Admit it, you often have a good excuse to avoid going out for a run: it's too hot, too cold, you don't have enough time, your feet ache, no one is motivated, etc. But this time, let's do it right: after the summer holidays, the plan is to make a fresh start by running regularly!So, how do you go about it?
1. What Does it Mean to Run Regularly?
In theory, being regular means completing or accomplishing something at regular intervals. So, you may argue that you are running on a regular basis if you always run at the same time, once a month? In reality, if you do not practise your sport at least once a week, it is unlikely that you will see any benefit or observe any progress. It's like claiming to eat vegetables regularly when you eat them every other Saturday, when you are not in the kitchen: it's unlikely that you will feel the effect on your body…
When running, regularity means running several times a week, every week. Committed runners will be putting on their trainers 2 to 4 times a week. But everyone has their own pace, so it's up to you to find the pace that suits you best and fits into your diary.
2. Running Regularly in Order to Improve
It may never have occurred to you to run a marathon or try to shave off a few seconds on your route. However, you probably would like to learn how to run for longer, feel less out of breath, improve your speed or even feel better while running. This is what running regularly can achieve.
Running is an endurance sport. So it requires frequent exercise in order to see results. It's better to run once a week, each week, than to run three times one week and not run at all the following week. It's only through repeated exercise that your body will be able to cope with the effort made and get used it. Improving also means challenging yourself sometimes by driving your body to surpass itself.
As for the frequency, if you want to see results, running 3 times a week is ideal, i.e. almost every other day, in order to give your body time to recover. Avoid running on several successive days, as your runs will be more effective if you space them out (e.g. 2 times on weekdays and once at the weekend).
3. Running Regularly to Lose Weight
You have decided to lose weight by running. Great, that's a good start! However, bear in mind that running is not sufficient in and of itself. Your primary objective must be to maintain a good state of health by combining your training with a balanced diet: this will help you to lose weight effectively in the long-term.
Losing weight means expending more calories than you consume. Try to run 2 to 3 times a week at a moderate pace. If you are not used to jogging, start with a few 15-minute sessions and gradually increase your running time until you are running for 40 – 45 minutes. If you run every week, you will see that you will naturally lose weight and you will be surprised how quickly!
Bear in mind that the weight shown on the scales should be treated cautiously: a more accurate measure is how you feel physically or the change in the sizes of the clothing you're wearing. Indeed, if you start to run regularly, you will start to build muscle and tone your body. Your body shape will change and you should keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, so your weight will not decrease as quickly as you would like! This doesn't mean that you are not losing weight...
4. Finding the Motivation to Run Regularly
Yes, I want to run regularly, but how should I go about it? Your everyday life is already very busy and, clearly, running is not a priority. And what if it became essential for ensuring your well-being? When seen from this point of view, it is highly likely that you will devote some time to running.
The ideal solution is to make a note of your jogging outings in your diary in advance. This forces you to set yourself a challenging running schedule, choose the most suitable days for running and stick to it.
Another idea: finding a regular running companion for your outings. This will force you to stick to a schedule while also benefiting from the motivation that you can give each other.
From time to time, you may suffer from a significant lack of motivation or fitness. Don't give up, but do not push yourself too hard if you do not feel up to it. Listen to what your body is telling you and don't overdo it!