as not going in the first place. Its no different than lifting weights and if you take an approach to running like you would when structuring a weight lifting programme its a different story. Like anything i believe running makes a great addition to any training programme if structured properly with goals taken into account. So below i am going to outline some basic principles i go by when structuring running into training programmes:

Running for fat loss:

This has to be the most popular subject so lets dive straight in as most women think its necessary to run a long way, slowly, often to burn fat. WRONG! Fat loss happens best at high intensity, low intensity burns through muscle so each time you are on a long slow run you are actually having a negative effect on fat burning as the more muscle you can hold onto the better metabolic rate you will maintain. I would suggest sprints for fat loss, so something like 5-10 400m sprints with 90 seconds recover between, go all out on each sprint and recover as best as you can. WARNING this is so much harder than it sounds. So a basic week for fat loss might look like 2 weight training sessions working on strength 2 sprint running sessions and possibly 1 longer lo intensity run but only as addition to the other 4 sessions.

Running for endurance:

If you want to run a marathon then running is he obvious choice but i would suggest staying away from these marathon training plans that get you running anywhere from 20-60 miles a week. Unless your a very experienced runner your body will take too much of a beating. mix non impact training in on the rower or in the pool and also do not forget you still need to do some strength training.

Running for strength/fitness:

Want to be fit? compete in adventure races or crossfit? Whats the best way here, this is going to be mixing in lots of elements, i would suggest no more than 1 long run per month, most of your running will be interval based. This is where hill sprint come in, sprint up a short steep hill as fast as you can, walk down to recover and repeat. This is great for speed and strength gains and is horrendously hard. Also another option here is to use running as part of a circuit where you run say 800m and do 20 burpees between each set. options here are endless.

Final thoughts:

I think running is a fantastic part of a training plan and anyone not doing a form of running is missing out on an important element to training. But the structure needs to be based around strength training with running built in to suit the goals of the individual. Running technique is important so before you get going book some training in with a performance coach that is a runner to work on your form and correct postural issues. Shoes are important, i prefer a neutral ride but everyone is different, again get advice from a professional. So i think running can help anyone progress so if your someone that doesn’t run, look to implement some running into your current plan and if your one of these people that runs 4 times a week, the same circuit or same time on a treadmill and are fed up of not getting any results hopefully now you will see where your going wrong and have the knowledge to start making some changes.

Good luck and get running