Thursday, November 8, 2018

Kickstart the New Year With a New Running Habit

Whenever the end of the year rolls around, most of us feel equal parts happy and sad. Holiday weight can be a bummer, but there’s also no better time to start running than right now. 

Believe it or not, once you start running, pretty soon it will develop into a habit. It also doesn’t take all that long, despite what Stacy at work with the Apple Watch might have told you while she was gearing up for her last marathon. More importantly, anybody can start running. 

Maybe you’ve been putting it off because you feel like people would watch you. Perhaps, instead, you just keep meaning to do it and something else just keeps cropping up. We’ve all been there. Willpower is a handy tool to have in your arsenal, but there are less people who have it strongly than don’t. 

Willpower is also an excellent way of putting added stress on yourself, as though human beings don’t do that enough by default as it is. Furthermore, there are some days when you just can’t seem to make it out of the door without three shots of espresso in a travel mug. Those days are, maybe, not the best for running. 

The first step is, therefore, to forgive yourself on the days you feel more tired. Our bodies and our willpowers both have only a limited amount of resources to get us through the day. That’s why HIIT training routines are becoming more common than anything else. When you forgive yourself for missing a workout, you’re more likely to get back on the proverbial horse the very next day. 

The Science Behind the Runner’s High 

You might’ve rolled your eyes when overhearing runners talk about the high they get when they run. Perhaps they’ve mentioned that the rest of the world disappears when they run or that it helps them to clear their mind. However, there actually is such thing as an exercise high, and it’s all to do with feel-good brain chemicals. 

Indeed, science has proven that anytime your colleagues say they feel better after running, they actually do. Chemicals and endorphins such as dopamine serotonin, and endocannabinoids are released through high-intensity workouts such as sprint interval training. As a result, they give you a huge mood boost. 

Couch-to-5K: What’s it All About? 

Anyone who hasn’t run before but has been tempted to take it up, might have, at some point, been advised to try the Couch-to-5k challenge. This is an awesome way to get beginners up and running. After all, it was a plan that was exclusively designed to do just that. In just nine weeks, it will take you from the couch to running 5 km. Hence the name. 

Most importantly, all you need in order to start the plan is a good pair of running shoes that are comfortable as well as suitable for different types of weather. Once you have those, you can plan out a time of day in which to do the workout and even pick out a route. This way, you’re essentially pre-destined to keep going. 

But what about after the nine weeks are up? What then? 

Well, sprint interval training is a natural step forward. 

The Basics of Sprint Interval Training 

You’ve probably heard of HIIT exercises at some point. Particularly so over the last couple of years. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and it pretty much means going all out in your workouts for a shorter amount of time. 

While the couch to 5k program is the best way to forge a running habit, once you've been bitten by the fitness bug, you might naturally gravitate towards sprint training. This is great, because sprinting burns more fat than jogging, and not to be That Guy, but it also takes up far less time out of your day. In turn, that makes running feel like second nature and less of a chore. 

Furthermore, by this point, you’re probably already looking forward to your next runners high - and that’s totally understandable. The benefits of sprint interval training also reach far-and-wide. In other words, as well as burning fat, sprinting helps you to maintain the muscle mass that an aerobic exercise such as jogging doesn’t. Additionally, your fitness and stamina levels will shoot through the roof, leading you longer and easier workouts. 

Sprinterval is an app and training program that was designed to be as easy as the couch to 5k is. The training program provides you with six weeks of HIIT/sprint interval workouts that differ from week-to-week. The best part of it is that it was designed for beginners, which makes it the next step to following your dreams. 

The next time that Stacy at work with the Apple Watch tries to tell you about her latest marathon, you can shrug it off. As my grandpa Forrest Gump used to say*: Don’t get bitter, just get fitter. 

*He didn’t really say that.

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