As we each progress through our current goals as a runner, we need to take into consideration the setup, path to, and progress tracking of our health, nutrition, diet, and exercise. The Beginner’s Running Plan should allow for tools that can organize each facet of our plans. The same can be said for any workout, but I’d like to focus on those tools beneficial to the run and the runner.
What is Your Running Environment?
The comfortablity of a running environment will easily fall into place with the beginner and most will likely have had experience with indoor and outdoor running at some points in their lives. This will likely lead the runner to favor different mixes of indoor and outdoor running with respect to workout styles, methods, time constraints, social situations, climate & weather, and feasibility. Below are some characteristics; pro’s, and con’s of the indoor and outdoor running workouts.
- Indoor on a treadmill or track.
- This form of running will appeal to those that have a treadmill in the home to make for a more comfortable atmosphere and time efficient workouts for those with time constraints. This preference tends to attract itself to the: stay-at-home parents, those that work-from-home, and those with busy work and home life schedules.
- Additionally, those who will want to mix strengthening with their runs, might prefer the treadmill or track at their favorite fitness center. Alternating the muscle toning/building with the run can allow for the runner to hone in on the muscles associated Type of running that will be standard to the runner.
- Indoor running can be easier to regulate intensities and durations for each workout. Additionally, with outdoor runs, a general plan for path will need to be determined for changes in location or levels of duration.
- Social interaction can be by yourself on a treadmill, yet others in the area, or alone by yourself.
- The outdoor enthusiast will likely enjoy the variety that comes with different paths/trails, locations and adventure. With ease of taking pictures and documenting locations visited on mobile devices, runners may use this to motivate them to show off all the places they have run and challenges overcome.
- Those that travel frequently or can travel for the many weekend runs that are present in large and small cities, alike, are able to explore different paths, areas and scenery.
- The climate/weather may pose additional challenges that are welcomed by some, yet create limitations for others. For examples, those who prefer not to run in the snow yet live in a location with a winter season may decide not to run on those days of inclimate weather.
- Additionally, terrain may have the same outcome based on personal preference. Some will prefer to run on flat roads, some with minimal elevation changes, and some who always want to run on trails.
- Social interaction can be by yourself, with a partner, a group/team, or race environments.
What Is Your Running Type: Intensity and Duration?
Once the environment is determined from a standpoint of efficiency and effectiveness in all facets of the runner’s life, the preference in the type of running will likely surface, if not already a goal. In the early months of a workout regime, the beginner will likely find their niche in the running world; something that feels natural. Those running regularly, up to everyday, will likely focus on one of three different types of running or training. Given the workout environment, these types can be modified and calibrated to allow for the desired workout. Below I have listed three types that focus on intensity and duration of the primary running plan. Like the environment, most will most generally have some combination of the running type.
- High Intensity / Short Duration (HI/SD)
- This type of workout will generally fall in the category of 1K to 5K.
- Runners may additionally mix strength training into their weekly routines, trying to build muscle groups for speed over endurance.
- Low Intensity / Long Duration (LI/LD)
- This type of workout will encompass longer distance running, up to and exceeding marathon lengths.
- Runners find themselves pushing further and further as time progresses to achieve the desired lengths of the run.
- Mixes of the first two types of running will likely suffice the runner who enjoys the run as part of their cardio portion of their workout regime.
- Additionally, interval runners can mix facets of both the HI/SD and the LI/LD for those looking to have an all around running workout and test their ability to run on all fronts of the activity.
What Is Your Current Diet?
It is important to understand your current diet, as well as future needs, when modifying exisiting levels of exercise. Nutrition will be important weather your running environment is indoor or outdoor, in addition to your running style. Diet and meal planning throughout the day and weeks are just as important as the pre and post food consumption.
- Maintaining a nutrient rich diet can enhance the running experience by replacing those burned with the differing activity levels.
- Set standards for when to eat and what to eat based upon given running environments and running types. Knowing when to eat is just as important as what to eat.
- Running prior to consumption of food in the morning, can more effectively burn fat, when replace with protein and nutrient rich foods within the first hour after running.
- Hydration is of utmost importance with an activity based lifestyle. Running is no different and there are a few standards to go by, but no hard and fast rules. A general rule-of-thumb is for a person to drink half of their body weight (lbs.) in ounces. Additionally, many produce can be used as hydration and offset the amount of water to drink.
Conclusion – Fitness and Nutritional Tools
There are a few applications that I use in my daily life to track and manage my Running Environment, Type, and Diet.
- My Fitness Pal – is an application by Under Armour and is a social networking app, that additonally allows the user to track their daily consumption through their extensive list of grocery products (even barcode scannable). You can enter in your own recipies, look up, share, and log others from the community. The app sets goals for exercise, diet plans, and weight; the user can connect with freinds & family, sharing a newsfeeds and progress alike. The app can enter workouts or sync with a variety of fitness/workout apps, including Activity by Apple.
- Activity – is an application by Apple and is primarily used with the Apple Watch, where most owners see their daily progress for Standing, Moving and Exercise. This tracks through GPS, many activities, to include: location, duration, and intensity. With the app sending information to My Fitness Pal, the calories burned automatically show up and adjust your daily goals for Calories, Nutrition, and Macro.
Although focused on the Beginner, this format can be used as a starting point for any runner that finds themselves wanting a change or that they are stuck in a rut. The first step of building your running plan is to write down the patterns of anticipated running, as they pertain to Environment, Style and Diet. Get those set and use others in the running fellowship to bounce ideas off from. Then, start the path with goals in mind…start on paper if you feel more comfortable, but know that there are thousands of applications and tools to facilitate and organize Your Running World.