Beginner Running Routine

We’re having a relatively mild winter and many of you have come in with questions about how you can supplement your classes outdoors with a beginner running routine. The following is based on NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) standards.

The key to reaching your fitness goals is to push your limits (stress your body), while also staying healthy (avoiding injury). This program provides a Base Run – designed to build endurance and allow for active recovery, as well as an Interval Run – designed to increase your overall fitness levels.

For simplicity’s sake we will have three intensity levels: low, medium and high. This beginner plan includes only low and medium intensities. “Intensity” will be vary on an individual basis, but it can be measured subjectively or objectively – depending on what equipment you have available.

I’ll show you how to measure intensity (or exertion) below, but first, here are the two workouts you’ll be completing. Space them out so that you are running more or less every other day with a day off in between.

  1. Base Run: 30 to 60 Minutes at low intensity
  2. Interval Run: 5 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 3 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 3 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 5 minutes at low intensity (for a total of 25 minutes).

In order to complete these workouts, you are going to somehow have to gauge the intensity at which you are working. You can do so in two ways. One requires equipment and is probably more precise. The other does not require equipment, but can be just as functional.

  1. If you have a heart rate monitor, low intensity will equal 65% of Heart Rate Max; medium intensity will equal 80-85% of Heart Rate Max. A quick and easy way to get a general idea of your Heart Rate Max is to take (220 – your age) and multiply that number by the percentage you’d like to reach.
    • For example, if you are 35 years old and you want to do the Base Run at 65%, you’d be trying to keep your heart rate around 120 BPM. (220-35) x 65%
  2. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you can go by perceived exertion. During a low intensity workout, you will want to be able to run at a pace that allows you to feel your body to feel warm, but also at which you could keep up a conversation. During a medium intensity interval, you would want conversation to be possible, but rather difficult. You should be breathing more heavily than during your low intensity stage. When you get past the beginner stage and into high intensity workouts, you want conversation to be impossible.

Running requires repetitive motion in one plane of motion. You’ll notice that as your heart and lungs become stronger, your muscles will tighten up as well, make sure you maintain proper muscle balance by adequately foam rolling (before or after you run) and stretching (after you run).

If you’d like a walk through of exactly how this beginner running program works, sign up for a membership and come on in to open gym.

A Couple of Useful Resources

Heart Rate Calculator

NASM Stage Training

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