Pace yourself

Up and running? Here are six steps to establishing a routine

John O’Regan passes on his running tips.

BY ITS NATURE, a one size fits all plan will not suit everyone but with a little tweaking you should be able to tailor any plan to suit yourself by simply swapping training days with rest days.

However, you should still try to follow a pattern that does not mean bunching all of your training days together followed by all your rest days as too many rest days will mean losing the training effect.

Start by finding the days and times that suit you best and, if they work, then keep them.

  • Use your time wisely. If possible you should try fit in your session at the first available opportunity as it lessens the chance of something unexpected happeing later requiring a change of plan.
  • Remember there are no set rules to what you do or when you do it but don’t be tempted to run every day even if you have the available time. An excess of anything can be harmful. Rest is an important part of the training cycle and rest days must be included as part of your routine.
  • It might take a week or two to work out the times and days that suit you best and when you find windows of opportunity that fit into your day then claim them for you. It may mean sacrificing one of the soaps or a favourite TV programme but you can always record that for later.
  • Fuelling up before you head out is not as important as refuelling when you return. You don’t need to eat in advance. Waiting for food to digest can also eat into your available time not to mention the food preparation time. By the time your food has settled you could be out and back.
  • Refuelling is relative to your energy expenditure and, for a beginner, you will probably need less than you realise. You might not even need anything in addition to your regular meals so don’t be tempted to start downing a 500ml sports drink or packet of biscuits. Water will probably be enough.
  • Cross training and active recovery can be used to fill in the gaps in your routine once it’s anything other than running. Try going for an easy walk, cycle or even a swim but don’t look for a workout in everything you do.

It’s advisable to consult with your doctor before starting on any new exercise routine if starting from a base of zero fitness and years of inactivity.

John O’Regan is a renowned adventure runner and the Life Style Sports Run in the Dark’s expert coach. Follow him on Twitter: @johnoregan777. He is available an online Q&A every Monday – starting September 22 – from 8-9pm on the event’s Facebook Page to answer training related questions.

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