Cycling – gateway to running for beginners
There is a explosion of marathon races in India. Almost every city has marathon events and races these days. Thousands of people participate in these marathons. Some of them do training properly and some of them never train but just run for the sake of it. Lot of people want to adopt to running as a lifestyle or a hobby. If you want to become a good runner start slow and steady. Even though you are just a recreational runner, you still need to train properly. In the beginning invest your time on these.
Run Less in initial days of running. Invest more on learning the sport. Later you can jack up the miles. If you are fit and strong, you can run as much as you want.
Learn Proper Warm -Up – most of the recreational runners never to do good warm up. When I look at the warm up of a competitive runner or a professional runner, they always spend good time to warm themselves up. Investing in learning proper warm up helps you loosen your joints and muscles to do more rigorous work. It also helps in elevating your heart rate.
Learn running drills and stride – Invest time on learning important running drills. Running drills help you to learn to run the right way. When you run with proper stride and foot landing, running becomes effortless. When running is effortless then there is less chance of injury. There are some 10 most important running drills, learn them and always do them before the run.
Strength training – the more the strength, the faster you can run. Most of the beginners ignore strength training. They think that running is an escape from strength training. Training the entire body for strength is important. Exercises like squats, lunges, calf raises, push ups, mountain climbers and core exercises will help you to become strong and hold proper form while running.
Cycling as cross training – Cycling is one of the best way to train for running. I would suggest for a beginner to do cycling every alternate day for one hour or 2 hour. Cycling helps build lots of endurance without risking yourself for injury. You can keep working your heart at low intensity with cycling. This will help you loose lot of extra weight by burning calories for a longer time. Alternate day cycling for three to four months will be a great platform to step into running more kilometers injury free.
Barefoot walking – everyone who wants to start running forgets that they have been just walking or sitting for all those years. Apart from that they forget that they have been using shoes or chappals to roam around everywhere. All these lead to weak foot muscles. So when start suddenly running on tar roads, these weak foot muscles and tendons are bound to get injured. Running in shoes will not strengthen your foot muscles. You need to walk barefoot on mud or grass surface to train your foot muscles. These muscles will get strengthen over a period of 6 months and the arches in your foot will become strong. Your foot is what is going to get hammered on to those tar roads thousands of time. So investing time in strengthening your foot will be useful in long term life in running.
Stretching and flexibility exercises – another most ignored part of training is stretching. Investing 15 to 20 mins after your training in these exercises will help you relax your muscles and help them recover faster. The more flexible you are the more effortless your running will be. The more relaxed your stride will be and more distance will get covered in the same effort.
The entire objective of the above mentioned training is to prepare your body and foot for the high impact sport of running or jogging. In the initial days don’t run on hard tar roads. Run mostly on ground and mud surface. This will help you to prepare yourself for road running. If you invest your 6 months into training systematically as mentioned above, there is whole lot you will be able to do in the world of running and save yourself from injuries.
Your weekly program can be something like this,
Day 1 – warm up, strength and barefoot walking for 15 mins
Day 2 – cycling for 45 mins
Day 3 – warm up, jogging/waling for 20 mins, barefoot walking for 15 mins and stretching exercises
Day 4 – cycling for 60 mins
Day 5 – warm up, jogging/waling for 20 mins, barefoot walking for 15 mins and stretching exercises
Day 6 – cycling for 70 mins
And this can continue to build up….
Dr Amit Samarth
Be your own Hero…!