Where Can I Find the Best Running Routine?
Summer may be long gone by now, but that’s not going to stop the hardcore from getting outside to knock out their runs. It also means plenty of people are hitting up Google to see what the best running routines are prior to lacing up their shoes before the real bad weather gets here. Interestingly, from a keyword perspective, the only thing searched more often than best running routines is best free running routines. If you’re scouring the internet for free workout routines, just be careful: you get what you pay for. Make sure the advice you get isn’t coming from an amateur.
With that being said, there is no such thing as the best running routine. For instance, if you don’t take into account the need for recovery and eating enough whole food, then the best training plan in the world won’t help. Along with recovery come the concepts of training intensity (how hard you work), training volume (how much distance you cover), flexibility training, and any work you may do on your weaknesses (stride length, arm drive, etc). The magic happens when you find a program that allows you to adequately adapt over time and forces you to become a better runner. That’s why it’s important to find a qualified health professional to assemble a proper training program based on your strengths and weaknesses, along with your willingness to commit.
If you decide to go at it on your own, good luck. Many runners do well in the short term, but we’re talking longevity here. I’ve come across too many runners with poor mobility, bad knees, and chronic back pain because all they want to do is run and neglect everything else.
In order to excel at your sport and still have quality of life, these are the specific things that go into a good training plan:
- GPP work before initial training (what we call the general preparatory period)
- Distance covered per week
- Alterations in intensity (LSD work, Fartlek training, intervals, hills, sprints, sled work, etc.)
- Mobility work
- Performance nutrition
- Strength training program
Strength training is crucial to any runner’s success. Some runners may balk at this, but they’re just ill informed. Strength training can enhance what’s called rate of force development – meaning that you will spend less energy to propel your body forward (1). Strength training improves your running economy, which will allow you to decrease your energy expenditure by 5% and that translates into a 3.8% decrease in race time (2).
Your best bet is to commit two days a week of resistance training along with your running plan. This means that you’ll have to cut down on the running volume, but the strength training will be a huge investment. As far as the running goes, I suggest reading how to find a good marathon program.
Seem a bit overwhelming? It should. Getting good at running is a skill like anything else, and just because you have a neighborhood to run around at your free will doesn’t mean that it should be taken lightly.
1. Turner, Anthony Nicholas. “Training the Aerobic Capacity of Distance Runners: A Break From Tradition.” (2011) Strength and Conditioning Journal 33;2, 39-42
2.Paavolainen, L. Hakkinen, K., et al. “Explosive Strength Training Improves 5-km Running Time by Improving Running Economy and Muscle Power” (1999) Journal of Applied Physiology 86, 1527-1533