Inspired by the London Marathon, one of the greatest marathon events in the world, April will now be referred to as ‘Running Month’. I’ll be sharing some of my best training plans to get you running further and faster, as well as the right way to eat to get the most from your training, and the best events that we have done, or are looking forward to doing.
Our friends here at The Army Girl’s Guide are starting April as we mean to go on, and on the 1st April we have entered the Bahrain Spartan Race, a 5km obstacle course that will prove to test not only our physical, but mental toughness!
And to help you get started in the right direction, here is a quick run down of why running is great for weight loss:
After all, it is the best free workout you will find. In order to burn off sufficient calories to notice a difference in your fat loss you need to be aiming to either run (or switch for low-impact cardiovascular work such as spinning) 3-4 times per week. It’s great to mix it up so as not to overdo it if you’re new to running, and remember to add some complementary resistance training once or twice a week on top of your running.
Mix it up
Don’t always do the same run, at the same pace, for the same amount of time every day. If you’re not pushing yourself, you won’t get fitter, and you won’t be losing weight (see how to get our guide to making your workout work for you here). You can mix up your routine by playing with pace (see below) the terrain you run on, the incline you run on and the duration of your run. Try and do something different for the 3-4 times you go out each week.
Increase your endurance
As above, you want to be pushing yourself, and running is great because you really quickly see improvement. Make one run a week your ‘long run’. Now this may be a mile, it may be 10 miles, depending on your start point, but try and increase this run by 10% envy week, either by distance or by time. This is your great fat burner run… strong and steady, and you could be burning around 600 calories and hour, with your body turning to fat stores for energy. Perfect!
Have a need for speed
Interval training is tough, but it is so much fun sprinting as fast as you can! This is where your calorie burn will be the highest, which means you can burn more in a shorter workout, but you have to be sweating, and screaming on the inside (and out if that’s how you roll!). The best way to do this is to set a sprint time, and then a recovery time, and repeat. Make sure you’re adequately warmed up, then increase your pace for 1-2 minutes, lowing down to recover for 1/2 minutes. You want to be working hard in your sprint, and if you’re not sure if you are be sure to check out our guide which you can find here. A calorie torching workout which leaves you feeling exhilarated in just 20 minutes – now that’s our kind of workout!
Push your comfort zone
A little used method for running, don’t leave this one out… threshold running is where you are just at the edge of your comfort zone, tipping into uncomfortable. This is the run that is going to see you be able to gradually increase your natural running pace. It’s different to intervals, in that you’re not working quite as hard, but you’re trying to maintain the pushed pace for longer. A great way to do this is timed, or with markers (slook up Fartlek training for more on this). I like to set landmarks, such as the next road junction, the fifth lamppost I pass, the next pub (don’t get distracted!) to run between. I increase my pace for that segment, then return to a normal running for the next segment. Try and do this around 5 times, creating a threshold training segment of around 30 minutes.
So there you have it – some great ways to incorporate running into your weekly workout schedules. Just find your trainers, shut the front door and enjoy being outside. After all, it is Spring! But spare a thought for us here in Bahrain, where spring means 32 degrees, and we’ll have that added to the other 20 obstacles as we fight our way around the race on Friday! Pictures will be coming soon. Share yours with us from any April races your doing with the hashtag #armygirlsrun