I’ve been running since I was age 13. When I started track in Middle School, I wanted to be a sprinter (I wasn’t), enjoyed running the 800 m, agreed to run the 1-mile, ran the 2-mile under duress, and refused cross country.
I’ve continued running mid-distance for … well a long time. And in my opinion, two to three miles is enough for a regular routine. You break a sweat, breathe hard and work your muscles. If you run (not jog), you even get the endorphin kick with time left over for a few abdominal and upper body strength training exercises. With an occasional 5k in the calendar, it's perfect! But that’s me.
There has been an explosion in the number of people running 10k, half and full marathons and triathlons. This trend has been dubbed a marathon mania in the US. Suffice it to say, there are many training programs out there for beginners and high achievers.
Here are a four we thought worth mentioning:
As its name implies, the Couch to 5k is for people new to running; it starts out with walking/jogging. Our #1 piece of advice for someone running their first race is “go out slow – your goal for your first race should be to finish”.
- Training with a cause and destination, Team in Training offers programs for a variety of races including running, biking and hiking with a built-in network of coaches and teammates – a great motivational community.
- Runner’s World offers 12 different half marathon training programs depending upon your level and/or time goals. Their site has lots of good information about training programs, gear and races. Looking for a local race in Ohio? We recommend searching www.runohio.com.
- For general fitness, P90X (recently trumped by Insanity) requires an investment of time and money, and is designed for those who are serious about sculpting their body. Be prepared to commit a minimum of an hour every day, for 90 days. The DVDs cover strength, cardio and flexibility, with an emphasis on strength. Resistance bands are really the only piece of equipment you’ll need (and space to stretch, lunge and jump), but we found the pull-up bar useful too. Caution: this program is designed for those who are already reasonably fit.