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Improving running stamina and overall fitness

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    I want to work on improving my running stamina and overall fitness over the forthcoming weeks.
    I'm going to start going to the gym around 2 days a week (can't do much more because of education) and I was thinking how I should do it.
    I can't do the couch to 5k because that requires constant changes in speed and obviously if you're on a treadmill it's hard to keep changing speed.
    Do you think I should just start at a set time, set speed etc... and then every few days try and increase the duration or speed?
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    I think you should just shut up and get out and run. Nah seriously, stuff all the speed changing crap. All you need is motivation so just get out there and start running. And obviously when you get better, you'll be able to run further and at a faster speed... stop overthinking it so much. :|
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    I made this a few weeks ago for another forum and for a school project.

    Initial Runner
    If you have never ran before or you’re a bit rusty then this is the place to start. This will prepare your legs and joints for long distance running while also helping to build your muscles to increase stamina and speed.

    Monday- Brisk 15 minute walk and after this alternate between light jogging and walking for a further 15 minutes. After this, light jogging for 15 minutes at low speed.Brisk 10 minute walk followed by a 1 mile run. After this, light jogging for 15 minutes at low speed.Light jogging for 10 minutes breaking into a full jog for roughly 1 mile.

    Tuesday- Brisk 10 minutes walk followed by repetitions of walking and jogging. Jog for 3 minutes and walk for 2 minutes. This will help to build up stamina and teach your muscles the difference between running and walking.Brisk 5 minutes walk breaking into a 30 minute run at moderate speed. At this stage, speed is not important rather pace and strength.This day will involve hills; if none are available to you then I have found that ankle weights work just as well. Start on a flat surface with a light jog. This should continue up the hill at a constant speed. Once you reach the top, take a short break and walk back down the hill. It is important to run slowly as running on higher gradients can be damaging to the ligaments and joints. Walking down the hill is important as a lot of stress is placed on the foot as your weight pushes you forward and down the hill.

    Wednesday- Take this day to complete some light cardio work. If possible, step up and down steps or stairs in repetitions which will help the ankle joint get used to hard physical work. Do this for roughly 100 steps.Take this day to complete some light cardio work. Weight training is important along with agility. Using a skipping rope will add to lightness of foot and make running easier.


    Friday- jogging session should use light weights for added resistance and strength. I suggest 2kg hand weights along with ankle weights. This should help to increase strength while running. This session should involve a moderate speed, 1 mile run.

    SaturdayThis will be a mixed session. Run for ¾ of a mile then walk for ½ mile. Repeat this again and follow it with some light cycling.This will be the first long running session. You should run for roughly 1.5 miles IF YOU CAN. You may not have developed enough yet to complete this distance at a constant speed.This will be the first long running session. You should run for roughly 2 miles IF YOU CAN. You may not have developed enough yet to complete this distance at a constant speed.

    Beginner Runner
    After completing the initial runner phase you should move onto basic running. This can be mixed with the above basics with times and lengths changed for your personal skills. As many of your skills have been developed this phase is mainly about speed and durability. This can only be helped by increasing the lengths of runs and decreasing the time of runs. Your goal should be to complete up to 15 miles per week, and you should be able to complete a mile every 8 minutes after a couple of sessions.

    If you carry on with this schedule then you should be able to run long distances within a couple of months. This personally worked for me and I hope it works for you but obviously everyone’s bodies work differently and nothing can be guaranteed.

    Nutrition Guide

    I wish to show you some simple foods and tips to help your body prepare for exercise and also to recover after exercise. I have gathered these tips from various places and present them here for you.

    Nutrients- Muscles use two main fuels - carbohydrate and fat. Carbohydrates provide rapidly available energy and are therefore the most important energy source for short, intense exercise like sprinting. When exercising at full capacity, the energy requirement is so great and needed so quickly, that only carbohydrates can produce energy fast enough. The body stores limited amounts of carbohydrates - enough for approximately 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise. After this, if fat can't be converted to energy during high intensity exercise, the body becomes fatigued. The body can use fat for supplying energy during longer periods of exercise at a more moderate pace. For those people exercising to help lose weight, it's best to exercise for longer periods at a moderate level to burn fat, ie walking or jogging for longer than 30 minutes.

    Carbo-Loading- Athletes preparing for competition sometimes follow a 'carbo-loading' diet, which increases carbohydrate stores and their availability during an event. This can improve sports performance for these athletes and delay the onset of fatigue. Exercise time can be increased by 50 per cent following carbo-loading, which is extremely important for endurance athletes.

    Fluid Intake- Fluid intake is extremely important for exercise to prevent dehydration and to compensate for the loss in minerals and carbohydrates. Fluids should be consumed before and during long periods of exercise so choose a drink that you like and that satisfies your needs. Water is not the best choice. Salts will be lost during sweating and it's important to replace these. The addition of carbohydrate also provides fuel for the muscles, although too many carbohydrates are not good either. Isotonic drinks can be used for refuelling as they contain an ideal amount of carbohydrates. For rehydrating, hypotonic drinks are ideal as they also provide the body with a lot of fluid. Plan ahead what you will drink during exercise and drink small amounts regularly.

    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App


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Updated: June 27, 2012
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