Going for a run today? Good for you!
People run for loads of reasons:
- General improvement in health / cv fitness
- Helps to work through things in your head
- Get away from your family for 30 mins
- Being chased by a bear
All of these are perfectly valid.
If you're heading out today, and usually maintain a steady pace the whole way round, that's fine and certainly has more benefits than not going for a run.
But here's something to try, to A: add a bit more excitement to your excursion and B: challenge you in a different way, and therefore provide a bigger health kick...
Add some sprints to your run.
It doesn't need to take longer than you had planned to go for, in fact, you may end up being out for less time, but being more tired and having worked harder.
Ways to try this (once you've warmed up a bit - don't go straight into these cold, as you're more liable to pull/strain something):
- If you're in a park, sprint to one tree, walk to the next, sprint to the next and keep alternating - it doesn't matter if the trees are spaced irregularly, in fact that will keep you (and your body) on its toes
- On the road, apply the same logic to lamp posts or bins. Start with just 10 sets of these, and add two or more the next time you go out
- No markers like the above? Sprint for 20 paces, then walk for 10 - repeat this 10 times if you're just starting out, or feel free to increase the sprint time if you're up to it
- Or handily, there are some apps that will time 30 second intervals (or however long you fancy, if that's too long) and tell you this in your headphones
Why am I recommending this?
Think about when you drive a car. If you accelerate and brake really aggressively, you burn loads of fuel.
However if you accelerate and brake carefully, you'll be much more fuel efficient.
And it's the same with your body, but in this instance, we generally want to burn more fuel, quicker.
The body is amazing at working efficiently and conserving energy, which is why you don't burn thousands of calories when you go for a long, steady-state run.
But get the heart rate up and down, and you'll burn through loads more than usual AND you'll continue to burn calories at a higher rate.
CAVEAT! Before starting a sprint programme, or changing your exercise routine, consult your GP.
And if you would like to know more about building some sprints into your life, reply here and I'll happily talk this through in more detail.
Matt "run, Forrest, run!" Boyles