building a running routine

6 min read

Any activity can be daunting if you are not sure what you are doing, with a routine you are able to have guidance when working out. Prep and research is mostly essential with any action generally in life. Furthermore, it can be useful to have a partner, a running mate to help hold you accountable.

It is not essential to eat before a run, but if you feel you need the energy you could carb loads the night before or you should have a piece of fruit (a banana is good) or pre-workout (BCAAs have worked for me) at least 20 minutes before running, otherwise you might get stitches which will interrupt your timings, hence your personal bests.

It is important to get your body ready for activity, as outlined in my previous blog post, so please read it for more details. You can purchase a foam roller or use your hands to stretch your IT band which can be affected while running and for other areas to self massage.

Last mention of how getting your body ready for activity, form is essential. Keep in mind that mind to muscle connection as while running you will need to keep your back straight, each arm should not sway beyond the horizontal midline of your chest, practice belly breaths (diaphragmatic breathing) and engage your abs and pelvic floor muscles while running. As much as you can, stay present, assessing the movements your body makes and how it feels.

To track my runs, I use MapMyRun by Under Armour (Apple/Android) – add me! Search ‘Damilaara Adeyemi’ – when outside or my FitBit, also the treadmill in the gym. There can be some discrepancies, so try to keep consistent. MapMyRun includes data like cadence (steps per minute) and elevation which is useful, since you can see the difference in your performance. Cadence is especially notable, as for long distances it is better to take smaller steps than longer strides like when sprinting. After you finish your run make notes on how you felt it went, however many or little words you like, even emojis. Recently, as I’ve started going to the gym, I have a group chat with myself on WhatsApp to keep track of my running times, sets, reps and weights.

Remember before you initially start, first set your intention knowing your distance and pace goals. Furthermore, be mindful of what you wear. While training in the winter, you may need gloves and in the summer less clothing. Moreover, be sure to vary where you run so you don’t get too used to the same track.

It is ideal to start training for your half marathon at least 2 months before the event. The Vitality Big Half has some training plans on their website. The main difference between these training plans and the schedule I have gone by is that they are based on time and mine are based on distance. I run every other day and started with a mix of 2km and 5km, then 3km and 5km, 4km and 5km with 7km and 8km, the penultimate week before running 10km. 

Each run will vary in pace and effort. For a light run you want to comfortably maintain your pace, for a hard run you want to try and beat your speed and overall time. For a rough guide on how to run 5km (use same principle for other distances) try to warm up during  lap 1, push yourself a bit and warm up some more in lap 2 trying to match the pace in lap 1 as much as you can, just carry on going in lap 3 then try to match the pace again in lap 4 and 5. Aim to run 5km in 35 minutes at 7 minutes per km, if you’re not there, just do your best. It is okay to take a break and walk, but try to keep rest times to 10 seconds and run as much as you can even if you have to slow down. 

Afterwards, do some cool down stretches and eat a protein heavy meal within 2 hours for muscle growth.

Don’t forget to follow along with my journey to the big day Sunday 22nd August 2021 as I will be sharing more on marathon training.

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