With all the talk this week about the Boston Marathon, and the fact that it seems to be “running season,” with marathons and fundraising 5K or 10K races being held across the country and around the world during the Spring season, it may make you consider taking up running, or pushing your current running routine to the next level. Jogging, running, and long distance running are all great ways to increase endurance, improve cardiovascular health, lose weight, and tone up. Which type of running is best suited to your workout style? Let’s check out the options.
Your Running Commitment:
1. Casual or recreational runner. You have many varied kinds of workouts, and running happens to be one of them. You may sign up for the occasional race just to see how you do. You may like to run on the treadmill at the gym, or go to the local track to get in several laps as part of your overall workout regimen. You’re not so worried with besting your time, or competing with others, you simply know that running is a great workout and include it when the mood strikes.
2. Marathoner or sprinter. If there’s a race nearby, you’re in it. You are often found competing in your favorite races year after year. Running is your sport, and you have all the gear, the best shoes, pay attention to your time and/or distance and are constantly trying to improve both, and will faithfully hit the pavement in sun, rain, wind, or cold in order to train for the next race or meet.
3. Trail or cross country runner. You like to get out in nature and run. Even though you may not run long distances, your runs are usually fairly challenging because you’re dealing with many different kinds of terrain. This type of running may give you a more vigorous workout, depending on the area you run in (lots of hills? a sandy beach?).
Different Kinds of Running Workouts:
There are lots of ways to train when you run that can not only help you improve, but also keep the routine from becoming boring. Most serious runners train using several of the following types of running:
- Interval, which is when you vary your speed for set times during one run (one minute slow jogging, three minutes moderate, for example)
- Base, which is running at your normal speed, often several times a week
- Recovery, which is a short, easy-paced run
- Long, which covers a great distance and is meant to build up endurance
While all forms and styles of running are ultimately beneficial to your health, you will find that certain types suit you more than others. You may start of as a casual runner, but your first charity 5k gives you the competition bug. Or, you may like to train by combining different running workouts to improve your speed, endurance, lung capacity, etc. If you are using your workouts to help build your body’s natural levels of Human Growth Hormone, interval training will help as it has been shown that high intensity intervals boost HGH production. No matter what kind of runner you turn out to be, you don’t have to compete in the Boston (or any other) Marathon to experience positive health benefits from this popular form of exercise. Best of all, all you really need to become a runner is a good pair of shoes!