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Running to fitness

It can be tough for runners to maintain their levels of motivation at this time of year. Dark nights, festive parties, big family get togethers. These factors all combine to dent even the most ardent runner’s mojo.

While all the desire to go running has to come from you, one way of keeping motivated to run is to vary your running activities.

Whether you are a treadmill fan or an outdoor running nut, you might have been following the same running routine for months. You might run at the same pace mile after mile. Do you pull on your training shoes with a weary air of ‘here we go again? If you are getting bored with your training then that is a clear signal that you need to vary things a bit.

Exercise equipment

There is no doubting the benefits of running. It is one of the best ways to lose weight, and you don’t have to run marathons or sprint up hills, it is all about finding ways of running that best suits you.

However, if you run the same distance, at the same pace every week, then the chances are that your body will not get the benefits of running because it has adapted to the exercises and so will not improve further, and you will start to hate every session through sheer boredom.

Follow our guidelines and you’ll see how a few simple changes to your routine could make a huge difference to your attitude towards running and help you improve your fitness levels.

• Put your body under stress. Your fitness will plateau if you always do the same workout, so change something, whether it is your route, your distance and/or your speed.
• Add variety to each work out. Do one long, steady-paced run; make another session a speed session or add a Fartlek session – involving fast and slow running. By mixing the speeds, you will kick start your metabolism into burning calories at a higher rate and your muscles will have to work harder to cope with the demands, so you will improve both your strength and endurance.
• Do not fall into the trap of running every day. This will lead to exhaustion and injury. Add different activities to your weekly routine, such as spin, rowing, boxercise class or a fitness circuit. This will exercise different muscle groups, improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn extra calories without overloading tendons and joints. Check out our short exercise busts winter fitness schedule.

What are the benefits of running?

• If it is weight loss you are seeking, then running is an excellent way of shifting the kilos. In the first few weeks of your running program you will lose weight quite rapidly, as long as you are controlling the calorie intake.
• Running also helps improve bone density, so you will be less prone to osteoporosis in old age.
• Regular exercise, such as running, will help you stay fit and healthy and free from diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

And these are the other benefits to be gained from running. Running allows your mind to relax, you will feel less stressed and the endorphins released during running will leave you feeling happier.