Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne,EdgecliffMarrickville,Bella Vista, Randwick, Lindfield and Balmain ask Accredited Exercise Physiologist and elite runner, Georgia to share her tips on starting a running program.

For some, the idea of running can be daunting. Those people will often say, “ I can’t run because I don’t have the body type for it” ,or ,  “if I start running I will end up with bad knees”. Its time to blow those misconceptions out of the water. It is never too late to start. Running can be extremely empowering and it is a great convenient form of high intensity aerobic exercise that you can do straight from your doorstep. Not only that, it has a fantastic effect on our heart health, bone mineral density and mental wellbeing.

If you have never picked up a pair on running shoes in your life, or you have just been on a bit of a running hiatus, there is no reason you can’t implement a safe return to running program. The number one thing is to monitor our increase in load. As a general rule, increase your total km/ week by no more than 10%. It is also important to implement a resistance program to strengthen our muscles and protect our joints, so we are at less risk of developing running related injuries. Be sure to include some single leg work. When we run we absorb and generate a lot of force in a single leg stance, so we need to be strong in this position!

Our Exercise Physiologist Georgia has over 10years experience as an elite middle distance runner. At the height of her career, Georgia placed 3rd at the IAAF world junior championships in the women’s 800m. Georgia has had her fair share of setbacks due to injury and has extensive experience in building back to running safely following injury. The principles Georgia has learnt through her own rehab apply to runners of all abilities. Below are some sessions Georgia suggests starting with no matter what level of experience you have running.

  1. Walk/run

Rather than starting with a 5km run straight of the bat, breaking it up with a walk is a great way to gradually increase our fitness whilst protecting us from developing overuse injuries.

  • For example, start with a 4minute walk, 1 minute run x 6 (30minutes total.) Then over the coming weeks, slowly reduce the walking time and increase the running time until you can build up to doing 30minutes of running.
  1. Intervals

Interval training is a type of training which involves short periods of high intensity effort alternated with less intensive recovery periods or rest. Intervals are a great idea for beginner runners who have difficulty running for extended periods of time, but are also key sessions that many elite athletes use to increase their V02max (maximal amount of oxygen a person can utilise during intense exercise) and lactate threshold. Depending on your current fitness level, you can play around with the work: recovery ratio and intensity of the effort. Try some of these staple interval workouts.

  • 400m repeats. Try 6x400m with 2minutes stationary recovery. Overtime you can build the reps or reduce the rest to 60seconds for more aerobic benefit.
  • 1km repeats. Try 3x1km repeats with 3minutes rest. Same principle applies as above, you can either increase number of reps or reduce rest as you progress.
  • A Swedish term that means “speed play”, fartlek running involves varying your pace through your run, between faster segments and slow jogs. For example, try a 20minute run where you alternate between 2minutes of faster running, 2 minutes jogging. Again, you can play around with the work: recovery periods as you progress.
  1. Longer recovery runs

Interval training is a great way to improve our fitness, but it also takes a toll on our body. The faster we run, the more force our bones, muscles and tendons must absorb. Be sure to break up your interval training with some easy recovery runs. Pick a pace that you feel you could run forever! Be sure to include 2-3 in your week. Its always a good idea to have a complete rest day as well.

With these sessions, make sure you modify them to suit your ability. If you have never run before, just start with the run/walks before you begin to incorporate the interval sessions. Remember the golden rule, no more than 10% increase in volume each week. If you feel like you need some more guidance with programming, don’t hesitate to book in with one of our exercise physiologist to help get you started.

Sometimes the hardest part of running is getting out the door and getting started So, make sure you write down a plan, set yourself some SMART goals and hold yourself accountable.

Happy running!

Call Longevity to talk to an Exercise Physiologist and get an individualised running plan that is right for your body and fitness levels.

1300 964 002

Written By Georgia Wassall