Running tips for the intermediate runner

Running tips for the intermediate runner

Photography courtesy of David Eggleston Image by: Photography courtesy of David Eggleston Author: Canadian Living


Running tips for the intermediate runner

You've done a handful of short races, but they were years ago. You already live an active lifestyle, but you're just not a serious runner – yet. With some focus and consistent training, you can rock a strong 10K.

Don't skip rest days. You will be tempted to run more often, push harder and go farther once you've gotten more fit, but rest is a key part of any running regimen. "Include one or two rest days a week," says Hayley McGowan, a personal trainer at Sweat Co. Workout Studios in Vancouver.

Take note of your heart rate. Start by monitoring your resting heart rate over the course of three days and then calculating the average. ("[Measure] right when you wake up in the morning," says McGowan.) Wear a heart-rate monitor during your runs, and estimate your target heart rate by subtracting your age from 220, then multiplying by 0.7 and adding your resting heart rate back on. Knowing your rate will help you train in your aerobic zone, where your body is functioning optimally.

Don't overtrain. "Pay attention to your heart rate and whether it's what it should be," says McGowan. For example, if you can normally run at a nine-minute-mile pace without feeling fatigue but you now are only able to consistently sustain a 12-minute-mile pace at the same heart rate, you may be overtraining.

Don't run too fast during your long runs. "If you're constantly going fast, you won't be improving your aerobic capacity. The idea is to produce speed and power aerobically [e.g., during your tempo runs] so you can run faster and longer," says McGowan. Use the talk test: For long runs, you should be able to have a conversation; for your shorter, faster tempo runs, you should be able to say a few sentences; and for your speed intervals, just a few words.

Track your progress. Try a GPS watch or a running app such as Nike+ Running App or RunKeeper, or log your distance and time (and any other info, such as the weather and running shoes you wore) in a notebook.

Find a running buddy.
That person can keep you motivated and accountable. "There will be days when one of you will want to go out and the other won't, and you'll push each other to go," says McGowan.

10K training plan (10 weeks):
Week 1 of 10

Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: 35-minute
variable run*
Wednesday: Strength training
Thursday: 5K easy run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5K easy run
Sunday: Rest

Running Regimen
For your variable run,* complete speed work, a tempo run or hill training. After Week 5, increase your run on Thursdays to 7K, says Amaral. For your long Saturday run, add 1K each week up to Week 8 when you'll reach 12K. Taper in Week 9 to 7K. Week 10 is your 10K race goal.

Noreen Flanagan, age 49 (ran the Sporting Life 10K; you might recognize her –
she's Elle Canada's editor-in-chief)

"I wanted to go from being a casual three-to-five-kilometre jogger to someone who could pound the pavement for 10 kilometres – and raise money for a good cause at the same time. I quickly learned that the biggest hurdle isn't physical; it's mental. I acted (and ran) like it were impossible to fail, and it was."

Keep it up, you'll be an expert runner in no time. For now, don't get get to keep hydrated and fuelled

This story was originally titled "We'll Get You to the Finish Line" in the September 2013 issue.

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Running tips for the intermediate runner