You must see plenty of people running as you drive around town. If you are like me, you might wonder why they run along a busy road and breathe the fumes? And, you might wonder why they run like they do.
Recent research strongly suggests that it is not the best functional fitness practice to run at a constant speed and pace for long distances. Many people we see run for miles at a steady pace without stopping. In my opinion, this is the wrong way to run.
We did not evolve running long distances at a steady pace. We evolved chasing game down in short but fast bursts of speed. Then we ate. We need to apply this biological background to our functional fitness training. We can also apply this to our sandbag training, but that is another post.
Again, do not run for long periods of time at a steady pace. So how to run? Research shows that it is more effective to run in what they call intervals. There are many intervals to apply to running. Here are a few.
You can run a series of 100 yard sprints. Walk between them to catch your breath. You can run a mile or two by running faster than you normally would, then walking for a while. There are of course middle grounds of this: Run 400 or so meters, walk half or about the same.
Let's examine further our running options. If you have access to a hill, stairs, or stadium, you can run up and walk down it. As for the stadium with its running track, you can run around once and walk once, or you can run the straighaways and walk around the ends.
A type of workout I often do is circuit style workouts, often with running and workout sandbags. It is very hilly where I live, and I have a hilly driveway. That is my interval running course. The circuit workout I do often is run one or more laps down and up the hill, and do either bodyweight exercises or sandbag training exercises on the carport at the top of the hill.
As for running up and down the driveway or you hill, here are some of my favorite running workouts. Run 3 or more laps, and walk one. Repeat for as many rounds as you need. Walk down the hill, and run up the hill 10 or 15 times for time. Run around the block (mine is quite hilly) for time, stopping to walk often. Run several laps up and down the hill, do 30-50 reps of bodyweight exercises , or sandbag exercises, and repeat the running.
The point is to mix running and walking often to help recover DURING the workout. Another important point is to save some energy for a good long walk after your workout. Any workout, whether it involves running or otherwise, should be followed by walking during your cooldown. This helps recovery and stretches your muscles.
Here's to your functional fitness and health!