Running: Planning Is the Key to Performance
By Mylène Poirier
So you’ve decided to sign up for a running event, maybe a fund-raiser like À vos masques, prêts, bougez! ? If you haven’t done so yet, it is now time start your preparatory training. But first, you need to plan your training sessions in order to progressively get yourself ready while reducing the risk of injury.
In case Mother Nature doesn’t feel like helping out, you can always turn to your treadmill. However, since running on a treadmill is usually easier because there is no wind to contend with, you might want to raise the gradient a degree or two to simulate outdoor conditions. Doing so will facilitate the transition from the treadmill when you go running outside. That being said, if you’re a beginner, you might want to wait until you’re comfortable on the treadmill before raising the gradient.
Feel free to vary the gradient if want to put some variety into your training or if you want to ready yourself for outings over hilly terrain. Beware: avoid exceeding 7% gradient or running on an incline for longer than five minutes. The resulting pressure on your back, hips and legs, especially your calves and Achilles tendons could lead to some serious injuries. You will achieve better results by alternating between different gradients during your training sessions.
A few things to consider while training:
- Start each session with a five to ten-minute activation period and end it with a few flexibility exercises. Think about integrating a few exercises to work on your techniques whenever you go out running.
- To achieve optimal performance, you must run three to four times a week.
- Perform at least one sustained running session per week.
- Perform no more than two interval training sessions. Be aware that interval training puts more strain on your body and thus requires more rest.
- Allow yourself at least one full day of rest per week, with just a few stretching exercises. That day of rest should ideally follow your week’s most demanding training session, that is, the interval training session.
- Include two muscular training sessions per week. One of those can be combined with one of your running sessions.
- Once a week, do some other exercise other than running. Swimming, for instance, is an excellent complement that helps relax your muscles and articulations. Vary your training program so you won’t lose your motivation!
- To safely work your way towards your objectives, increase the total distance of your running sessions by about 10% each week. In terms of duration, the rule of thumb consists in adding one minute to each outing, at most.
To get a suitable running-specific muscular training program, talk to a professional.