Is Your Running Plan Appropriate for You?

People love to run.

The Boston and New York City Marathons usually attract over 25,000 people to their races. Unfortunately running can be a risky and debilitating activity due to the impact it puts on the body and the lack of understanding and implementation of smart programming. Running haphazardly is detrimental and can lead to serious long-term injury. Running long, done correctly, can be a great activity, a fat loss tool, a fun primitive movement and an endorphin creating sport. Keeping the body strong and balanced, and how you progress, plan and program your runs are important parts to keeping the body safe, injury free and functionally sound.

More: How to Train for Your First Half Marathon

In regards to actual running specifics, I have laid out some important base lines to follow.

1. Know your level. Beginners should never increase their mileage from week to week over 10 percent. This is a recipe for disaster, overuse injury and chronic pain. Beginners should run the same mileage for two weeks in a row before increasing mileage. Advanced athletes should always know their running volumes each month. Look at the bigger picture more so than a week by week basis. If you run 100 miles this month, increase the next month by 30 percent. This allows you to follow the weekly 10 percent rule with some variance but will also allow for a recovery week mixed into the month as well. The same goes for athletes who perform sprint work in their programs. Modify the repetitions according to your specific level. Two athletes might perform 6 x 40 yard sprints, while the another three athletes perform eight. And then the following week each athlete will increase their sprint repetitions by 2 to continue progressing without overtraining. 

More: Spice Up Your Sprint Workout

2. Do not let volume be the sole determinant of your program. When we start to focus on "more volume, more volume," we let ourselves get carried away on running loads more so than running efficiency. Focused running is more important than long useless mileage. Depending on the goal will dictate the running volume that is needed. Longer endurance events (half marathons and higher) need more aerobic work than shorter events (1 mile – 10k). But these "shorter" events will still need aerobic foundation to maximize fitness. The key is to not overtrain and allow overuse to creep up because then you cannot train and improve. Make sure you are logging workouts to assess your volume week-by-week, month-by-month and year-by-year.

More: Train for the Boston Marathon

About the Author

Justin Levine is a fitness specialist and triathlon coach in Visalia, California. He is the owner of California Fitness Academy and president of The Visalia Triathlon Club. His philosophy is to enhance an individual's functional movement, posture and dynamic flexibility to maximize triathlon performance. You can email Justin at justinlevine03@hotmail.com or read his e-book, The Complete Triathlete, at justintrain.com.

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