I used to believe you could just go out and get it done, no matter how far, and without worrying too much about injuries. Truth is, I was WRONG, flat out. It takes time to build up your distance without causing other injuries, and many preventative measures. Let me tell you what I’ve found to help the most, to keep you motivated and on the road to fitness and constant fat loss:
Warm-up: Depending on the distance you plan on running, this is very important, as well as a cool down. For shorter distances and at a slow pace, a walk will do, leading into your jog. For longer or faster planned exercises, a 5-10 minute warm-up, followed by a light stretch should be mandatory. A warm-up can be anything that elevates your heartbeat above normal and begins to loosen the muscles you’re going to be using. This will keep you from getting minor injuries, or having minor injuries turning into major ones.
Stretch: This is very important to avoid most injuries. Do not stretch without 1st warming up, and make sure the stretch lasts 35-50 seconds.
I’ve run distances up to 13.5 miles and during my recovery this is what I am doing now, and my plan going forward. If you’re just starting out give this a try to avoid doing too much strain and/or injuries so that you can last more than a few weeks in your new program: I have a route around my house that’s 2.5 miles.
Week 1– walk for 5 minutes, jog for 2 minutes, throughout 2.5 mile distance. That gets my heart pumping, gives me more than 30 minutes of activity and eases my legs into distance running while breaking up the pounding my knees and ankles take……. Done Tuesday and Friday
Week 2– walk 1/2 mile, jog 1/4 mile, throughout 2.5 mile distance. This increases both the walk time and jog time in some cases, but keeps it close and because you’re doing it another day, your muscle endurance increases a little…….Done Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Week 3– walk 4 minutes, jog 2.5 minutes. Tuesday and Friday
Week 4– walk 1/4 mile, jog 1/4 mile. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Week 5– walk 3 minutes, jog 3 minutes. Tuesday and Friday
Week 6– walk 1/4 mile, jog 1/2 mile. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
This is what I am doing, based on my past and my injury. If you feel stronger after a few weeks, do what you feel strong enough to do. You can see I’m taking it slow but you can see that there is a pattern. On weeks I run for 2 days, I run more, and on weeks I run 3 days, I run less, but there are more days so the muscle endurance is worked.
If your attempt is to lose weight by doing cardio, mix it up, do cardio a few days a week and on alternate days do squats and lunges to build the muscles you’re using. Fat will melt off and you won’t look like a pole.