What is RPE in Running? Your Full Guide To RPE And Heart Rate Zones

RPE Explained for runners

What is RPE in running?

If you’re looking for an answer, then learning you’re are in the right place.

Here’s the truth.

Running intensity is vital to measure as it can tell you whether you are training too hard or not pushing it hard enough.

Do too much, and you risk injury and/or burnout.

Do too little, and your fitness level will plateau, even decline, which is not what you want.

One of the commonly used methods is the Rating of Perceived Exertion. Using this rating system is a crucial component of any training program—regardless of your current fitness level and goals.

In this post, I will give you an overview of RPE in running—what is it, why you should use it, and how to efficiently use for maximum effect.

So, are you excited? Then here we go.

RPE Running

What is The RPE Scale?

The RPE scale, also known as the “Borg CR10 scale”, or the “Modified RPE scale.” is a method of rating perceived exertion.

It’s used, mostly, by exercise physiologists and personal trainers to measure the level of effort during physical activity.

The RPE scale is a rating scale ranging from 1 to 10.

The numbers on the scale correspond to descriptive statements that rate how hard or difficult t you find an exercise or physical activity.

The ratings are based on an array of feelings and sensation of physical stresses a trainee experiences during physical activity.

These include increased respiration, increased heart rate, sweating, muscle fatigue, and discomfort.

So, for instance, a rating of 1 means you are putting in any effort, whereas a rating of 9 means you’re near maximal exertion.

The RPE is typically used in cardiovascular training, but it can just as easily be applied to other forms of training, especially resistance training.

Additional Resource – Your Guide To Running Heart Rate Zones

It’s Convenient

Using the RPE rating system requires no equipment.

As long as you’re willing to listen to your body, you’re good to go.

The RPE scale is especially handy if you don’t own a heart rate monitor and/or don’t want to stop in the middle of your run to check your pulse and how hard you’re pushing yourself.

But don’t get me wrong.

For first-timers, the RPE complex rating system can be quite overwhelming. But, with a little bit of practice and perseverance, one can learn how to correctly use this powerful tool.

And this is worth the effort, especially for the long haul once you start taking your running routine more seriously.

Additional resource – Strava for runners

Different Runners Different Strokes

Now that you have a thorough grasp (hopefully) of what an RPE is, let’s talk about how we can put it to action.

And here is the key.

If you are serious about making the most out of this rating system, you need, in simple terms, to just start using it—even if you have never done it before.

To get good at this, make sure cultivate the habit of regularly rating each workout on a 1 to 10 scale both during the workout and right after.

You have to build your inner sensors.

Next, keep tabs on your RPE for your workouts in your training diary.

Just keep in mind that this scale is different for everyone.

So, for instance, super vigorous activity could be jogging at 4.5 MPH for one person or faster running at 9 MPH for another person.

So it’s up to you to come up with the right numbers and ratings.

Additional resource – Heart murmurs while exercising

RPE In Running Explained

  1. Very easy. No exertion. You’re lounging on the couch, doing nothing physically The only movement you are doing is holding a potato chip and pushing buttons on the remote.
  2. Fairly light exertion. This is how you ought to feel when you are warming up and cooling down, or stretching. You can converse with no effort.
  3. Light exertion. You are moving, but it’s slow and easy like strolling. This how you should warm up your body before running. You can converse with almost no effort.
  4. Moderately easy. Your breathing and heart rate is a little faster. You’re feeling a little warmer. And you’re starting to work up a sweat. But you can still maintain a conversation while exercising without much effort.
  5. Moderate to somewhat hard exertion. Your heart is pumping faster. You are breathing harder. You’re feeling warmer. You can still converse, but it is getting tougher.
  6. Hard exertion. You are breathing hard now. But you can still sip from your water bottle. You can only say a few words at a time.
  7. Hard to somewhat intense exertion. You are breathing really hard, and are wondering how you can keep on going like this.
  8. Very hard. You are breathing hard and nearing your maximal limit. You can no longer say a few words without gasping for air.
  9. Super hard. You feel like your lungs are about to explode. You cannot keep this intensity for more than one minute. Conversing is impossible. This is one tad bit away from your maximum.
  • Ultimate exertion. This is your absolute limit. You cannot keep this pace for more than 10 seconds. Speaking is out of the question. Pain is everywhere.

How to Use The RPE Scale?

After warming up at a low to moderate level of exertion, begin your run.

Then, after  a few minutes in, assess your exertion level from the scale.

For instance, if you still are feeling at an RPE under 6 and want to push more, then pick up your pace to increase your intensity.

You can this by running faster, adding intensity intervals (think sprints) or seeking out inclines or uphills.

If you’re feeling an intensity of 8 or 9, but you’re still mid-workout, you might want to slow down your pace until you’re back to the moderate intensity zone.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to the Maffetone Method.

RPE And Heart Rate Zones

Research has found a strong correlation between your RPE ratings and your actual heart rate during exercise.

For instance, a hard interval run should be RPE 9-10 or 94 to 99 percent of your maximum heart rate.

On the other hands, an easy recovery should be RPE 3-4, which corresponds to roughly 60 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate.

Just keep in mind that it’s only a rough estimate as physical conditioning, age, and other factors, vary from one individual to the next.

This is how you can correlate it to heart rate zones so you can have more measuring tools on your hand.

  • 2-4 – Very light zone – 50 to 60 percent
  • 4-5 – Light zone – 60  to 70 percent
  • 5-7 – Moderate zone – 70 to 80 percent
  • 7-9 – Hard zone – 80 to 90 percent
  • 9-10 – Maxiumum zone – 90 to 100 percent.

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

Additional resource – Your guide to heart rate variability

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

RPE in Running – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re looking for the full guide to RPE in running, then this post should get you started on the right foot. I’ve also shared with you a brief description on the link between RPE and heart rate zones. This means that you apply the RPE chart shared while doing any form physical exercise – Not just running.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong.

Foot Types for Shoes – How to Determine Your Foot Type?

foot types for runners

Looking to determine your foot type? Then this guide to types of runners feet is exactly what you need.

Here’s the truth.

When it comes to foot type biomechanics, foot type is divided into three broad categories: the neutral-footed, the flat-footed (the overpronator runner), and the high-arched (the supinator runner).

Therefore, if you are a serious runner looking to boost training volume but still hunting for the ideal running pair, then you need to learn more about your foot type.

According to conventional wisdom in the running world, your pronation type is also a contributing factor in selecting and choosing the right running shoe.

Not only that, some experts also claim that having an understanding of pronation and how it affects the rest of your body can help you determine the type of a shoe most appropriate for you.

Therefore, today, dear reader, I will share with you all you need to know about your foot type, what does that mean, and what type of shoe works the best for a particular foot type.

Foot Types for Shoes Explained

Substantial amounts of research and technology go into designing running shoes that best suit these three most common types of foot arches.

Determining your foot type can help you make the most suitable choices when looking for new running shoes.

This can help improve running efficiency, understand the way you run, reduce pain, and prevent injuries, such as heel pain or plantar fasciitis.

So are you excited?

Then here we go.

The Wet Test

If you have no idea what arch type you have or are not sure, you can perform the Wet Test.

Here is How To Do It

Simply wet the sole of your foot, then step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag.

Last up, step off and examine the shape of the footprint and compare it with the following diagrams.

The result can help you determine if you’re a neutral runner, an overpronator, or a supinator/underpronator.

Please keep in mind that this test is not the most accurate in the world.

The Wet Test is simple, but the results might not be conclusive.

Lest you have a very low or high arch, it might be hard to interpret the results properly.

So it’s not the end of all your running shoe prayers.

Other factors must be accounted for.

Check this article for more.

Foot Types for Shoes

The Wear & Tear Patterns

The “Wear Test” is another straightforward assessment you can do to determine your arch type.

All you have to do is to check out the wear pattern on one of your used and abused pairs of running shoe.

How?

Just flip over the shoe and assess the rubber tread on the outsole.

In case you couldn’t see a clear and consistent wear & tear pattern by looking at the outsole of your running shoes, then simply place them on a flat surface, a table for instance, for instance.

Additional resource – Running shoes for plantar fasciitis

The Pro Option

For the most accurate assessment, go see a professional physician or a sports podiatrist.

While using high-tech tools, these experts can evaluate your feet in both a static and dynamic position.

This can help you determine whether you pronate or not and if you do, how much you pronate, etc.—all of which is essential for finding the most suitable shoe for you.

The Degrees of Pronation—Understanding Pronation

The feet rotate naturally while running.

But, the degree of rotation, what’s known as pronation, varies from one runner to the next, depending, mainly, on the foot unique anatomical structure.

Pronation, simply put, is the natural inward roll of the foot as the outside part of the heel comes in contact with the ground.

Pronation is 100 percent normal.

The proper amount of pronation is part and parcel of the natural movement of the human body.

In fact, it is the process by which your feet absorb the impact forces of running—about two to three times your body weight.

This inward rolling acts as a shock absorber for the legs and the rest of the body, ideally dispersing the forces of the impact of the heel striking the ground.

In other words, your foot NEEDS and MUST pronate to keep your lower limbs safe and injury free.

The Problem With Too Much (or too little) Pronation

During a typical gait cycle, the feet alternate between pronation, which is the inward roll motion, and supination, the outward motion.

Overpronation occurs when the feet roll inward too much.

Supination, or commonly known as underpronation, happens when the feet don’t roll inward enough.

If you overpronate, then your feet will roll inward too much.

Research shows that this might risk overuse injuries, mostly to the knees.

On the other hand, if your feet roll outward too much, what’s known as underpronator, then you might risk overuse injuries, mainly in the feet.

Figuring out your foot type and gait mechanics can help match you with the correct shoe type, with the main purpose of compensating over- or under-pronation.

This might help cut the risks of injury while improving your running economy and efficiency.

Additional resource  – Here’s your guide to pain on top of the foot while running.

The 3 Main Types Of Runners Feet

1. Normal (medium) Arch

This is the most common type of runners, and people in general.

The medium foot type is often called normal because of most people—roughly 60 percent—have a medium arch.

So, that does not mean there is something inherently wrong with having high or low arches.

These are also normal, but not just as widespread.

The Process

The Neutral type is identified by a slight pronation

While running, the foot lands on the outside of the heel then rolls inward to support body weight and reduce the shock impact of the foot strike.

The Wet Test

If, after assessing your footprint, it doesn’t look high arched or flat footed, then your chances you have a normal or neutral foot.

In general, the footprint will show a plain curve inward, but not by more than ¾ of an inch.

The Wear Patterns

Neutral pronation manifests as a wear pattern focused on the ball of the foot region and a small portion of the heel.

The Trouble

A runner with neutral feet has a normal arch with centralized balance.

The impact stresses generated by running are well distributed in the center of the foot, which cuts the risks of pain and/or injury in the tendons, bones, and the muscles of the lower body.

But having neutral feet does not mean that you’ve hit The Happy Feet Jackpot.

The fact is, as a runner, you are always prone to injury due to bad form, ill-fitting shoes, overuse, or repetitive stress injuries.

Best Shoes

Runners with “normal feet” can wear just about any type of shoe, but they are still prone to injuries, especially if they are overtraining, or not taking good care of their bodies.

Additional resource – How to choose Running shoes for overpronators

2. The Flat Foot

Overpronation is the second most common type, accounting for over 20 percent of all runners.

Flat-footed runners tend to overpronate, meaning that their feet roll inward too much during a foot strike.

This can be a source of problems and often requires proper support and weight redistribution.

Here’s the full guide to underpronation

The Process

The outer side of your heel strikes the ground first at an increased angle with little or no normal pronation, resulting in a massive transmission of stress and shock through the lower limbs.

The arch is designed to absorb a specific amount of shock, but when it collapses too much following impact, the resulting stress forces travel up and down the legs, leading to pain, even injury to the shins, hips, or knees.

The Wet Test

You have flat feet when there is no is no clear inward curve from the big toe to the heel while looking at your foot.

Typically, the imprint shows a filled-in arch.

The Wear Patterns

Soles mostly worn on the inside (typically along the inside edge of the shoe) mean that you’re most likely an overpronator.

Troubles

As previously stated, pronation is a good thing.

But too much of it can put a lot of undue stress and shock on your feet and knees, increasing the risks of pain and injury.

Flat footed runners are often biomechanically imbalanced, which can make them more prone to common foot issues such as arch pain, heel pain, and plantar fasciitis.

Other injuries include plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel spurs, and bunions.

Follow proactive measures to reduce your risks of such ailments.

Additional guide – Running safely with bunions guide

Best Shoes

According to conventional wisdom, if you overpronate, then you might need shoes that help maintain your stability during a foot strike.

Look for terms like “stability” and “motion control” while selecting a new running pair.

Stability shoes can help stabilize your stride and provide better support for your feet.

This type of shoes might reduce the risks of common issues and injuries like heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Just keep in mind that the current scientific research reveals no conclusive evidence that supports this theory.

In cases of severe overpronation, you might need to wear orthotics. These are custom made shoe inserts that may correct foot issues in some individuals.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to running shoes for flat feet.

3. The High-Arched Foot

The third type is the least common, accounting for less than 20 percent of the population.

In general, underpronators have high, rigid arches that do not sufficiently collapse.

Therefore, they do not absorb shock as efficiently as the other two foot types.

Supination is characterized by an outward rolling of the foot following a foot strike, which results in inadequate impact reduction and distribution.

The Wet Test

If the foot imprint shows little—or no—contact along the outside edge of the feet, mainly seeing only the heel and ball, then you have a high arch.

The Wear Patterns

Supination is marked by wear and tear on the outside of the heel area, especially along the outer edge of the shoe.

Troubles

Research shows that high arched people are more prone to foot conditions such as ball-of-foot pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Why might you ask?

As already stated, the supination cycle can result in insufficient shock absorption upon impact.

Having high arches means less surface for absorbing impact.

This can place undue pressure on the rearfoot and forefoot areas.

Next, the impact forces can travel unhindered through the legs, knees, and hips to the back and the rest of the body, resulting in pain, musculoskeletal injuries, and even stress fracture in weight-bearing bones.

Additional Resource – Overpronation vs Underpronation

The Best Shoes

Experts recommend well-cushioned, flexible shoes with good arch support and a soft midsole to take some of the stress off the lower limbs and ward off injury, especially to the feet.

In some serious cases, you can use the right orthotics.

Thee can help can help fill in your arch cavity to help improve shock absorption, and provide alignment and cushioning needed to ward off pain and injury.

Additional guide – How to prevent Foot pain in runners

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

The 5 Different Types of Running Shoes

Types of Running Shoes explained

Looking to learn more about the different types of running shoes?

Then you have come to the right place.

When it comes to your running gear, your sneakers are the most important piece.

But, finding the right sole-mate is easier said than done.

The whole process can be unnerving and might leave you feeling overwhelmed, especially when you are just starting out and/or don’t know what type of kicks works the best for you.

Fret no more. This full guide to different running shoe types will get you started on the right foot.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

The Importance of Running Shoes

When it comes to preventing injury and improving training efficiency, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of proper shoes.

By getting ill-fitting shoes, you’re predisposing your body to pain and injury.

And you don’t want that.

Not to mention that it’s also a complete waste of your time and money.

On the other hand, finding the right shoes is like a dream coming true.

A suitable pair can help you run comfortably and increases your efficiency, which is something all of us runners want, regardless of our training background and goals. Here’s the full guide to running shoes anatomy.

Here are more resources on the history as well as the impact of running shoes on your performance.

What Running Shoes Type Do I Need?

Many factors affect shoe selection.

Things like your weight, unique biomechanics, training surfaces, training goals, personal preferences, and your foot type and gait should be accounted for when purchasing a new pair.

That’s why today, dear reader, I decided to teach you about the many types of running shoes out there.

The 5 Different Types Of Running Shoes

In my opinion, there are primarily five types of running shoes you need to be familiar with.

You’ve got the stability, the cushioned, the support, the performance/speed, and the trail running shoes.

This classification is based on structure, form, and function.

Every shoe type is different and designed to serve different objectives—both biomechanical and training wise.

So, are you excited?

Then here we go

1. Lightweight Shoes

If you do a lot of speed work or race, then you will need lightweight trainers.

Also known as racing flats, or cross country spikes, these are ideal for speed workouts, like sprints, intervals, fartleks, and competition.

Lightweight shoes are built with less foam and cushioning features under the foot, allowing for more natural and dynamic motion for the feet.

But there is a downside to the lightweight shoe.

In general, these do not offer the same degrees of cushioning and shock absorption as regular road shoes classified in the neutral or stability categories.

That’s why they should not be used for general training.

If you are just starting out, the last thing you’d want to get is a racing flat.

You don’t need them that early in your training program.

Note – Looking for the best Beginner’s Guide To Running?
Then Check my Runners Blueprint System Here.

 Types of Running Shoes

2. Trail Shoes

Trail runners have to maneuver across mud, dirt, rocks and other off-road obstacles, therefore, they require the best in support, stability, and protection.

And with over 6 million trail runners in the U.S alone, trail shoes sales have surged in the last few years.

Trail shoes, as the name implies, are built for trail running.

These shoes are designed for running surfaces that are undulating and have a wide range of terrain, from mud to grass, road, and hard packed paths.

Think of trail shoes as a mix of running sneakers and hiking shoes.

They offer enough protection around the ankle and the tongue to protect your feet against all the roots and rock found on rugged and rocky terrains.

Not only that, these also provide superior grip for better traction and control on softer, often uneven, and slippery surfaces—typically achieved through aggressive soles and stickier rubbers.

The incredible grip that trail shoes provide also makes them a popular option for wearing while playing disc golf, according to Reaper Disc Supply.

Additional resource – Here’s the full guide to running shoe anatomy.

3. Stability Shoes

Stability running shoes are usually recommended for runners with a normal arch or neural feet.

These athletes tend to require shoes with a good mix of midsole cushioning and good support.

There is nothing wrong with pronation—it’s, in fact, part and parcel of human movement.

Pronation, simply put, refers to the inward rolling of the foot upon impact.

But too much pronation might be problematic.

Stability shoes can come in handy as they can help prevent, or at least reduce, excessive pronation, by offering more arch and ankle support throughout the gait cycle.

Additional Reading  – Your guide to the heel to toe drop.

4. Motion Control Shoes

As previously stated, pronation is part and parcel of the body’s natural movement.

But not all runners pronate equally.

Some of them do it to excess.

That’s why they might need a pair of shoe to help them limit, or even prevent, this.

Motion control shoes are usually recommended for runners with low arches and moderate to serious over-pronation, which is the excessive inward rolling of the foot following a foot strike.

Motion control shoes are usually more rigid than the average sneaker and are built with a wide sole to limit excessive motion throughout the gait cycle.

These are also ideal for heavy individuals looking for shoes that provide high stability and durability.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to running shoes for flat feet.

5. Cushioned Shoes

In general, cushioned shoes are made with extra cushioning for a plush feel, but without a lot of corrective or supportive elements.

Most cushioned shoes are built with shock dispersion features in the outsole and/or midsole portion of the footwear—typically in the heel or forefoot regions.

Cushioned shoes are typically recommended for runners with little to no pronation as they offer both shock absorption and protection with little to no extra support throughout the gait cycle.

These shoes are also called “neutral padded shoes”.

These are designed to counteract supination.

Typically, cushioned shoes are recommended for runners with high arches—what’s known as supinator, or underpronators in the running circles.

Additional resource – Here’s the full guide to supination running.

Making Sense of The Different Types of Running Shoes – Experiment

The best way to find the “perfect” sneaker is to do a lot of digging yourself and experiment with a lot of brands and designs (as well as different types of running shoes).

That’s the trial and error process at its finest, and you can’t do without it when selecting the right sole-mates.

Once you have a rough idea of what you’re looking for , then you hit the nearest specialty running store where you can have your foot mechanics assessed by the knowledgeable staff.

Want to make the most out of your sneakers?

Here’s how to make your running shoes last longer.

Additional Resources

Conclusion

There you have it. Today’s article provides plenty of information on the different types of running shoes out there. Now it’s up to you to choose the type of running shoes that works the best for you. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Keep Running Strong

Anatomy of a Running Shoe – The 7 Main Parts

pictutre of shoe

The midsole? The tongue? Eva? What does this all mean? If you are serious about learning all about the anatomy of a running shoe, then you are in the right place.

But why would you care?

Here is the basic premise: understand basic shoe anatomy, and you’ll increase your chances of buying the right pair that meets your physiological needs and personal preference.

Do You Habla Runnerlese?

Runners have a language all on their own.

You can call it Runnerlese, Runnerlish, or Runnerilian, whatever… And in contrast to, let’ say, German or Japanese, the language of running is not difficult to pick up.

In a previous post, I shared with my dear readers an exhaustive list of the most common terms runners—from all levels and training backgrounds—use to talk about and refer to their running experience.

You can check that post here.

But today, dear reader, I decided to narrow my focus and talk about your shoes and their many components and parts.

Think of this post as a useful follow-up to my earlier piece The Complete Runners Lexicon.

Go through both these posts, and never be left in the dark, running-wise, ever again.

These Shoes Are made For Running

Running shoes are made to optimize training performance, and make training as safe and comfortable as possible.

There is a vast array of technical features to a pair of running shoes—and the terminology can scare off even the most well-intentioned and serious and smart beginners.

But worry no more.

I got you covered, buddy.

Today I will spill the beans on running shoe anatomy.

I’ll break down some of the must-terms you should understand that should shed more light on the features and structure of a given running shoe.

In Essence, I’ll walk you through each part—what it is and why should you care—layer by layer, starting with the upper.

Are you excited?

Then here we go.

Anatomy of a Running Shoe

Anatomy of a Running Shoe – The 7 Main Parts

In general,  the anatomy of a running shoe is made of seven main parts:  the upper, the midsole, the outsole, the tongue of the shoe, the heel counter, the toe box, and the last.

Each portion of shoe serves a particular function and has distinct features and properties that you need to be aware of to make the right running shoe buying decision.

Just don’t feel overwhelmed by any of this.

In this post, I’ll examine each component and give you practical advice on what to look for when purchasing your next pair of running shoes.

1. The Upper

Let’s start from the top.

Held together by the laces is the upper, which is the portion of the shoe above the midsole that encloses the foot, keeping the shoe in place, and protecting against dirt, rocks, and the elements.

The upper is typically made from a variety of materials, including mesh for breathability, synthetic leather for durability, or knits for a smooth, chafe-free feel.

When choosing a shoe, make sure the upper must fit well with the shape and size of your feet.

This can provide your feet with more stability over the long run.

2. Tongue of the Shoe

Underneath the shoe laces, you’ll find the tongue of the shoe.

This is the part of the shoe sticking out like a human tongue from the opening of the shoe, hence the name.

The tongue is the separate strip on the upper that protect the top of the feet from the pressure of the laces, preventing them from rubbing against the instep of the feet. That’s why it’s a key part of the anatomy of a running shoe

The tongue also makes it easier to put the shoes on and take them off.

A proper tongue should be of an appropriate size that it does not rub against the foot just above the ankles and thick enough (or well-padded) to protect the top of the feet against pressure from the laces.

Shoe manufacturers use the tongue to meet various needs, too.

For instance, trail shoe tongues are stitched to protect against the elements.

So, keep that in mind whenever you’re assessing the suitability of a given pair of shoes.

Anatomy of a Running Shoe

3. The Heel Counter

On the back of the shoe, you’ll find the heel counter, which is the exoskeleton of inflexible materials that wraps around and surrounds the heel.

This stiff structure around the heel reduces Achilles tendon irritation, provides a more secure heel fit, excellent cushioning, and rotational control.

The heel counter is made of stiff materials that protect against the impact forces that the feet experience while running.

4. The Last

The last refers to the three-dimensional, foot-shaped mold that determines the outline of the shoe.

Think of it as the foot model over which a shoe is assembled.

Lasts can be straight, curved, or semi-curved.

According to theory, some lasts are best suited for a particular feet anatomical structure.

A straight last tends to be heavier, providing more support under the arch, which might help control excessive the inward collapsing motion following a foot strike.

That’s why they are often recommended overpronators—mostly runners with flat feet.

A Curved last is lighter and less supportive.

Thus, they are usually recommended for supinators—typically runners with very high arches.

Semi-curved last is a hybrid of the two—not quite as thick as the straight type but still offer ample support under the arch.

Most running shoes out there are made with semi-curved last, but, and as a rule of thumb, the last has to match the shape of your foot.

This provides better pronation control and greater comfort.

5. The Toe Box

The toe box is the front platform of your shoes that houses your toes—the space that fits around the widest part of the toes and feet.

And by far, the toe box is the most important ingredient in finding a good fit.

A running pair should fit like a glove, with no sense of cramming or constraining in the toe box.

The toes should not touch the inside front of the shoes, and the feet should not feel clasped at all.

If the toe box is too tight, or the toes do not have enough room between your longest toe and the front of the toe box, it can affect the mechanics of your movement, leading to black toenails, discomfort, and hindered performance.

When fitting a shoe, make sure you have enough room to comfortably fit your toes.

The toe box should have sufficient space to allow the toes to wiggle freely, and for the feet to swell while running.

In essence, you should be able to play the piano with your toes.

Ideally, you should aim for a distance equal to the width of your thumb between your longest toe and the tip of your toe box.

Also, Make sure the height of the shoe box comfortably fits your toes.

6. The Midsole

Moving down, you’ll find the midsole, which is the thick layer of technical foam or rubber sandwiched between the upper and the outsole.

More specifically, the midsole is the materials that sit above the outsole and below the upper.

Midsoles are another important part of the anatomy of a running shoe

They provide cushioning while controlling excessive foot motion (pronation or supination).

Most of the shock absorption and cushioning is provided by the midsole.

The cushioning properties are usually attached to or embedded within the midsole.

Most midsoles are typically constructed of foam type compound commonly known as EVA, or polyurethane. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate and is the most common commercially mass-produced midsole foam used in running shoes.

In general, EVA is softer material due to its lightness and more cushioned feel. But it compresses, and breaks down quickly, losing rebound after constant impact.

On the other hand, polyurethane is heavier and more durable than Eva.

But a few shoes have polyurethane as the midsole.

Furthermore, some high-tech midsoles are made with non-foam technologies, such as airbags or GEL, to increase protection and durability.

 

7. The Outsole

The outsole is the threaded layer of rubber on the bottom your trainers—the portion of the shoe that makes contact with the ground, providing traction and durability.

Hence, this is the part of the shoes that shows the most wear and tear.

Most outsoles have treads for traction, multidirectional flex grooves for flexibility, and provide protection against rocks, dirt, etc.

For trail runners, the outsole is the most important layer to consider.

There is a broad range of outsole types to choose from.

Outsoles are usually made from carbon rubber, blown rubber, or a combination of the two—all of which offer different levels of durability and traction.

Runners looking for a sturdy pair should opt for outsoles made with carbon rubber (same material as tires).

Carbon is the more durable, but it’s also stiffer and heavier than blown rubber.

But if your priority is flexibility and a “softer feel” shoe, then blown rubber outsoles are exactly what you need.

These are more cushioned, more flexible, but not as durable as carbon rubber.

New to Running? Start Here…

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Anatomy of A Running Shoe – The Conclusion

There you have it!  If you’re curious about the many parts that make up a running shoe, then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments in the section below.

Have a great day

How to Choose The Best Running Socks

how to choose Running Compression Socks

Running socks?

Yes, these are socks made specifically for runners.

What makes them different from your typical casual socks is that they are designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable while running for prolonged periods of time.

When you run, especially if you sweat a lot (who doesn’t), it’s crucial to equip your feet and your shoes with socks that are comfortable, functional, durable, even fashionable (if you are into that).

Socks For Running – The Importance of The Right Choice

Socks are not a second-thought accessory.

In fact, picking the right running socks is just as important as choosing the right shoes.

Not only can the proper socks improve your running performance, but can also help keep your feet healthy and happy.

An ill-fitting pair of socks can result in toenail problems, bursitis, blisters, infections, and other serious foot issues that may compromise your running.

And you don’t want any of that.

Whether you are going for a short jog around the block, or are conquering long, treacherous trails, the right pair can set the stage for a comfortable, pain-free workout experience.

In short, running sucks without the right socks.

And here is the good news.

Buying socks for running is not rocket science.

That’s why today, dear reader, I’m spilling the beans on proper running socks selection.

In this post, you’ll find a list of handy tips and practical guidelines to help you make the right sock choice.

Use the following tips to help you choose the right socks for running that will help your feet dry and comfortable so you can ensure consistent running success.

So, are you excited?

Then here we go.

How to Choose The Best Running Socks

Athletic socks come in a variety of fabric types, sizes, thicknesses, and cushioning features.

These are the main things to consider when selecting the right running socks.

Consider the following elements when choosing your running socks.

Additional Reading – Here’s the full guide running compression socks.

1. Say No to Cotton

The most important factor to consider when cherry-picking socks for running is, hands down, the material.

As a rule of thumb, steer clear of cotton the entire time (just like your running clothes, see this post).

Why?

Cotton is spongy and absorbent.

Once your feet get wet (whether due to sweat or after stepping in a puddle), they’ll stay wet, and the moisture won’t get “wicked away.”

And here is the real bad news.

Running in damp socks sets the ideal breeding ground for bacteria (nasty smells), and blisters (nagging injuries).

And you don’t want either.

Not only that, running in the winter with cotton socks will make you feel damp and cold.

And that makes for a miserable run.

Sure, cotton is cheaper than technical moisture-wicking synthetic materials, but the proper technical running attire is well worth the extra buck.

Functional Materials for the Socks

Our feet are a work of wonder.

They contain about 250,000 sweat glands.

Put simply, our feet sweat a lot.

That’s why you need running socks made with technical materials, lightweight and equipped with excellent sweat wicking properties.

High-performance socks are specifically designed for runners—they pull moisture away from the skin, and won’t let it turn into an abrasive material that will rub against your feet—all of this helps keep your feet relatively comfortable and dry.

Ideal running socks are made from synthetic materials such as acrylic, CoolMax, and polyester.

Look for these in the ingredient list whenever you are purchasing new socks.

Some high-performance socks are also designed with a mesh venting system.

Also, consider looking for fabrics with anti-odor properties to keep your feet clean and smelling fresh.

athletes in Running Socks

Got Any Blisters?

If you’re prone to blisters, consider doing any of the following to limit friction between your feet and the inside of the shoes:

  • Opt for anti-blister socks that have a double layer system; or
  • Wear a second layer sock for extra blister protection; or
  • Go for thicker socks.

2. The Right Size Of Running Socks

When running, it’s essential to have athletic socks that fit properly.

A pair that’s too large or too small can bunch up and sag, and won’t provide you with the right cushioning that is required.

It also should not irritate your skin, nor leave a substantial imprint, particularly in the calves or ankles.

So, as a rule of thumb, avoid socks that bunch up and slip your shoes.

Anytime you have something rubbing against your skin, especially if your skin is damp, you run a high risk of getting painful blisters.

And you don’t want that.

Your socks must be a perfect fit, especially under the arch of the foot and around the heel.

They shouldn’t slide around.

To make sure you have the right size, make sure that the heel portion of the socks perfectly lands on your heel without stretching.

Also, your running socks should be worn fairly tight to the skin, but not so tight that they overstretch or restrict the movement of your toes.

4. The Many Lengths Of Running Socks

In general, socks usually come in four different lengths.

Which length you go for depends on the weather, training intensity, and your own personal preferences.

Here the main types:

Knee length—usually compression running socks that sit just below the knee to cover the entire calf

Crew length—these come up to the calf.

Anklet—these sit right above the ankle, as the name implies.

Socklet—these sit just above the shoe line.

5. Thickness of Fabric

Just like thickness and size, running socks are also designed with different levels of padding.

Different athletic sock materials and styles will provide different levels of cushioning.

Which type of sock you choose depends, as always, on your personal preference.

No suit fits all.

Thick Vs Thin Running Socks

Thick socks typically have extra padding in the heel and toes, which offers superior underfoot comfort, more cushioning, and blister protection, but might be a hurdle when trying to fit into a new pair.

In general, thicker socks are most appropriate for cooler seasons.

On the other hand, the thinner socks are lighter and tend to have a better road feel, but might result in excessive friction when running, especially if you’re prone to blisters.

Generally, thin socks are ideal for hotter seasons.

runner using Running Socks

What’s The Best Running Socks Choice?

Whether you choose a well-padded sock, or something more minimal, in the end, it all boils down to your personal preference.

For instance, super thin socks might not feel comfortable for some individuals, whereas a super thick pair might affect the fit and comfort of the shoes.

But all in all, choose socks that have at least a degree of padding at all points of contact around the foot.

Proper socks should offer a degree of cushioning at impact zones.

These are typically most used and abused parts of your feet.

Try it with the shoes

Keep in mind that the thickness of your sock affects the fit of your shoes, requiring you to go up at least a half shoe size to accommodate for the additional cushioning.

So, when you are trying out a new pair of shoes, make sure to do so with the socks you are going to be running in.

6. Running Compression Socks

According to the current theory, compression socks may speed up recovery and improve performance.

Of course, there is still much debate about this, but it’s something I think you should give it a try and see for yourself.

I believe that it works.

I don’t know exactly how effective compression socks really are when it comes to performance and recovery, but I do enjoy putting them on both during and after my runs—especially long runs.

Compression socks are designed with gradual compression, which improves blood flow to the muscles.

This is believed to lessen muscle fatigue and speed up recovery following a workout.

Some high-tech running socks are designed to mildly compress your muscles to enhance blood circulation, reducing fatigue, and speed up recovery time—all of which can help you run farther for longer and with less fatigue, and soreness.

Also, according to theory, compression socks may reduce your chances of injury and ward off muscle soreness and swelling.

Just make sure they fit right.

Compression socks shouldn’t feel too tight.

After all, their primary purpose is to aid blood circulation to the muscles rather than hindering it.

To ensure that you have the right fit, get a tape measure, measure around the broadest part of your ankle (this measurement is often called the circumference), then measure the widest part of your calves.

Next, while sitting on a chair with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, size up your calf length by measuring the distance from one finger below the bend in your knees to the ground.

Last up, match your results against the size guide and recommendations on the individual socks’ pages.

Also, you might need to experiment with several brands and styles before settling on one that feels the most comfortable for you.

How to Choose The Best Running Socks – The Conclusion

choosing the right socks for running is, in the end, a question of personal preference. That’s why you need to experiment with different socks lengths and sizes to find the type of socks that works the best for you in different seasons and conditions.

My best advice is to get a variety of socks. By doing so, you’ll be better prepared for any circumstance or weather conditions that come your way.

VO2 Max: What It Is and How to Boost Yours for Better Running Performance

If you’re interested in fitness, chances are you’ve stumbled across the term VO2 Max before.

 It’s like the secret code of the fitness world – something to do with oxygen use during exercise, but what does it really mean? Well, let me tell you, friend, VO2 Max is like the superhero of fitness metrics – a measure that can truly help you achieve your fitness goals.

But don’t worry, if you’re one of the many people who find VO2 Max charts and graphs confusing , I’m here to help. In fact, today I’m going to take you on a journey to discover the power of VO2 Max – without all the technical jargon and complicated sentences.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about VO2 Max, and that includes

  • What VO2 Max actually is
  • Why it’s so important,
  • What a good VO2 Max score looks like
  • The importance of VO2 Max Charts
  • What are normal VO2 Max ranges
  • How to increase your aerobic capacity.
  • And so much more

So get ready to unleash the superhero within and discover the true power of VO2 Max.

What’s The v02 Max?

So, what exactly is VO2 Max? Also known as “maximal oxygen consumption,” “peak oxygen intake,” and “maximal oxygen uptake,” VO2max is the metric that best describes your personal cardiorespiratory and aerobic fitness levels, research tells us.

When you exercise, your body needs oxygen to produce energy. The more oxygen you can take in and use, the longer and harder you can work out. VO2 Max is the best metric to determine your aerobic and cardiorespiratory fitness levels.

Simply put, it’s the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise, and is measured in liters per minute (L/min) or milliliters per minute per kilogram of body weight (mL/min/kg).

Think of the VO2 max as a kind of like the engine size in a car – the bigger the engine, the more power it can produce. In this case, your body is the engine, and the oxygen is the fuel.

Here’s what the words stand for:

  • The V in VO2 Max stands for volume. The reason it’s often displayed in scientific text with a dot above it is to show that it refers to volume and volume rate per minute.
  • The O2 in VO2 is the chemical formula for oxygen in its most stable state, the type of oxygen found in the air we breathe.
  • Max is simply maximum, or maximal.

Some trainers and coaches use the analogy of a “gas tank” to explain VO2 Max – just like a car can only go as far as the amount of gas in its tank, your body can only perform as long as your aerobic capacity (i.e., your VO2 Max) allows.

When you reach your VO2 Max during exercise, it means you’ve hit your body’s maximum capacity for delivering oxygen to your muscles, which can feel like trying to squeeze water from a dry sponge.

The Main VO2 Max Mechanisms

Now that you know what VO2 Max is, let’s talk about what makes up this nifty little metric. Think of it like a three-legged stool, where each leg is a vital component. Knock one of those legs out, and the whole thing goes crashing down.

So, what are these three main components that make up your VO2 Max? First off, we have your lung capacity and heart volume. Think of your lungs and heart like the Batman and Robin of your circulatory system. The bigger and better they are, the more oxygenated blood they can pump into your system, and the higher your VO2 Max score.

Next up, we have capillary delivery. This is like the FedEx of your bloodstream. The more oxygenated blood that gets delivered to your muscles, the higher your aerobic fitness score.

After all, who doesn’t want more oxygen flowing to their muscles, right?

Last but not least, we have muscle efficiency. This is like having a finely-tuned sports car engine. The better your muscles can utilize oxygen from your blood, the better you can perform.

Types of VO2 Max Measures

Now that we’ve covered what makes up your VO2 Max let’s dive into the types of measures used to track it. There are two types of VO2 Max measures: absolute and relative.

Absolute VO2 Max is expressed in liters per minute and describes the total volume of oxygen you consume per minute. It’s like measuring the size of a pool in gallons. The bigger the pool, the more water it can hold.

The same goes for your lungs and heart.

On the other hand, relative VO2 Max is expressed as milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute. It measures your weight in liters per minute per kilogram of your body weight. This metric allows for a better comparison of aerobic fitness among people of different body sizes. It’s like measuring the size of a pool relative to the size of the person swimming in it.

The Factors That Impact VO2Max

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have better cardio fitness than others?

Here’s the truth.

A few factors influence your VO2 Max. According to the UC Davis Sports Medicine Department, your VO2 Max is affected by a variety of things, from your genetics to your training habits.

Let me explain a few.

Age & Aerobic Capacity

One thing that affects your VO2 Max is your age. As you get older, your aerobic capacity declines by around 10 percent per decade. But don’t fret – even if you’re not a young whipper-snapper anymore, research shows that sporadic intense exercise can still help improve your VO2 Max levels.

Gender

Gender also plays a role. Men generally have larger hearts and pump more blood than women, which partially accounts for their higher VO2 Max levels. Women, on the other hand, typically have lower maximum oxygen uptake due to factors like blood volume, muscle mass, and hemoglobin content.

Heredity

Heredity is another factor that affects your VO2 Max. According to research out of Cerritos College in California, genetics may account for as much as 10 to 30 percent of your VO2 Max. That’s because many genetic factors impact your VO2 Max, from muscle fiber composition to aerobic enzyme levels.

Altitude and Maximum Oxygen Uptake

As you go up in altitude, there’s less oxygen available to consume, which leads to a decrease in your cardio fitness score. So, if you’re planning a mountain climbing expedition, be prepared for a lower VO2 Max.

Training Status & Oxygen Consumption

Last but not least, your training status also impacts your VO2 Max. Training can have a huge impact on your cardio fitness score, with improvements of up to 10 to 20 percent possible depending on your fitness level, background, and training program. So, if you want to improve your VO2 Max, hit the gym, or go for a run – your heart (and lungs) will thank you for it!

The Importance Of VO2’max Scores

Have you ever wondered what your VO2 max score is? It’s like having your own fitness report card, complete with a grade for your aerobic capacity.  But let’s be real, knowing your VO2 max score isn’t just about impressing your gym buddies with a big number. There are more implications to it.

It’s about understanding your body’s capabilities and limitations and using that knowledge to improve your fitness level. It’s like having a GPS for your fitness journey – it tells you where you are, and helps you chart a course to where you want to be.

Let’s dive a little deeper.

More Benefits

Research found the V02 Max drastically impacts your lifespan.

A low score may make you prone to cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

The next two VO2max charts show the ideal fitness levels ideal for reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases, according to research from the Cooper Institute.

VO2 max chart

Source – Whyexercise.com

Congratulation to those who are in the blue zone; your fitness level is impeccable.

For those in the yellow and green zone, you can still reduce your risks by making a few lifestyle changes—one of them is improving your V02 Max (more on that later).

Additional resource – How to use running pace charts

What Do VO2 Max Charts Mean For Fitness Performance?

By now, you’re probably sweating buckets over V02 Max, but let’s take a breather and remember that it’s only one piece of the performance puzzle.

In fact, athletic performance is determined by other factor that go beyond aerobic power, such proper technique, mental preparation, and even diet.

Just like two bakers can use the same ingredients but end up with different cakes, two athletes with similar V02 Max readings can have very different performances based on how they use oxygen during exercise.

A runner with perfect form and a well-planned training schedule will be able to sprint circles around their competitor with bad form and inconsistent training, even if they have the same V02 Max score. It’s like watching Usain Bolt smoke his competitors in the 100-meter dash while they huff and puff like a pack of asthmatic wolves.

That’s why personal trainers and scientists are hesitant about relying solely on V02 Max measurements to track the progress of endurance athletes.

What’s more, having a high V02 Max score in one sport doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a champ in another. Eliud Kipchoge may be the king of the marathon world, but that doesn’t mean he could hop on a bike or dive into a pool and dominate like Michael Phelps.

For example, running optimally isn’t just about your ability to use oxygen efficiently. Other elements like foot strike, cadence, muscle fiber recruitment, and bodyweight can all impact performance.

What’s a Good VO2 Max?

When it comes to V02 max, there’s no “one size fits all” score that you should strive for. It’s like trying to fit into your old pair of jeans from high school – the answer depends on a bunch of factors, like your age, gender, conditioning level, and even the altitude you’re training at.

For example, the average non-trained guy will usually hit a V02 max score of 30-40 mL/kg/min. That’s about as impressive as a one-legged man winning a butt-kicking contest. Ladies, on the other hand, tend to score slightly lower, at around 27-30 mL/kg/min.

Elite athletes, however, are a whole different beast. These dudes (and dudettes) are like the Usain Bolts and Simone Bileses of the world – they can achieve V02 max scores as high as 90 mL/kg/min (for men) and 80-77 mL/kg/min (for women). That’s like having a Ferrari engine in your chest instead of a regular old human heart.

But what’s considered a good V02 max score for us regular folks? Well, if you’re a 30-year-old dude, aim for a score of 50-55 mL/kg/min. And if you’re a 30-year-old lady, shoot for 45-50 mL/kg/min.

Of course, it’s not just about the numbers – it’s also about how you feel and perform. The closer your V02 max score is to 60, the better you’ll fare on the field (or the court, or the track, or wherever your athletic endeavors take you).

VO2 max charts

VO2 max chart

Endurance Training And VO2’max

Get ready to be blown away by these superhuman athletes! It’s no secret that having a high VO2 max score is a must for excelling in endurance sports. And some of the best athletes out there have the VO2 max scores to prove it.

Take Kilian Jornet, for instance, a legendary ultra-endurance runner who’s basically a real-life superhero. At the peak of his conditioning, Jornet was reported to have a VO2 max score of a mind-boggling 92.0 ml/kg/min. That’s higher than most people can even dream of achieving!

But wait, it gets even better. Norwegian cross-country skier Espen Harald Bjerke takes the cake with a VO2 max score of an unbelievable 96.0 ml/kg/min. That’s right; you read that correctly. Ninety-six! This guy’s lung capacity is off the charts.

These athletes are living proof that having a high VO2 max score can give you a serious advantage in the world of endurance sports. So if you’re looking to take your athletic performance to the next level, it’s time to start working on improving that cardio fitness.

v02 max chart

How to Measure Your VO2 Max

Alright, let me put it this way: measuring your VO2 Max is like exploring the depths of the ocean floor – it’s an exhilarating and exciting journey, but you need the right tools to uncover the truth.

Let’s explain what it is all about.

The VO2 Max Mask Test

To get an accurate reading of your VO2 Max, you need to take the test in an exercise laboratory. And just like a deep-sea diver needs a specialized diving suit, you’ll need to wear an oxygen mask during the test to measure the gas concentrations of your inspired and expired air.

The video below explains more about the testing procedure

The VO2 Max Mask Test is the gold standard when it comes to determining your aerobic capacity. It involves giving it your all on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike while wearing the mask to collect the necessary data.

Of course, if you’re not up for a lab test, there are also indirect methods like submaximal tests that can give you a rough estimate.

But let’s be real – it’s like trying to guess the depth of the ocean by just looking at the surface waves. If you’re serious about improving your endurance, you’ll want to dive deeper and get an actual measurement. And who knows, you might just discover that you have the VO2 Max of a champion like Kilian Jornet or Espen Harald Bjerke.

The VO2 Max Mask Testing Protocol

The VO2 Max Mask Testing Protocol is the most reliable way to get an actual reading of your VO2 Max, but fair warning: it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ll start at a warm-up pace and then gradually increase the intensity every few minutes. Resistance, speed, incline…you name it, the machine will throw it at you.

Next, you keep pushing it further and harder until you reach exhaustion. This is the threshold intensity point—measured by the equipment and recorded as a number.

At this point, your body switches from aerobic training to anaerobic training. This means that your body has switched from using oxygen to generate energy to glycogen or creatine phosphate for fuel.

Typically, you’ll reach your VO2Max when oxygen consumption remains constant at a steady state despite an increase in training intensity. But here’s the downside: direct testing is the most accurate, but accuracy isn’t cheap.

If you’re in a pinch, you can also get a reading of your VO2 max by using other methods that don’t require expensive lab equipment.

Let’s look at a few alternatives.

2.  Submaximal VO2 Max Tests– Calculating Aerobic Capacity the Easy Way

While they may not be as accurate as laboratory tests, submaximal VO2 max tests are useful for providing a rough idea of aerobic capacity.

Let’s explain a few.

Note –You’ll need a stopwatch to keep track of time when performing these VO2 max tests

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to cross-country running

The Cooper Method

Coaches and fitness aficionados widely use the Cooper 12-minute run Test as it requires little equipment and it offers a rough yet very reliable estimate of maximal oxygen consumption.

This method was developed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, a leading authority on aerobic fitness and exercise science, to measure the VO2Max of military staff.

After thorough research, Dr. Cooper found a high correlation between the distance an individual could run or walk and their Vo2 max.

This test requires minimal equipment and can be done almost anywhere, making it a favorite of coaches and fitness enthusiasts alike. To perform the Cooper test, all you need is a flat surface or track at a stadium with a precisely measured distance.

The VO2 Max Testing Protocol

Warm up for 10 minutes. You can briskly walk for 5 minutes, then do a set of dynamic stretches to get your body ready.

Next, start the stopwatch, and run as hard as you can for 12 minutes. Last up, record the distance covered to the nearest 10 meters. (Use the track, roughly 400m/437 yards per lap, to work out your overall distance). 

Then compare and contrast your results.

While this test offers only a rough estimate of your VO2 max levels, it’s a great starting point for anyone looking to improve their aerobic fitness. So, grab your stopwatch and give it a try – who knows, you might surprise yourself.

Example: 

Let me tell you about Mike; he’s a regular guy who’s passionate about fitness and decided to test his aerobic capacity by trying out the Cooper 12-minute run Test.

He warmed up for 10 minutes and then ran his heart out for 12 minutes, aiming to cover as much distance as possible. And boy, did he impress himself! At the end of the test, Mike had run 2.2 miles, which is about nine laps around a standard track.

So, Mike’s VO2 max calculation was the next step, and he did it in a jiffy. Since 2.2 miles equals 3600 meters, he used a simple calculation: VO2 Max = 3600 –504.9/44.73 = 69.19 ml/kg/m. That’s a pretty good VO2 max, don’t you think? I bet Mike was thrilled with the results and motivated to keep pushing his limits!

Cooper VO2 max

The Astrand Treadmill Test

Have you heard of the Astrand test?. Originally designed in the 1950s by Per-Olof Astrand, this test is a straightforward way to measure your VO2 max levels.

All you have to do is keep running at a steady pace with a 2.5 percent increase in gradient every two minutes until you can’t take it anymore. It’s like running a marathon up a mountain, except you do it on a treadmill in a lab.

To perform the Astrand test, you’ll need a treadmill that can change speeds and inclines, a stopwatch, and an assistant to record your time (or a friend to cheer you on and bring you water).

The Astrand Testing Protocol

The testing protocol goes like this: start the treadmill at five mph (or eight km) and run for three minutes with no incline.

Then, increase the incline to 2.5 percent while maintaining the same speed. Every two minutes after that, increase the incline by 2.5 percent but try to keep your running pace the same until you reach exhaustion.

Once you finally collapse on the treadmill in a puddle of sweat, record your time in minutes and fractions of a minute. For example, if you can only keep it up for 15 minutes and 45 seconds, you’d record 15.75 (15 minutes plus 60 divided by 45 seconds). Then, it’s time to calculate your score using the following equation: (Time x 1.44) + 14.99.

But wait, there’s more! The fun part of the Astrand test is interpreting your score. If your score is higher than your age, congratulations! You’re in excellent shape. If your score is around your age, that’s still pretty good, but you might want to consider upping your fitness game. And if your score is lower than your age, well, let’s just say it’s time to hit the gym.

So, let’s say you’re a 27-year-old woman, and you managed to make it through the Astrand test in 13 minutes and 30 seconds. That’s 13.50, so you’d calculate: 13.50 x 1.44 = 19.44. Add 14.99 to that, and your final score is 34.43. Not too shabby, but maybe you can aim for a higher score next time.

The Rockport Fitness Walking Test

First, let’s start with some context. In the 80s, a group of mad scientists from the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst came up with a genius way to test fitness using just a track, a pair of running shoes, a stopwatch, and an accurate scale. And voila! The Rockport walking test was born.

You can easily self-administer the test, and it’s well-suited for sedentary individuals.

To perform the Rockport test, you’ll need the following:

  • A level 1-mile (or 1.6 km) track (not a treadmill). High school tracks are great for this. Keep in mind that on full lap within the inside lane equals 400 meters.
  • A proper pair of walking shoes
  • A stopwatch
  • An accurate scale.

Now, you might be thinking, “But wait, I don’t have access to a fancy track!” No worries, my friend. You can easily use a mapping app to create a one-mile course on a smooth, flat, and unbarred route. Just make sure to avoid ditches, stop signs, or any pesky hills that could throw off your results. Even a slight incline can make a difference!

The Testing Protocol

Once you’ve found your perfect track, it’s time to start the test. But before you get too excited, make sure to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes. Nobody wants to pull a muscle during this scientific endeavor!

Now, it’s time to hit that start button and start walking as fast as you can. But don’t get too crazy with the power walking or speed walking. Just keep it steady and consistent. Once you’ve reached the end of that glorious mile, stop that stopwatch and record your results in decimals. Simple, right?

But wait, there’s more! You should also take your pulse rate and record your heart rate. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy heart rate monitor. Just count the number of heartbeats for 30 seconds and multiply by two. Easy peasy!

And now, for the moment of truth. It’s time to calculate your VO2 max using a not-so-simple formula. But fear not; you can do it! Just plug in your weight, age, gender, time, and heart rate, and let the magic happen. Your score will tell you just how fit you really are.

Scoring The Test

Once you have your results, input them into this not-so-simple formula:

VO2 Max  = 132.853 – (0.0769 × Weight) – (0.3877 × Age) + (6.315 × Gender) – (3.2649 × Time) – (0.1565 × Heart rate).

Still want more V02 Max tests?

There are many methods for estimating VO2 max scores and different types of VO2 max charts.

Maybe you heard a similar term but different methods.

Here are some of the most reliable ones.

These should be suitable for any fitness and lifestyle—even if you can’t walk:

How to Increase Your VO2 Max

Now that we have the theory out of the way let’s look at how you can improve your aerobic capacity.

Sure, simply increasing your VO2 Max won’t automatically turn you into the Flash, but it’s a crucial step in the right direction. And lucky for you, I’ve got the inside scoop on the fastest and legal way to achieve it.

So, what’s the fastest (and legal) way to improve your VO2 Max?

Is it:

(a) Diet

(b) Sleep

(c) Steady-state cardio training

(d) High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

(e) Altitude training

If you answered (d), you’re on the right path.

According to research, High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, is the ideal way of improving your peak oxygen intake, as it challenges your cardiovascular system to work to maximum effort.

The more you push yourself (higher RPE ), the better.

HIIT workouts consist of performing intervals of intense aerobic exercise, like running, spinning, or swimming, taking a recovery break, then repeating the whole cycle for a specific amount of time.

Picture yourself sprinting, spinning, or swimming like an Olympic champion, with intervals of intense aerobic exercise followed by a recovery break.

Sample VO2 Max Workout Routines

Here are two specific VO2max sessions you can implement to improve your overall score. Just make sure to warm up and cool down at an easy pace for 10 to 15 minutes each before and after any of the below routines.

  • The Track Workout – Perform five 1000-meter (or two laps and a half) near maximum capacity. Recover for two to three minutes between each interval.
  • The Treadmill Incline Workout – Increase the incline to 8 percent and complete five two-minute intervals at maximum capacity. Remember to pace yourself, so you don’t burn out.

Be Careful

Slow and gradual is the key when it comes to improving aerobic capacity. VO2 max training is no easy walk in the park as it challenges your body like nothing else.

But if you stay consistent and train regularly, you’ll reap the benefits soon.

Another note.

Avoid doing VO2max workouts back-to-back.

Instead, plan easy or rest days between sessions to allow your body to recover and adapt.

As you get fitter, increase the number of intervals you perform, the intervals length, or take less time for recovery.

Additional Resource – The benefits of running

Vo2 Max Charts Explained – The Conclusion

There you have it! Now not only do you know what’s a good VO2 max but also how to improve it. The vo2 max charts are just a bonus!

If you’re serious about reaching your full athletic potential, then V02Max should be one of your supporting tools for measuring your fitness progress over time.

Of course, you still need to back up your fitness routine with a proper diet, good technique, consistency, and all of that.

Nothing is an accident.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong

David D.

The 101 Best Running Tips and Hacks of All Time

If you’re serious about reaching your full running potential, then you’re in the right place.

In today’s post, I’m sharing more than 100 running tips designed to help make your workout routine a complete success.

Follow these practical, simple, and proven strategies, and you’ll reach your full running potential in no time.

Let’s get this ball rolling…

but first things first, let’s take a look some of the benefits running has to offer:

1. Running Helps you Lose Weight

This is the main reason I took up running, and still one of the most common reasons people start running in the first place.

Running will help lose the extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

In fact, for a 200-pound person running can burn more than 900 calories in an hour.

That’s huge.

What’s more?

Research has also shown that running increases the “after burn”, or what’s known as EPOC, standing for excess post oxygen consumption, which is the number of calories you burn after a workout.

Running is also a far superior form of cardio exercise when it comes to weight loss.

According to research from the Medical College of Wisconsin, people who run at a hard exertion level burned off roughly 800 calories per hour—more calories than when opting for the stationary bike, the stair climber, or the rowing machine.

But here is the little caveat.

As you already know, weight loss is a numbers’ game—meaning you will only lose weight if you burn more calories than you take in.

Therefore, to lose weight while running, you need to back your exercise regime with the right diet; otherwise, your results will be limited.

2. Running Makes you Happy

Study suggests that regular exercise is an efficient form of treatment for mild-to-moderate cases of depression and anxiety.

According to research, exercise—and running in particular—can help you relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, reinvigorating you from the inside out.

How does running help?

Well, according to the current scientific belief, running (and other forms of exercise) stimulates the release of good-feel brain chemicals known as endorphins, causing what’s commonly known as “runner’s high,” while reducing the release of the chemicals that exacerbate depression.

Another study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, exercise can help people cope with stress and anxiety after completing a workout session.

Therefore, if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or other emotional/mental issues, then you might need to take up running instead of relying exclusively on the pills.

3. Running Relieves Stress

As you already know, stress is blamed for all sorts of health issues, such as obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer and so on.

Hence, anything you can do to tame the beast of stress is surely welcomed.

Good news is that running might just be what the doctor ordered.

In fact, if you are looking to curb anxiety and reduce stress, then exercising for at least an hour is roughly three times better than sticking to the couch, according to research from the University of Georgia.

While running, your body releases mood-boosting and good-feel hormones, such as endorphins,  and you increase your heart rate, which reverses damage to the brain caused by stressful experiences, according to research.

Furthermore,  running can also slash your risks of developing tension headaches and migraines, according to a study.

Not only that, running will also give you the opportunity to get outside, breathe clean air, clear your mind, and feel much better about yourself.

So instead of sitting on the couch and staring aimlessly at your laptop, try taking up running.

Additional Resource – Running during lunch break

4. Running is Good for the Joints and Bones

Of course, running is a cardiovascular exercise per excellence, but according to science, running also strengthens the bones and the joints—especially the knees.

How?

First of all, running boosts the amount of oxygenated blood that makes its way to your joints, thereby increasing oxygen delivery and toxins removal.

Furthermore,  running also strengthens the ligaments surrounding the joints in ways that lower-impact exercise routines ignore, which can help you prevent joint pain.

And if you still believe in the myth of “running is bad for the knees,” then you really need to drop it and realize that current research found no link between running and arthritis.

The fact is, running might even help protect you from joint problems later on in your life, according to a famous long-term study conducted the Stanford University and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2008.

Still, if you want to err on the right side when it comes to running and knee problems and/or pain, then you need to run in the right footwear, develop proper running technique, progress gradually and remember to listen to your body the entire time—essential elements of injury free running.

5. Running Boosts Mental Faculties

Running also might help guard you against Alzheimer and other brain related troubles.

According to a study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, there is irrefutable evidence showing that consistent aerobic exercise helps beat age-related mental decline, especially when it comes to vital functions such as task switching, problem-solving and working memory.

In fact, according to a study published in Perceptual and Motor Skills, subjects performed 20 percent better on standard memory tests after completing a short treadmill session than they did before working out.

Plus, their ability to solve complex problems also increased by 20 percent.

What’s more?

Well, research has also shown that running promotes neurogenesis, the process of the growth of fresh nerve cells.

6. Running Reduces the Risks of Cancer

Don’t get me wrong.

I didn’t say that running cures cancer, but according to plenty of research, hitting the pavement on a regular basis might help prevent this notorious killer.

In fact, a review of more than 170 epidemiological studies has linked regular exercise to a lower risk of certain cancer, according to the Journal of Nutrition.

According to study, even the simple activity of walking, at least, seven hours per week can help women reduce the likelihood of breast cancer by up to 14 percent than their more sedentary counterparts.

And for those who opted out for more vigorous exercise, mainly running or swimming, for about six hours a week,  were able to reduce their risk by roughly 25 percent.

So it’s really a game changer when it comes to cancer.

7. Running Leads to Better Sleep

Having sleep problems? Running might help.

According to research, running promotes higher quality sleep.

In fact, those who run on a consistent basis in the morning showed a betterment in objective sleep, according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Furthermore, research concluded that people with sleeping problems were able to improve the quality of their sleep after starting a regular exercise program, according to a study conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Another study published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity found that people reported sleeping better and feeling more energized during the day if they get at least 160 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise during the week.

So if you are the insomniac type, then the cure might lay with your running shoes, and probably not with a prescription pill.

8. Running Protects you Against Heart Disease

As you might already know, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of sudden death in the US.

The good news is taking up running is, hands down, one of the best things you can do protect you against heart diseases and reduce the risk of mortality.

According to a study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, regular runners have a 45 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, and running for no more than five minutes every day can slash the risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly a half.

How?

There a plenty of ways that running helps cut the risk of sudden death, including boosting HDL (or what’s known as the good cholesterol) levels, increasing lung function, reducing blood pressure and enhancing blood sugar sensitivity, along with a host other cardiovascular benefits.

9. Running Adds More Years to your Life

In the longevity circles, running has always been touted as one of the best ways for elongating lifespan and living a healthier and more active life in the later years.

And there is an abundance of studies to support these claims.

In fact, according to a long-term study conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine, researchers examined the impact of running on health and found that after two decades of research,  regular runners had a significantly lower mortality rate compared to non-runners with about 80 percent of runners still alive, while only 65 percent of non-runners were, after the conclusion of the study.

According to research, runners are regularly found to enjoy and experience a longer lifespan and are found to live on average three years longer than their non-runners counterparts.

So if you are serious about adding years, quality years, to your life, then you should take up running.

10. You Don’t Need to Run a Lot

As you already see, running has a lot to offer.

But that’s not the whole story.

To add more icing on the cake, study after study has shown that you don’t to become an ultra distance runner and be running +100 miles per week to reap the physical and health benefits of the sport.

The fact is, hitting the pavement for no more than 50 minutes per week—the equivalent of two 5K training sessions or a 6-mile distance run—is enough to protect your body from risks of arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, and some cancers, leading to an improvement in a runner’s longevity by three to six years, according to a meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

In other words, it will only take a little bit of running per week to reap the optimal health benefits of the sport.

Better Memory Function

For starters, running may help guard you against Alzheimer and other brain-related troubles, according to a study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Research that looked at roughly 153,000 runners and walkers for over a decade  concluded that runners who logged in more than 15 miles each week were 40 percent less likely to die from Alzheimer’s.

In another study reported in Perceptual and Motor Skills, subjects improved their performance on standard memory tests by up to 20 percent following a short treadmill session, compared to pre-training tests.

The subjects’ ability to solve complex problems also increased by 20 percent.

Stress Reduction

Stress has severe adverse effects on your emotional state, behavior, and body.

Negative consequences include intense headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, anger issues, weight gain, sleep problems, etc.

Here’s the good news.

Thanks to the endorphins release, running is a popular stress buster, and one of the reasons so many people hit the pavement.

And it’s not just anecdotes.

Research conducted at the Technische Universität München (TUM), and published in the Journal of Neuroscience has put the endorphin theory to closer scrutiny.

In the research, ten subjects’ brains were scanned both before and after a two-hour long distance run using a Positron Emission Tomography (PET)—and it was revealed that their prefrontal and limbic regions secreted high amounts of endorphins.

Why this matters, you might be wondering?

Endorphins, in case you never heard about them, are one of the so-called happiness hormones that are secreted by the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

These are linked to elevated moods, and better alertness and cognitive functioning.

The more endorphins released by the brain, the more significant the effect.

And apparently, running stimulates the release of these neurochemicals into the brain.

A good thing if you ask me.

Mood Elevation

Research reported in Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise revealed that runners have high levels of tryptophan, a brain biochemical that helps move messages throughout the nervous system and is in charge of many functions, including the production of mood-elevating neurotransmitters known as serotonin.

People with low serotonin levels typically suffer from insomnia, anxiety, depression, and overheating issues.

Classic antidepressant medication work by keeping the levels of these neurotransmitters higher and longer in the system.

Wanna know the best part?

Unlike other chemical shortcuts to happiness—medication, running does not come with a comedown.

Smarter Connections

Research has  revealed that exercise enhances your executive functions—or your higher level thinks skills.

These include (but not limited to) mental focus, task switching, inhibitory control, etc.

As you can already tell, these skills are of the utmost importance of leading a successful life.

They’re key to problem-solving, organizing, planning, and regulating behavior.

What’s more?

Running also makes you smarter as it triggers the growth of new nerve cells, neurogenesis—and blood vessels, angiogenesis.

Put together, these help increase brain tissue volume, according to research conducted at the University of Maryland.

In the study, the researchers found an increase in the volume of the hippocampus—the brain region associated with learning and memory—in those who exercised regularly when compared to sedentary peers.

This may not seem as much until you realize, once again, that brain size isn’t known for increasing at any point in adulthood.

We start to lose brain tissue as early as our late 20’s.

Faster Thinking

Do you want to be faster at solving problems and remembering things? Exercise might be what you need.

According to research published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, both low-intensity aerobic running, and high-intensity sprinting can enhance your capacity to learn and recall new information and vocabulary.

This is possible thanks to the increased levels of the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), and the neurotransmitter catecholamine, both heavily involved in learning and brain cognitive functions, research shows.

What’s more?

Research has also revealed that older adults with plenty of aerobic exercise experience have better white matter integrity than their non-active peers.

Improved Sleep

Sleep issues affect millions of adults.

Surveys reveal that roughly 50 percent of people aged 50 and older suffer from symptoms of sleep deprivation and other serious sleep disorders.

And yes, you guessed that right.

Running can also help improve your sleep quality.

It might even help you overcome common sleep problems.

Research backs these claims up.

A study out of the Journal of Adolescent Health revealed that those who followed a regular morning running routine showed improvement in objective sleep.

A further study reported in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity revealed that subjects reported sleeping better and felt more energized during the day when getting at least 160 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise during the week.

Research has also found that regular exercise, not just running, help improve daytime alertness, regulate circadian rhythms, and faster onset of deeper sleep.

The 101 Best Running Tips and Hacks of All Time

without further ado, here’s a list of the best running tips ever.

  1. Get the Right Shoes

Shoes are the most important running equipment.

Period.

A proper shoe not only makes running feel more comfortable, but also help improve your performance and ward off all sorts of injuries, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and foot pain.

How do you pick the right shoes?

The golden rule is to go for a shoe that feels comfortable.

That’s the conclusion of a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The right shoes have to match your natural foot shape and biomechanics.

As a rule of thumb, leave at least a thumbnail’s distance (roughly 1 cm, or ½ an inch) from the end of your longest toes (while flat on the floor) to the end of the shoe.

In other words, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes, with plenty of room to spare.

For the full guide on how to choose the right running shoes, see my post here.

  1. Visit a Specialty Running Store

Don’t know what it takes to pick a proper pair?

Head to a specialty running store dedicated specifically to running-related gear, accessories, and gadgets.

Once you’re there, have your foot type and gait analyzed by the professional staff.

That’s how you’ll find out things you might not know on your own – you might be a severe overpronator or underpronator who needs trainers with a bit of more support than the typical (mostly neutral) runner.

They’ll know and explain what you need.

When you go shoe shopping, treat their staff the way you would a physician.

Be willing to answer all sorts of questions regarding your training goals and personal preferences.

It’s worth the extra cost you’ll pay there to get a true “shoe fitting” service.

  1. Wear the Right Clothing

Once you have the right running shoes, add on some basic running clothing and apparel.

You’ll need shirts for different seasons, preferably made of moisture-wicking technical fabrics that can help pull the sweat away from your skin and keep you dry and comfortable in the process.

Some of the best fabrics include Coolmax and Dri-fit.

Special apparel costs a little bit more than casual clothing, but you’ll find that it’s worth every penny — especially if you’re serious about staying comfortable for the long haul.

You’ll need a couple of pairs of bottoms: shorts, tights, pants, or even a skirt if you find that more comfortable.

And female runners need a good sports bra that both provides support and reduces the risk of chafing.

Other items to consider include (but are not limited to) running sunglasses, hats, hydration belts, sports watches, heart monitors, and more.

Here’s the full guide to cold weather running.

  1. Opt for Smart Socks

The golden rule on running is that you should not run in cotton socks. Cotton absorbs and retains moisture, and since your feet will sweat, running in cotton will leave your feet soggy and moist.

This leads to the two side effects of moisture and friction —calluses and blisters.

Instead, go for technical running socks.

These wick moisture away from your feet, keeping them comfortable and relatively dry.

Smart socks are made from either a blend of natural fibers such as wool, or from synthetic fibers such as nylon, acrylic, or Coolmax.

You can also try compression socks.

  1. Have More than One Pair

According to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, runners who rotate their shoes among various models during a 6-month period had a 40 percent lower risk of incurring a running injury than those who ran in the same pair through the same period.

If you’re serious about reducing your risk of injury, train in more than one pair.

  1. Clean Your Shoes

If you take care of your running shoes, they’ll return the favor and take good care of your feet.

They’ll also last longer.

Failure to do so will mean that your shoes will lose their cushioning properties sooner than they need to: neglect wears them out prematurely.

Here are a few shoe-cleaning rules:

  • Do not toss your running shoes in the washer. Wash them manually instead.
  • Use an old toothbrush or nail brush and mild soap — preferably an anti-grease soap. A bit of water added in will wash away stains, dirt, and mud.
  • Do not toss your shoes in the dryer. Dry them in the open air under direct sunlight.
  1. Replace Your Running Shoes

Sooner or later, your trainers will wear out and lose their shock-absorption properties.

That’s when you need to ditch them and get a new pair.

Here’s the bad news.

As far as I know, there’s no proven formula that tells you exactly when to replace your running shoes.

That’s because there are many factors that impact running shoe lifespan, including:

  • Running surfaces
  • Runner weight
  • Weekly mileage
  • Training intensity
  • Running biomechanics
  • The climate you run in

As a rough guide, a running shoe should last you between 500 and 600 miles. Once your shoes go beyond this range you’re risking discomfort and pain, as well as injury.

My best advice is to use an app like MapMyRun to keep tabs on the mileage of a specific pair, or you can do it the old-fashioned way, using pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet.

Additional resource – Guide to running lingo

  1. Tie Your Shoes the Right Way

Tying their shoes is something that well-accomplished 5-year-olds can do with ease. But there are many different ways to lace trainers, and different techniques can not only make them more comfortable, but also help avoid all sorts of discomfort.

According to a study conducted at the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany, shoe-lacing technique has a huge influence on impact force, pronation, and foot biomechanics.

In this infographic, you’ll find a lineup of top knots to learn.

Infographic source: RunRepeat.Com

Bonus tip: You can also invest in a pair of Lock Laces.

  1. Dress For 10 Degrees Warmer Than What the Thermometer Says

Running during the winter has its challenges, but if you overdress, you’ll get in trouble.

For winter running, you need to aim for warmth, but without making yourself sweat so much that you get a chill.

That’s why I highly recommend that you dress as if it’s 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it is outside. You should feel slightly cold when you take your first few steps outside. Once you get moving you’ll warm up quite a bit, so don’t worry about feeling cold at first.

  1. Try YakTrax

As a winter runner, you need good traction to prevent sliding and slipping — especially when road conditions are freezing and/or snowy.

One thing you can do to make sure that you stay on your feet is to try YakTrax. It’s a traction device that meets the needs of runners during wintertime. They improve control and stability when there’s snow, sleet, and ice underfoot.

  1. Buy Running Garments On Sale

Are you a runner on a tight budget?

Buy your athletic garments at the end of the season.

As with any other store, running specialty stores put sale items on clearance as the weather changes to make room for the new models and styles that are coming in.

I’ve purchased some of my favorite summer running clothes in late autumn or winter when it was too cold to run in them, and my favorite cold-weather running gear when the temperature outside was hot

There’s nothing wrong with last season’s styles. They’re generally made from the same materials, and running clothes are performance tools, not fashion statements.

For the best running shoe deals on the web, check ShoeKicker.com. It’s a great website that scours the internet looking for the best deals.

  1. Use GPS Tracking Apps

Being able to measure your day-to-day performance is a great way to reach the next athletic level. After all, if you can’t measure, you can’t improve it.

Fortunately, advances in mobile apps mean that you can challenge yourself each time you head out the door. Running apps are perfect for beginning runners who need a little bit of a push and a way to monitor their progress, as well as for elite runners trying to stay in peak shape throughout the racing season.

That’s why, whether you’re training for your first 5K or your 11th marathon, your smartphone (or any other “smart” device) can be an excellent coach.

Here are a few of some of the best apps out there:

  • Runtastic
  • RunKeeper
  • Strava
  • MapMyRun
  • Edmundo
  • MyFitnessPal
  1. Use a Heart Rate Monitor

Using a heart monitor is like having a coach along for every run. When used right, it can show you, down to the stride, how hard or easy you are working. It can help you find your running sweet spot and prevent overtraining or undertraining in the process.

Here are the four main heart rate training zones you need to be aware of. Plan your workouts within each zone for a well-rounded training program

Zone 1—The recovery or energy efficient zone, it’s roughly 60 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate, or MHR.

Zone 2—The aerobic heart rate zone, it’s roughly 70 to 80 percent of MHR.

Zone 3—The anaerobic zone, it’s about 80 to 90 percent of MHR.

Zone 4—The VO2Max or Red Zone, it’s approximately 90 to 99.99 percent of MHR

Additional resource – How long is a 100-mile race?

  1. Protect Your Electronics

If you do a lot of running in the rain with a non-waterproof phone or GPS watch, then you need to protect your electronic devices from water damage.

Here’s how:

Store your device(s) in a lightweight zip-lock bag. The bag should to be securely sealed to prevent water from leaking in.

You can also cloak your device in plastic wrap, leaving no “skin” exposed. When wrapping, make sure that the charger port is well covered.

What I love about using plastic wrap is that it’s dense enough to protect against moisture but thin enough that you’ll still be able to use the touchscreen through the plastic.

Additional resource  – Choosing a running partner

  1. Manage Your Keys

If all the jingling and jangling of running with keys in your pocket drives you nuts, you’re not alone. Here’s my favorite solution:

Take the key off of its keychain, unlace your shoe a notch, then slide one of your shoelaces through the key and put it on the string. Tuck the key under the other lace before retying your shoe.

To keep the key from bouncing around, tie your shoe using a double knot and secure the other end of the key under the crisscrossed laces.

This technique will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your run.

If you don’t want to do this, you can put a rubber band around your keys before tossing them in your pocket, or try putting them on a shoelace and wearing them like a necklace.

  1. Long Walks First

If you’ve been exercising regularly for the last 3 to 6 months and you’re already in good shape, you may choose to skip this step, but if you’re a real beginner, this is the most important step for building the right foundation.

Before you start running, do plenty of walks to prep your body. Start out with 30 minutes of brisk walking, then build it up to a full hour, three times a week for a full month.

By week four you should be walking for at least 60 minutes at a brisk pace three times per week. Now you’re ready to move onto a walk/run schedule.

  1. Walk/Run

The walk/run method is ideal for helping new trainees get fit without getting hurt. The key here is to gradually stretch your comfort zone without overextending it.

Here’s how to do it

Start with a proper warm-up of 10 minutes of walking at a brisk pace. This will get your heart rate up and the blood flowing to your muscles.

Next, jog slowly for 20 to 30 seconds. Slow it down and walk for 30 seconds to a full minute, then jog again for another 20 seconds.

Keep repeating the cycle for 15 to 20 minutes, then end your session with a 10-minute cooldown.

If everything is going well, increase your running time by 5 to 10 seconds from one session to the next. Do these increases gradually, staying within your fitness level the entire time.

  1. Give C25K a Try

Newcomers to running or those returning to it after a long layoff should give the C25k app a try.

This handy app offers a nine-week training plan that can help you train for a 5K race (roughly 3.1 miles) in a gradual and safe manner. You only need to commit 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week.

Additional Resource – Running during lunch break

  1. Start on the Treadmill

The treadmill is the perfect tool for building endurance without putting too much stress on the body. It gives you full control over your speed and incline, and allows you to adjust your speed and intensity to match your fitness level.

You really can’t overtrain on the treadmill unless you’re doing so on purpose, ignoring your body’s signals of pain and discomfort.

Here’s the workout routine you need:

Warm up for 10 minutes. Start with a 10-minute walk at 1.5 to 2 mph, then jog for three minutes at a pace of 2.5 to 3 mph for next three minutes. Make sure to practice good running form.

Increase the speed to 3.5 to 4 mph and stick to this relatively fast pace for one full minute before slowing back down to a walk for another 4 minutes.

Increase your speed to 3 mph and jog for three minutes, then run for one minute, picking up your pace to 4 to 5 mph (or even faster if your fitness allows it). Back off if your body hurts or your form starts to suffer.

Finish off with a 10-minute cooldown walk.

  1. The Talk Test

As a beginning runner, make sure that you’re running at what is known as a conversational pace. This means you should be able to speak in full sentences on-the-go without gasping for air. Want to test yourself?

If you can recite the Pledge of Allegiance without too much difficulty, you’re not running too hard.

By sticking to this rule, you’ll build your aerobic endurance based on the right foundation, and this will set you up for success later on.

The only exception to this rule is when doing any sort of speed work training. Speedwork includes sprints, fartleks, hill reps, or racing. These are not moves you should concern yourself within the early stages of your training.

  1. Run For More

After three to four weeks of using the run/walk method, start lengthening your running segments until you can run at a comfortable pace for 30 minutes straight.

Depending on your fitness level and training consistency, this may take you a while. But if you stick with it long enough, you’ll get there.

Once you can run for 30 minutes straight without much trouble, feel free to take your running to the next level. That’s when you’re going to start seeing some amazing results.

Once you’ve increased your running time to an hour or more, you will be in good enough shape that you’ll be able to sign up for 5k races, do interval or hill training, and much more.

  1. Avoid The Rueful Toos

Runners who do too much too soon without giving their body enough time to adapt to their new training load will eventually run into trouble. It’s one of the most common mistakes beginners make.

Don’t fall into the trap of “too much, too soon, too often, too fast, with too little rest.” Instead, build a solid base of easy, short, aerobic distances before you up the ante with speed, distance or hill training.

Even if you feel like you can do more during the first few months of training, rein that temptation in. The temporary sense of accomplishment you might get is not worth the risk of a painful injury or a burnout.

  1. Dynamic Warm-up

A good warm-up is the backbone of effective training, especially when doing hard, intense runs such as interval sessions or hill runs.

Warming up the right way can improve your performance as well as reduce the risk of injury.

Here’s a simple routine you can try.

Do at least ten reps of each exercise below for two to three rounds.

  • High kicks
  • Lunge with a twist
  • Inchworms
  • Hip stretch with a twist
  • Butt kicks

Or check my full routine here.

  1. Cool Down Right

The cooldown is just as vital to your performance and fitness as the warm-up.

A proper cool down can help transition blood from the working muscles to the normal resting flow, but when you stop on the spot, blood can start to pool in the legs and feet, leading to dizziness, vertigo, and discomfort in some people.

Here’s how to cool down properly. Jog or walk for at least 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your training intensity). Then do some post-run strength, mobility, and stretching exercises.

  1. Stretch After Your Runs

The benefits of stretching are a hotly debated topic in both the scientific and running world, but I still recommend stretching as a way of preventing injury and improving performance.

Here a few benefits of stretching:

  • Improves muscular coordination
  • Reduces lower back pain
  • Enhances posture
  • Alleviates post-run soreness
  • Increases range of motion

Whatever you do, don’t stretch before a run like we used to do in high school gym class. Studies show that static stretching before a workout can compromise performance and may lead to injury (think muscle tears).

Aim to stretch for at least 10 to 20 minutes after a workout, focusing on the main running muscle groups including the hips, the glutes, the hamstrings, the quads, and the calves.

Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, and breathe deeply into your stretch to release any tension or discomfort.

  1. Learn Lexicology

As you get more into running, sooner or later you’re going to run into some technical jargon. As is true in most sports, running has its own verbiage that you need to get good at if you’re going to be serious about calling yourself a runner.

In other words, you have to talk the talk.

Here is my full list of running jargon, where you’ll find more than 160 definitions of most common running terms.

  1. Have a Plan

“If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.”

That quote might sound like a cliche, but that does not make it any less true, especially when it comes to running. Following a training plan will help you remove the guesswork from your workout routine.

Pick a training plan. You can find an array of intricate plans online, with something for everyone. All in all, the best plan is a well-rounded plan, whether you’re a recreational runner doing it for health and fitness or an elite marathoner hoping to optimize your performance.

Include the following five elements in your training program:

  • Interval workouts
  • Tempo runs
  • Hills runs
  • Long runs (or LSDs)
  • Easy run (for recovery).
  1. Add a Long Run

Longs runs are vital for training. They increase stamina, build proper form, burn mad calories and will get you in tip-top running shape for any race or distance. And adding long runs into a running plan is not that complicated.

After at least six months of regular training, increase your longest running session—typically, your weekend workout—by up to 10 percent from one week to the next. Keep doing this until you’re running for two and a half to three hours.

Do your long runs at approximately 60 to 70 percent of your 5K pace—that should be a comfortable pace. To make sure you’re doing LSD runs right, do a quick talk test whenever you feel you might be working too hard.

  1. Speed Work

Whether you’re looking to outpace your running buddy or aiming to beat your current PB at a given distance, speedwork is the way to go. It can also increase your range of motion, improve your conditioning, burn mad calories and build muscle mass, all of which can make you a stronger and fitter runner.

Here are the main speedwork sessions you need to add to your training schedule:

  • Classic 200m sprints
  • Tabata sprints
  • 400m laps around a track
  • Short and medium hill sprints
  • Fartlek sprints

As a rule, aim for quality over quantity. Speedwork should account for no more than 20 percent of your weekly total mileage.

  1. Sprint

Long sessions have their benefits, but to take your running to the next level, sprinting is of the utmost importance.

A form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), sprinting can help you burn three times more calories than steady-state running. According to studies, it also boosts your metabolism and helps develop killer lower body strength and speed.

What I really like about sprinting is that it takes just half an hour to complete an entire session. What’s not to love?

Here’s how to proceed:

Start with a proper warm-up. Do five minutes of slow jogging followed by dynamic movements such as knee circles, inchworms, lateral lunges and walking lunges.

Then go for your first sprint, running at 70 percent of your top speed for 30 seconds. Take a minute to recover and then do it again, running your next sprint at 80 percent of your max effort.

Shoot for eight to ten sprints, then finish off the workout with a decent cooldown. Jog slowly for five minutes, then stretch your whole lower body.

  1. Tempo Run

Also known as lactate threshold, LT, or threshold runs, tempo workouts are faster-paced runs that are vital for boosting metabolic fitness.

The primary purpose for tempo runs is to increase your lactate threshold level, the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace.

As a general rule, your tempo workouts should feel comfortably hard. A good example is a comfortably hard and sustained 3- to 4-mile run.

Here’s how to proceed:

For a five-mile tempo workout, start by warming up with a 5-minute slow jog, then run a mile at 20 seconds slower than your half-marathon pace.

For the remainder of the workout, pick up the pace every mile by five to 10 seconds until you’re running the final mile 20 seconds faster than your half marathon pace.

  1. Tackle the Hills

Hills build leg strength, boost lung capacity, improve running form and reduce the rate of injury. For these reasons and more, do not avoid hill workouts, but make sure you train using proper form. Your uphill running should mimic your sprinting form.

Here’s how:

  • Run tall, with your core engaged and your back flat. Do not lean forward.
  • Engage your hamstrings, quads, and glutes on the way up. Make sure to push from the hip while engaging your entire lower body to get up the hill.
  • Feel free to walk on the steepest sections of any given hill.
  1. Train Negative

If you want to improve your running speed/time, practice negative splitting. This means running the second half of your session a bit faster than the first.

In the ideal negative split run, once you reach the midpoint of the workout each mile gets increasingly faster than the last. As long as you finish the last mile faster than the first, you’re in a good place.

Here’s an example of a 4-mile session:

After a thorough warm-up, run your first two miles at an easy and controlled pace—shoot for 15 to 30 seconds slower than your average pace for that distance. Once you’ve reached the midpoint, pick up your speed to a 10K or 5K pace, then switch to maximum speed for the last 100 to 200 feet of your run.

  1. Try Fartleks

Fartlek is a Swedish term that means speed play. It’s a non-structured form of interval training developed in the early 1930s.

The primary purpose of a fartlek workout is to increase your speed and endurance in the most unpredictable and playful way possible.

Here’s how to proceed:

Start your workout with a 10-minute warm-up jog, then sight an object in the distance: it can be a tree, a parked car, or a building. Run towards it fast. Once you reach it, slow down and recover. Sight the next object and repeat.

Whatever you do, make it random. Make it fun.

  1. Try Tabata Protocol Runs

Made famous by a 1996 study by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his colleagues, the Tabata protocol is a very specific method of interval training proven to shed body fat and increase performance.

A session consists of twenty seconds of maximum burst (max effort/max reps) followed by ten seconds of recovery.

To do Tabata, sprint for 20 seconds at full speed, then rest for 10 seconds.

You can also up the ante by adding in some bodyweight exercises to make the workout more challenging.

Here’s a simple Tabata protocol to try.

  • Set 1: Sprint at a moderate pace for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Set 2: Do as many push-ups as possible in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Set 3: Sprint for another 20 seconds at max speed. Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Set 4: Do as many squats as possible in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Set 5: Sprint as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.

Rest for two minutes and repeat the whole circuit twice.

  1. Cross Train

Cross training is vital for runners because it can help prevent overuse injuries such as runner’s knee, ITBS, shin splints, and stress fractures, as well as lower back issues, hip, joint and knee pain.

Cross training can also boost your speed, increase your stride length, improve your running form and boost your overall fitness and health level.

Here are eight super-effective training methods to try:

  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Weight training
  • CrossFit
  • Swimming
  • Jumping rope
  • Rowing
  1. Get Explosive

Plyometric training, also known as explosive or jump training, is another excellent cross-training method that research shows can increase running speed and power.

This type of training requires a fast and forceful recruitment of muscles fibers through high velocity, dynamic moves. These are key for building explosive power both on and off the running field.

Here’s a list of some of the best explosive exercises for runners:

  • Squat jumps
  • Box jumps
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Burpees

Here’s my full guide to plyometric training.

  1. Practice Planking

The core is made up of the muscles that connect the upper and lower body. It includes the glutes, lower back, hip, and abdominal muscles.

Your core muscles work in tandem to hold your torso upright and provide stability for your entire kinetic chain while running. That’s why you MUST do a core strengthening routine two to three times a week.

One of the best exercises for runners is the good old planks. I cannot recommend these enough. In addition to building up your core, they’ll also help develop endurance and strength in the shoulders, arms, and back.

Check the following tutorial to help you build and keep good plank form.

  1. Test Yourself

To improve your running, you MUST measure it — otherwise, you’ll have no idea whether you’re progressing.

The best way to measure your fitness progress is to test it.

Check my full guide to fitness testing here.

Here are the main tests you should be taking on a monthly basis:

  • The 400m sprint
  • The one-mile run
  • The Cooper 12-minute test
  • A 5K distance run
  • A 10K distance run
  1. Build the Habit

There’s are few things that feel worse than falling off the fitness wagon after investing so much time into building the right foundation.

That’s why even once you’ve reached your fitness goals, you have to keep your training program going strong. Quit or slack off, and you risk undoing all your hard work—and you don’t want that.

To stay consistent with your new running routine, make sure you turn it into a habit.

Here’s how:

  • Use a calendar and book your running sessions the same way you schedule an important family event or work meeting. If you create a sense of urgency and importance around your run, you’re more likely to carry through.
  • Start running with a friend or training partner. This will boost your motivation and add a sense of accountability to your program. This is vital for consistency.
  • Resolve to run at least three to four times a week for the upcoming 8 to 12 weeks. Do what you have to do never to miss a session.

For my guide on habit formation, check this post.

  1. Set Goals

When it comes to running, it’s vital to have something to work towards regardless of your training aspirations.

Whether your goal is weight loss, improved performance, stress relief, or anything else, having a set of goals creates a benchmark of progress as well as a sense of accomplishment once you start achieving them. I cannot overemphasize the importance of goal setting—even if it’s something you’ve never consider doing before.

Setting goals is what helped me go from being a complete couch potato to becoming a consistent runner, so please start setting fitness goals.

Here’s the golden rule of good goal setting:

Make your goals S.M.A.R.T., And that’s an acronym that stands for Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; and Time-related.

For my in-depth article on this topic, check my post here.

  1. Run With a Partner

Running is, by definition, a solitary sport and a solo journey, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Research shows that pairing up with a training buddy can lead to better consistency, help you become more accountable, and may even make you exercise a bit harder than you would when you run alone. All of these can do wonders for your running routine.

I’d go so far as to claim that training partners might be the most valuable tools you can have as a runner.

Ask a friend, a family member, a gym partner, or neighbor to run with you.

If you can’t find a suitable partner among people you know, join a local running group or hunt for one online.

  1. Chart Your Progress

As I’ve already stated, if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it.

That’s why I keep stressing the importance of monitoring your progress (or lack thereof, for that matter).

Keep a written log of your running routine. You don’t need anything fancy – a standard training journal, a spiral notebook or a plain notepad will suffice.

Here are some of the things and factors you need to keep track of:

  • Your running times
  • Your running distances
  • Your heart rate (and its fluctuations)
  • Calories burned
  • Running routes
  • Aches, pains, and injuries
  • Cross training workouts and reps
  • Body weight
  • Body measurements

Use Excel spreadsheets to create simple charts for tracking your progress.

You can also keep tabs on your progress online using sites like MapMyRun, DailyMile.com, or RunKeeper.

  1. Run To And/Or From Work

Finding balance between everyday life obligations, work chores, and a running routine is no easy feat. This is especially the case if you’re already burning the candle at both ends.

Instead of running to catch up with the train or a bus, try running to or from work. Put your commute time to good use. But whatever you do, make sure you do the following two things:

First, plan your run-commute thoroughly. Have everything ready the night before, from clothes to shoes, hydration and more.

Second, invest in the right backpack. You might need to think this one through before you make a buying decision. Your pack should be runner-friendly and must not bounce with every step.

  1. Reward Yourself for Your Successes

Rewards are positive reinforcement, and can be a powerful motivator.

When you reach a certain benchmark or achieve a given goal, treat yourself for the hard work you’ve put in and what you’ve accomplished.

Here are some ideas:

  • Buy a new running shirt or a pair of shorts
  • Have a meal at a nice restaurant
  • Watch your favorite Netflix show
  • Go on a special trip
  • Go to the movies
  • Take a long nap
  1. Try Zombies, Run!

For runners looking to turn their everyday workouts into an immersive adventure through a zombie-infested wasteland, look no further than this fantastic gaming app — especially if you’re running out of enthusiasm and need to add a bit of adventure and fun.

Zombies, Run! is an amazing audio adventure for thriller-seeking runners. Thanks to this game you’ll be the hero of your very own zombie adventure story. You’ll run through various missions while being chased by zombies, while also collecting the items you need to progress through the game.

Additional resource – How to Do a Run Streak

  1. Listen to the Right Music

Studies have linked listening to music to improved athletic performance, better training experience, and superior training consistency.

It’s not rocket science. All you need is the right playlist for the job.

Here’s the golden rule: when picking songs for your running playlist, stick with songs that have a BPM (Beat Per Minute) in the range of 120 to 140.

Here’s how:

You can do it manually, but it’s a real hassle. I don’t recommend this method unless you have a lot of time to spare.

Instead, check out websites that have already compiled thousands of songs and playlists tailored to all sorts of runs and events.

RunHundred.com and RunningPlaylist.Com are two of the best of these.

  1. Get Ready the Night Before

To set yourself up for running success, lay out your running gear the night before your workout. Doing so will help eliminate any barriers between you and your workout, save you a lot of time, and keep your mornings stress-free and smooth.

It should take you no more than 5 to 10 minutes to get these things together:

  • Your running clothes, including pants, socks, t-shirt, underwear, etc. (or sleep in them if you want to)
  • Your waterbottle
  • Your music playlist
  • Your pre-run snack
  • Your running route
  • Your workout
  1. Join Online Fitness Groups and Forums

Online health communities, whether they’re fitness groups, forums, social media website or some other type of group, are all great venues for expanding your social circle and connecting with like-minded fitness folks.

Joining up will help you increase your motivation and give you the push you need to exercise a little bit harder and stay consistent over the long haul.

Some of the best fitness-oriented online resources include:

  • Men’s Health
  • Runners World Forum
  • My FitnessPal
  • Fitbit
  • Cool Running
  • Jefit
  • BodySpace
  • Nerd Fitness
  • Transformative Fitness
  1. Race

Choose one of the many running-related events in your area, whether it’s a fun local 5K race, an obstacle race course, or a serious half-marathon or marathon distance challenge, and pay your registration fees in advance to keep yourself accountable.

Just make sure that the race fits your fitness level and schedule. If you’ve never done any sort of running before, spend a few months preparing for the race and make it a shorter distance such as a 5K or 10K run.

  1. Change The Direction of Your Runs

If you run the same route day in day out, sooner or later you’re going to get bored, and that’s when you’re most likely to slack off. It’s bad for your consistency and overall training experience, so switch up your running route regularly.

The simplest way to do this is to run your typical route backward every other week.

Don’t like this idea?

For another option, use crowd-sourcing apps like MapMyRun or a web resource like WalkJogRun to find and discover new routes close to where you live.

  1. Run in The Morning

Becoming a morning runner was a true godsend for me. It helped me stay consistent and become the runner I’m today.

As a bonus, research shows that those who exercise first thing in the morning are more consistent and efficient than the folks who work out later in the day.

Morning runs can improve your mood, boost productivity, shed more calories, and increase your focus and energy for the rest of the day, so if it’s all possible, run first thing in the morning.

Here are the golden rules:

  • Prepare the night before by laying your workout gear out
  • Aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep
  • Place your alarm clock far away from your bed to force yourself to get up and out
  • Drink plenty of water and have a light pre-run snack before you head out the door
  1. Work on your Running Form

Proper training form is king, whether you’re lifting weights in the gym or circling the running track. The right technique can help reduce your risk of injury and make your workouts more efficient.

Run with bad form, and you’re risking all sorts of strains, aches, pains, and injuries.

Here’s how to build good form:

  • Run tall.
  • Prevents neck strains by keeping your head straight and your eyes straight ahead. Don’t look down at your feet.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed, back, and down. Don’t let them tense up toward your ears.
  1. Lean Forward

This is something I learned from the Chi Running method, and I’ve found it to be very helpful.

Instead of running with a upright posture, run with a slight forward lean of about 8 to 10 degrees. By doing so, your body falls forward with every step, which in theory helps propel you forward and increases your stride turnover.

Mastering the forward lean is more easily said than done. One major mistake I see many runners make is leaning from the waist. Running this way can put a lot of undue pressure on the lower back and slows you down.

Instead, lean from the ankles while engaging your core muscles and keeping your spine straight, allowing for no bending in the waist.

  1. Keep Your Body Relaxed

As a runner, tension is enemy number one. It wastes energy, triggers bad form and can compromise the quality of your workout, leading to premature fatigue and increasing the risk of injuries.

Check your form throughout your run, allowing no chance for tension to creep into your workout.

Here are the few hacks that can help:

  • Shake your arms and hands every couple of miles and try rolling your neck forward, backward, and to the sides.
  • Imagine you’re holding an egg in each hand, gently cupping your palm with your thumb resting on your fingers instead of clenching your fist.
  • Breathe deeply and consciously, letting go of tension and discomfort. You have to get good at catching yourself in the act, and that requires practice.
  1. Pump Your Arms

As a runner, you’re, mainly relying on your legs to propel you forward, but that’s not the whole story. Your arms can help too.

Research shows that opting for a strong arm swing has a drastic impact on the smoothness of your running gait, resulting in a reduced workload on your legs and an increase in your economy of motion.

To boost your endurance and speed, drive your arms in a fluid motion, forward and backward, aiming for a 90- to 100-degree bend at the elbows. Do not pump your arms across the midline of your body—doing so wastes energy and tires your muscles. It might also hinder the forward motion of your body.

Your elbows should swing anywhere between the waistline and chest.

  1. Kill the Bounce

Research shows that vertical oscillation (running with a bounce) has an enormous negative impact on running economy and speed.

When your body is moving up and down too much, you’re wasting a lot of energy and putting undue pressure on your lower body, especially your quads. This leads to premature fatigue and soreness.

Here’s how to keep it under control:

  • Imagine you’re running under a low roof hovering a few inches above your head. Do not hit your head on the ceiling.
  • Land with your foot almost directly below your knees. Do not let your foot land in a spot ahead of your knee.
  • Focus on a faster leg turnover by running lightly and landing softly on your foot. Think quick steps. Focus on keeping your feet under your knees.
  1. Shorten Your Stride

When you overstride your foot lands on the ground well ahead of your hips. This runs the risk of increasing the stress load on your lower body. It also creates a braking effect that can hinder performance.

So, what’s the solution?

It’s simple: shorten your stride. Doing so helps reduce the braking effect and encourages a smoother, more natural running gait.

Here’s how:

  • To cover more ground, focus on springing off rather than trying to lengthen your stride.
  • Think short, light foot strikes and keep shortening your normal stride until you reach the perfect running cadence.
  • Keep your knee positioned above your foot and keep your shin vertical as your foot strikes the ground below you.
  • To boost speed, increase your leg turnover, driving your leg back from the hips instead of reaching forward with your foot.

All of this may sound a little complicated, but with a little of practice you’ll be able to wrap your head around it in no time.

  1. Increase your Cadence

In running lexicology, running cadence stands for the number of steps you take per minute while running.

When it comes to improving speed, cadence is a vital factor. Opting for the proper cadence reduces the impact of stress on your feet, knees, and ankles, and improves running economy.

According to Jack Daniels (the legendary running guru), the optimal cadence for running is roughly 170 to 180 steps per minute.

Your cadence doesn’t have to be exactly 180 throughout your training — in fact, your racing cadence and easy training cadence shouldn’t be the same.

  1. Breathe Rhythmically

Rhythmic breathing is a form of synchronized breathing that consists of timing your breaths to your foot strikes. The right breathing ratio depends mostly on your current fitness level and training intensity.

So how do you pick the right ratio?

If you’re a complete beginner, start with a 3:3 ratio. This means that you breathe in on three steps—RIGHT foot, LEFT foot, RIGHT foot, then breathe out on the next three steps—LEFT foot, RIGHT foot, LEFT foot.

Using this pattern, you will be taking in roughly 25 to 30 breaths per minute.

This ratio is also ideal for easy (and recovery) runs.

If you feel like this is too slow for you, opt for a 3:2 ratio: inhale on the RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT foot strikes, then exhale on the LEFT, RIGHT foot strikes.

A 2:2 ratio is ideal for when you’re running a tempo pace, or whenever you need more of a push. For the most part, this means cruising at roughly your 10K race pace, or maybe a bit slower. For quality workouts, opt for a 2:1 or even 1:1 ratio.

Here’s my full guide to proper rhythmic breathing while running.

  1. Breathe Deeply

To improve performance and stamina, cultivate the habit of diaphragmatic breathing.

Most runners are chest breathers. That’s neither the most efficient nor the healthiest way to breathe while running. Chest breathing increases the risks of hyperventilation and reduces your intake of oxygen while running.

The good news is that by switching to deep breathing you get more oxygen into your bloodstream. This can boost lung power as well while reducing the risk of side stitches.

  1. Downhill Running

As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. That’s why you should never forget the importance of downhill running.

On the descent, proper form can improve your performance and reduce post-workout soreness—especially in the quads.

Here’s the right way to run downhill:

  • Stay upright, keeping your posture perpendicular to the ground beneath you. Do not lean back or overstride, as doing so creates a braking action. The only exception is on the steepest grades.
  • Brace your core to keep control over your body and the hill. Don’t let the hill control you on the way down.
  • Do not look straight down. Look ahead while focusing on the line you wish to follow for balance.
  • Increase your cadence, aiming for quick, light steps and fast leg turnover.
  1. Let Go of the Handles on the Treadmill

When you’re running on a treadmill, holding onto the handles may help when fatigue starts to set in, but doing so will compromise your overall workout.  Positioning your hands on the handles aligns your body in an abnormal way, leading to discomfort and even injury, especially in the hips, lower back, knees, and shoulders.

Instead of touching the equipment, swing your arms backward and forward while engaging your core. This will not only help you keep good form, but will also engage your core, give you a full body workout, and burn more calories.

  1. Have a Pre-run Meal (or Snack)

The main goal behind a pre-run meal is to give you a boost of energy without giving you a troubled stomach on the road.

For a proper pre-run meal, focus on high-quality carbs and low-fiber, low-fat foods.

Make sure you time your pre-run meals correctly. Timing is the most critical variable in the pre-run meal equation.

As a general guideline, if you have an hour or more before a run, you can eat at least 250 to 300 calories worth of food. If you’ve no more than half an hour before a run then eat no more than 140 calories worth. This is frequently the case if you’re running early in the morning but don’t want to go out the door on an empty stomach.

  1. Post-Run Eating

The foods you consume immediately following a run are crucial for optimizing recovery and energy renewal.

Your post-run meal should score high on protein to help repair muscles and speed up recovery. You should also take in good carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and get your body ready for your next run.

Here are three of my favorite post-workout meals:

  • Chocolate milk. The mix of carbohydrates (chocolate) and protein (milk) is just right for refueling your weary body. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming chocolate milk after a workout can increase muscle protein synthesis.
  • Fruit salad. Fruit will not only help you replenish your energy stores with needed energy, but it will also help break down nutrients. Plus, the mix of fruits delivers a healthy punch of enzymes—anti-inflammatory properties that speed up recovery.
  • Egg whites deliver a healthy punch of proteins and key amino acids, which can help you rebuild damaged tissues after strenuous exercise.
  1. Hydrate Properly

Dehydration can lead to all sorts of serious issues such as headaches, premature fatigue, muscle cramping, decreased coordination, heat exhaustion, and more.

To keep it at bay, drink plenty of water, regardless of whether the weather is cold or warm. As a general rule, you need at least 12 to 16 glasses of water a day.

Please take note that the previous rule isn’t written in stone. The exact amount of water you need depends on many variables, including your age, body weight, gender, fitness level, training distance/intensity, sweat rate, physiology, and outdoor temperature.

One way or another, I highly recommend that you stay well hydrated throughout the day.

  1. Look At Your Pee

I hate to sound like a broken record, but research shows that dehydration can lead to decreased performance, premature fatigue, seizures, blood clots, and even death.

To check for signs of dehydration, look at your pee. You should be drinking enough water throughout the day for your urine to be a light straw color, or mostly clear with a tinge of yellow.

If your urine looks like chardonnay, or is yellow or orange, then you’re dehydrated and need to be drinking a lot more.

Additional resource – How to Stop urine leakage in runners

  1. Get More Iron

Iron is a vital component of the body’s red blood cells. Blood cells contain hemoglobin, and are crucial for transporting oxygen to your body’s various muscles and tissues. Iron deficiency leads to a reduction in hemoglobin level, which in turn hinders proper oxygen delivery.

Some of the best food sources for iron include egg yolks, lean meat, dark green leafy vegetables, lean meats, dried fruits, legumes, and whole grains. You can also go for iron-enriched or fortified cereals and bread.

To improve absorption, consume iron-rich foods with vitamin C like orange juice.

  1. Have a Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are runner-friendly beverages that score high on both carbohydrates and electrolytes. These two nutrients are vital for staying well fueled and hydrated during intense aerobic activity.

Aim for taking in at least 30 to 50 grams of carbs for each hour spent running, but keep in mind that 8 ounces of a typical sports drink might contain roughly 16 grams of carb. During a long run, aim for taking in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid for every 20 to 30 minutes spent running.

Some of the best brands include Gatorade, HEED, PowerBar Perform, and GU Roctane.

If money is an issue, then the next tip will come in handy

  1. Make your Own Sports Drink

I make my own sports drinks using whole foods and natural ingredients, and I love it. By doing so, I’m saving a lot of money while choosing a healthier path by going for more natural, whole ingredients.

For the icing on the cake, making your

Run Strong: 8 Essential Foot Strengthening Exercises for Runners

foot exercises for runners

Well, you’ve stumbled upon the holy grail of foot-strengthening exercises, right here, right now.

Listen up, because this is important. As a runner, you know that strength training is like the secret sauce that adds power and resilience to your performance. You’ve probably been diligently working on strengthening your muscles, which is fantastic.

But here’s the million-dollar question: Have you ever considered giving some love and attention to your hardworking feet? If your answer is a hesitant “no,” then hold onto your running shoes, because we’re about to open your eyes to a game-changing aspect of training that you’ve been missing out on.

You see, your feet are the unsung heroes of your running journey. They endure countless strides, absorb impact, and propel you forward mile after mile. Yet, they often don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s time to change that, and unlock a whole new level of performance.

By incorporating specific foot strengthening exercises into your training routine, you’ll unleash a world of benefits. Picture this: enhanced stability, improved balance, reduced risk of injuries, and increased overall foot strength.

Now, don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. We’ve got your back. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best foot strengthening exercises tailored specifically for runners like you.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

The Benefits of Foot Exercises For Runners

Let’s dive into the incredible world of feet!

Did you know that each foot is a complex powerhouse with roughly 20 muscles working in harmony? These muscles, including the anterior tibial, peroneal tibial, posterior tibial, flexors, and extensors, play a vital role in supporting our every move.

Numerous studies and research papers have delved into the fascinating mechanics of these muscles, shedding light on their intricate functions and how they contribute to our overall performance.

But that’s not all—your feet are home to an impressive collection of 26 bones, accounting for a whopping 25 percent of all the bones in the human body.

Imagine that! Alongside these bones, you’ll find a network of 33 joints, more than 80 tendons, and ligaments that provide stability and flexibility to this remarkable structure.

Now, let’s talk about the significance of our feet in our daily lives. We rely on them to stand, walk, run, and perform a wide range of athletic movements, such as squatting, balancing, and jumping.

They truly are the unsung heroes of our physical endeavors. In fact, the metaphorical weight they carry is immense—they can make or break us as runners.

Given the incredible demands we place on our feet, it’s no wonder that they are the most used and abused part of our bodies. Every step we take, every leap we make, puts tremendous pressure on this intricate system.

And here’s where things get interesting: any dysfunction or imbalance in the musculature structure of our feet can have a ripple effect on our overall running gait and range of motion. This can ultimately lead to overuse injuries, like Achilles Tendinitis, chronic ankle sprains, knee pain/injury, and even lower back pains and aches.

8 Foot Strength Exercises For Runners

Without further ado, here are the best foot strengthening exercises for runners. Strengthen your feet for running by performing these exercises at least two to three times a week.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 1. Shin Curls

While using a step or a box, stand while assuming an athletic position with the toes hanging off the edge as much as you feel comfortable.

Next, curl your toes and foot up toward your shin as high as possible without rocking backward, hold the dorsiflexed position for a moment, then slowly lower your toes to the starting position to complete one rep.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 2. Single Leg Balance

Stand with feet hip-width apart, with the core engaged, back flat, and both hands are resting gently on your sides.

Next, lift your left leg straight toward the 12 o’clock position and balance on your right leg.

If you have any balance issues, then feel free to use a wall or a stable chair for more assistance.

For more challenge, try swinging the lifted leg forward and back, from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock, so and so forth, or balance on a balance disc or a seat cushion. You can also try single-leg bridges to test your balance.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 3. Heel Walking

Lift up both your feet, then pace the whole length of the room by walking slowly on your heels.

Make sure that you are on your heels the entire time.

For more, keep your toes pointed forward.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 4. Toe Presses

Assume an athletic position with a slight bend in the knees.

Next, lift your toes off the ground then flex the foot (pull the ankle back towards your shin), hold the contraction for a count of three, then release it slowly to the ground.

You can do this exercise while standing tall or while sitting.

Your choice.

Additional resource – Running Vs. Strength training

Foot Exercise for Runners – 5. Toe Curls

Start by placing a towel on the floor, then spread your toes like a fan, then grip the object and pull it toward you.

Repeat 8 to 10 times, then work the other foot.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 6. Calf Raises

Begin by standing in a shoulder-width stance with the toes flat on the edge of a step or a box, near a doorway or a counter, then hold on light for balance.

Next, raise up by pushing your toes into the step, hold for a count of three, then lower your back to the starting position.

You’ll know that you are doing this one right once you start feeling a stretch in your calves.

Additional guide – How to prevent Foot pain in runners

Foot Exercise for Runners – 7. Ankle Circles

While using a wall or a chair for balance, stand on your right foot, then raise the left foot a few inches off the floor.

Next, and without moving your legs, rotate your right ankle in a large circle in one direction.

Then perform a circular motion with the big toe.

Clockwise then counter-clockwise.

When you are done with the right foot, release and repeat on the opposite side.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 8. Toe Walks

Stand tall with your back flat, core engaged.

Next, while keeping the legs straight and heels pulled up towards the calves, walk forward on the balls of your feet for one full minute.

Make sure to keep your stomach tight and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

Whatever you do, do not fold at the waist.

Here are more strength exercises for runners.

8 Foot Strengthening Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

If you’re looking for practical advice on how to strengthen feet for running then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for dropping by.

How to Boost Your Running Performance with Resistance Band Training

Resistance Bands Training exercises

Are you looking to give resistance band training a try? You’ve come to the right place.

Strength training is a crucial part of any running program, regardless of your current fitness level and training goals. In other words, if you run, you should incorporate strength training. There’s no way around it.

Why is it so important? Here are two key reasons:

  • Boost power and strength in essential running muscles like the glutes, quads, and calves. This leads to improved running economy and performance.
  • Correct muscle imbalances, which results in fewer injuries and less discomfort while running.

While I could talk endlessly about the benefits of strength training for runners, that’s not my main goal today. Instead, I want to share a set of resistance band exercises you can do at home to enhance your overall body strength.

So, why resistance bands? Well, keep reading for the answers.

Enter Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are fantastic fitness tools. They’re typically made from strong, thin, and durable rubber and feature handles at each end.

The best part? They come in various resistance levels, so you can choose the perfect fit for your current fitness level and training objectives.

These bands are incredibly versatile and customizable to suit your unique needs. Whether you’re a fitness newbie or a seasoned pro, there’s a resistance band for you.

From my experience, I can confidently say that resistance band exercises are among the best ways to maintain strength training routine, especially if you can’t make it to the gym or have your own personal reasons for avoiding it.

Let’s face it: having a stack of dumbbells in your living room might not be the most appealing option for everyone.

Resistance Bands Offer a lot of exercises

The beauty of resistance bands lies in their versatility. With these simple yet effective tools, you can unlock a world of diverse bodyweight exercises. In fact, there’s virtually no limit to the types of resistance exercises you can perform.

From squats to push-ups, chest presses to rows, triceps extensions to overhead presses, and bicep curls, the list goes on.

The best part? You can do all of these exercises without the need for dumbbells or a weight bar.

Many Muscle Groups

Resistance bands are incredibly versatile when it comes to targeting specific muscle groups. They can effectively engage the major muscle groups crucial for running, such as your core, glutes, and legs.

Moreover, you have the freedom to select exercises that align with your fitness goals and preferences. Whether you’re looking to work on your overall strength or isolate particular muscle groups, resistance bands have got you covered.

Connective Tissues

Resistance bands offer unique benefits for connective tissues like tendons and fascia. They can help improve the function of these crucial connective tissues, which is essential for overall mobility and injury prevention.

Additionally, resistance bands are incredibly cost-effective, making them one of the most budget-friendly options for strength training, second only to bodyweight exercises. You can find resistance bands for as little as $5, and even the more advanced options rarely exceed $25. This affordability makes them accessible to virtually anyone.

Moreover, their compact and portable nature adds to their convenience. You can easily roll up resistance bands and take them with you when you travel, ensuring that you can maintain your strength training regimen no matter where you go. This portability is a significant advantage for those who are constantly on the move or prefer to work out in different locations.

How to start Resistance Bands Exercises For Runners 

If you’re new to resistance bands training, here are some essential tips to get you started on the right foot:

  • Choose the Right Band: As a beginner, opt for a thinner band, typically in green or yellow. This level of resistance is ideal for newcomers and allows you to focus on proper form and technique. Remember, you can always increase the resistance as you become more experienced and stronger.
  • Master the Basics: Begin with fundamental exercises to build a solid foundation. Exercises like squats, rows, and chest presses are excellent starting points. These movements target major muscle groups and prepare your body for more advanced exercises.
  • Proper Form is Key: Pay close attention to your form. Ensure that you’re using the correct posture and technique for each exercise. This not only maximizes the effectiveness of the workout but also prevents injuries.
  • Gradually Increase Resistance: As you progress and feel more confident, challenge yourself by using a band with higher resistance. Bands in blue or green offer increased resistance and intensify your workouts.
  • Adjust Band Length: You can make exercises more challenging by shortening the bands or even doubling them up. Experiment with different band lengths to find the right level of resistance for your current fitness level.
  • Consistency is Key: Like any form of training, consistency is crucial. Incorporate resistance band exercises into your routine regularly, aiming for at least two to three sessions per week. This consistency will lead to steady progress over time.

1. Side Steps

This exercise is a fantastic way to stabilize and strengthen your hip abductors, which are crucial for runners. Research has shown that many overuse running injuries, such as Runner’s Knee and IT Band Syndrome, can be linked to weakness in the hip muscles.

Here’s how to do it correctly:

Proper Form:

Set Up: Begin by looping the resistance band either above your knees, below them, or for added resistance, around your ankles.

Athletic Position: Assume an athletic position with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

Step Out: Step out to the right side, planting your right heel and pulling your left foot over so you return to a hip-width stance. Maintain tension on the resistance band throughout the exercise.

Keep Feet Apart: Be sure not to let your feet come into contact during the movement.

Repetition: Repeat the sidestepping movement for at least 12 to 16 steps in one direction, and then reverse back to the starting point.

Progression: As you become stronger, challenge yourself by increasing the distance and resistance of the exercise.

2. Monster Steps

This exercise is another fantastic way to target the hip muscles and strengthen your entire lower body, with a special focus on the glutes. Here’s how to perform it correctly:

Proper Form:

Set Up: Loop a resistance band around both ankles and another one around your knees. Ensure that there is enough resistance so that the band is taut when your feet are hip-width apart. If it feels too easy, adjust the band to provide more resistance.

Starting Position: Begin with your knees slightly bent and engage your glutes. This is your starting position.

Movement: Sink into a semi-squat position, and then step forward and out to the side at a 45-degree angle.

Take Monster Steps: Step forward with your left foot, taking “monster” steps by keeping your feet as wide apart as possible. Continue walking in this manner for a distance of 16 to 20 feet.

Walk Backward: After reaching your desired distance, walk backward to return to your starting point.

3. Standing Hip Abduction

This exercise is a personal favorite of mine, and it’s incredibly effective for targeting the hip muscles and glutes. It also incorporates balance, making it an excellent choice for runners.

Proper Form:

Set-Up: To perform this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band and a sturdy object to anchor it. Create a loop by passing one handle of the band around the sturdy object and the other handle around your right ankle. Stand tall with your left foot on the tubing while holding the opposite handle.

Balance Assistance: If you have concerns about balance, you can hold onto a secure object for support.

Movement: Begin with your right knee straight and engage your core muscles. Kick your right leg outward, away from your body, while keeping your hips level and preventing any rotation. Hold this position for a moment.

Return: Slowly return your right leg to the starting position.

Focus on Hip Muscles: Throughout the exercise, concentrate on using your hip muscles rather than allowing your hips to rotate.

Repetitions: Aim to complete 12 to 16 repetitions on each side to finish one set.

4. Ankle Dorsiflexion

This exercise is particularly valuable if you’ve experienced lower leg pain or shin splints in the past. Dorsiflexion involves flexing your ankle by bringing your foot toward your shin, and it’s an effective way to strengthen your lower legs and reduce the risk of common overuse injuries.

Proper Form:

  • Set Up: Begin by sitting on a mat with your legs extended. Take the middle of the resistance band and wrap it around your right foot, then hold onto the band’s handle.
  • Movement: Pull your right foot up toward your shin as far as you can, maximizing dorsiflexion. This is the primary movement.
  • Return: Slowly lower your foot back to the starting position as soon as you’ve reached the maximum dorsiflexion. This completes one repetition.
  • Repetitions: Aim to perform at least 12 to 16 repetitions on each side to complete one set.

Clams:

Clam exercises target several muscle groups, including the outer thighs, glutes, groin, and hip flexors.

Proper Form:

Starting Position: Begin by lying on your right side, supporting your head with your hand or arm, or propping yourself up on your forearm. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your feet should be stacked, one on top of the other.

Band Placement: Loop the resistance band around your knees, ensuring it’s secure.

Movement: Lift your top knee upward about 8 to 10 inches while keeping your feet together throughout the movement.

Hold and Return: Hold the elevated position for a count of three, emphasizing the contraction in your hip and thigh muscles. Then, slowly lower your knee back to the starting position.

Repetitions: Perform the clam exercise for 12 to 16 repetitions on each side to complete one set.

5. Squat with Resistance Band

Squats are undoubtedly one of the best strength exercises, and when paired with resistance bands, they become even more effective for runners. Squats target various muscle groups, including the core, glutes, quadriceps, and calves. Additionally, they promote mobility and a full range of motion in the lower body, which is essential for runners.

Proper Form:

Starting Position: Stand on the resistance band with both feet, positioning them shoulder-width apart. Ensure the band is taut and centered under your feet.

Grip Handles: Squat down by pushing your hips back and reach down to grip a handle in each hand. Keep your chest up and your back flat.

Squat Movement: With the handles raised to shoulder height, maintain an upright posture while squatting down. Imagine you’re sitting in a chair positioned behind you.

Full Squat: Continue to lower your body until both of your knees are bent at approximately a 90-degree angle.

Return to Standing: Push through your heels to stand back up, returning to the starting position. This completes one repetition.

Knee Tracking: Pay attention to your knee alignment, ensuring they track over your toes throughout the exercise.

6. Standing Kickbacks

This exercise primarily targets the hamstrings (the muscles at the back of the thighs) and the gluteus maximus (the butt muscles). It’s an excellent addition to your resistance band routine to strengthen these crucial muscle groups.

Proper Form:

Ankle Loop: Begin by looping the resistance band just above your left ankle. Ensure it’s secure and won’t slide down during the exercise.

Sturdy Object: Stand facing a sturdy object that you can hold onto for balance. This could be a chair, a wall, or any stable support.

Knee Bend: Slightly bend your right knee while keeping your upper body upright.

Kickback Motion: Lift your left foot off the ground, driving your heel backward in a kickback motion. Focus on contracting your hamstrings and glutes.

Top Position: Hold the position for a moment when your left leg is fully extended backward, engaging your core for stability.

Lower and Repeat: Lower your left leg back down with control, and then repeat the kickback motion on the same side.

Core Engagement: Maintain engagement in your core muscles throughout the exercise to support your posture and balance.

Avoid Rocking: Ensure that your upper body doesn’t rock forward as you perform the kickbacks.

How to Start Running When Overweight – The Fat People Running Guide

Would you like to learn how to start running when overweight? Then this fat people running guide is what you’re looking for.

In today’s post, I’m going to show you to take up running when you’re fat (or really out of shape).

In this introduction to running for fat people, you’ll learn more about:

  • Is Running bad if you’re Overweight?-
  • Are you too fat to run?
  • Is Running a Great Way to Lose Weight For Fat people?
  • Things To Consider Before You Start A running Program When You’re Overweight
  • The 8-Week Beginner obese running plan you Need
  • Running Technique For the Overweight
  • Finding Enough Motivation to start and keep training
  • Achieving Your Weight Loss Goals
  • And so much more.

Here we go…

Note – Looking for the best Beginner’s Guide To Running?
Then Check my Runners Blueprint System Here.

Fat People Running? FAQ

First things first, let’s address some of the most common questions I get asked by my friends and online about starting a running plan for the overweight.

Is Running Good For fat people?

Of course, yes!

Running regularly can help you lose weight and keep it under control, even though starting can be hard, especially if you haven’t done any exercise for a while.

Sure, running’s high impact nature can take a toll on your joints, but being (and staying) overweight poses more danger.

In fact, the extra weight can not only harm your joints but the rest of your body than running will ever do.

Here’s the full guide to how many calories do you burn running a mile.

Additional source Does running burn stomach fat?

Am I To Fat to Run?

First of all, I don’t know you and I have no idea what you’re dealing with nor how much overweight you are.

But, all in all, yes, you can become a runner when you’re fat.

As long as you can walk, breathe, and sweat, everyone can become a runner with the right program.

You might be well behind the curb but you’ll eventually get there once you stick to training.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I’d use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. 

Before You Start running
When Overweight

Before you take up running, there are a few things to consider and do to make sure you start on the right foot.

Let’s look at a few:

See Your Doctor

When you’re obese and want to start running (or become more active),

your first step should be a visit to your doctor.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The last thing you want when starting an exercise plan is to hurt yourself.

During your visit, expect to undergo an extensive physical assessment.

Be honest to get the most accurate feedback and advice.

You’re only cheating yourself by not telling the truth.

Some of the issues to address include:

  • Any history of a heart condition including blood pressure,
  • Kidney health,
  • Any respiratory diseases (including asthma or lung diseases),
  • Joint issues (such as arthritis and trauma history),
  • Current medication, and
  • Any other pertinent issues in your medical history.

Once you get the green light from your physician it’s time to get going.

Proper Footwear

What I love the most about running is that you don’t need much to get started.

But, a pair of GOOD and PROPER running shoes is a must.

Run in ill-fitting shoes and you’ll make your body prone to Achilles Tendonitis, knee pain, shin splints, and other injuries.

How to find proper running shoes?

Simple.

Go to the nearest specialty running store, where trained staff will examine your foot type and your running gait.

This might be a bit expensive, but it’s worth the price in both the short and long term.

If you have a high BMI, consider consulting with an orthopaedist.

They will assess your lower limbs and help you choose (or even prescribe) the right shoes or orthotics.

Running Clothing For The Obese Runner

Choose technical gear (clothing specifically designed for runners) that’s comfortable, fits well, and is within your budget.

I highly recommend compression gear for fat runners.

These are typically made of lightweight fabric that pulls moisture away from the skin while providing extra support.

It also helps prevent swelling in the legs and arms and may reduce muscle soreness afterward.

Compression gear also helps with chafing.

In overweight runners, the underarms and inner thighs are the most vulnerable.

Chafing can cause rashes and raw skin, which is painful.

My recommendation?

A pair of tight spandex pants and a compression shirt.

The pants will keep your thighs from rubbing together, whereas the shirt can help those who feel self-conscious about the way they look while running.

Additional resource – How to find affordable running clothes

Note – Looking for the best Beginner’s Guide To Running?
Then Check my Runners Blueprint System Here.

 A Running Plan For obese Beginners

Gotten the green light as well as basic running gear?

Great! It’s time to get started!

Let’s look at the actual steps you need to take in order to become a runner when you’re overweight.

Walk First

It might seem like the simplest exercise in the world, but to become a runner you’ll need to walk first.

In fact, walking is the perfect stepping stone to the world of running.

Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done without making a huge commitment.

It helps you build the endurance and strength needed for intense exercise.

It’s also perfect for revealing any underlying issues.

For instance, if you experience knee pain while walking, take it up with your doctor, or at least be aware that something might be amiss.

Action Step

Start out by walking three to four times the first week and work your way up.

By four weeks in, you should be able to walk five to six times a week, each session lasting 50 to 60 minutes.

Here’s the ideal walking session.

  • Begin your session with a 5-minute slow walk as a warm-up.
  • Increase your intensity to a brisk walk pace and stick with it for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When you’re near the end of your walk, slow down then stretch your body to bring your heart rate down.

Important Note: Stay at this stage for as long as you have to.

Progress at your own pace.

Remember, you’re not competing with anybody other than yourself.

Just don’t give up.

Additional resource – Here’s your guide to running three miles a day.

Start Run/Walking 

Once you can briskly walk for at least 60 minutes pain-free, start adding running segments to your sessions.

That’s what’s known as the run/walk method.

Action Step:

Start your session with a 10-minute brisk walk to get your heart rate up and blood flowing to the working muscles.

Next, jog for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds to one full minute.

Repeat the cycle for 15 to 20 minutes, then wrap it up with a 5-minute walk as a cool down.

Once you’re comfortable jogging for one minute, increase your jogging time to 90 seconds.

Once 90-seconds feels like a breeze, increase it to two minutes.

Continue adding on in this manner.

Feel like too much to handle?

Don’t worry.

I’ve already provided you below with the exact overweight runner plan you need to get started.

Whatever you end up doing, make it a rule to gradually increase the time you spend running while taking less and less time for recovery.

Your goal is to be jogging for at least 20 minutes without too much huffing and puffing.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to much to run to lose weight

Listen to your Body

By far, this is the most important rule to abide by when you start running or any other form of exercise.

It’s okay—and expected—to experience a little muscle soreness the day after a workout, especially during the first few weeks.

After all, all good things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone.

You’ll be sweating, your heart rate will increase, and you’ll find it hard at times to keep at it.

But, if you’re doubling over in pain, you’re doing it wrong. Nizagara 100 https://tyackdentalgroup.com/nizagara

Slow down if you notice any of the following red flags:

  • Nausea
  • Intense chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Severe muscle or joint pain
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness or vertigo

Recover Well

If you run hard every day and sneeze at the importance of rest, then you’re flirting with disaster.

In fact, recovery is as important to progress as the training itself.

For starters, alternate hard training days with rest days.

In case you don’t want to have a whole day off, then cross train.

Ideal options for beginners include swimming, strength training, spinning, and yoga.

If it’s too much for you, simply call the day off.

Take more time if you need to, but stick to your plan.

Additional resource – How to combine keto and running

 The 8-Week Running Plan for Obese Beginners

So how do you come up with a running plan when you’re fat?

It’s actually quite simple.

The following 8-week plan will have you follow a jog/walk training method.

Over the course of the upcoming weeks, you’ll gently shift the balance until you’re running more than you walk and past the point where you should be able to run for 20 to 30 minutes at an easy and slow pace.

Fat People Running Plan – Week One

  • Monday – Run two minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 6 times.
  • Tuesday—Run two minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 8 times.
  • Friday—Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 6 times.

Fat People Running Plan – Week Two

  • Monday —Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 8 times.
  • Tuesday —Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 10 times.
  • Friday—Run two minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 8 times.

Fat People Running Plan – Week Three

  • Monday—Run three minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 6 times.
  • Tuesday—Run three minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 8 times.
  • Friday—Run three minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 6 times.

Fat People Running Plan – Week Four

  • Monday—Run five minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat 3 times.
  • Tuesday—Run five minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat 4 times.
  • Friday—Run five minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat 5 times.

Fat People Running Plan- Week Five

  • Monday—Run five minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 5 times.
  • Tuesday—Run five minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 5 times.
  • Friday—Run five minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 4 times.

Fat People Running Plan – Week Six

  • Monday—Run five minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 4 times.
  • Tuesday—Run five minutes. Walk one minute. Repeat 5 times.
  • Friday—Run seven minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 3 times.

Fat People Running Plan- Week Seven

  • Monday —Run seven minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 3 times.
  • Tuesday—Run seven minutes. Walk two minutes. Repeat 3 times.
  • Friday—Run 10 minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat two times.

Fat People Running Plan- Week Eight

  • Monday—Run 10 minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Tuesday—Run 12 minutes. Walk three minutes. Repeat two times.
  • Friday—Run 20 minutes at an easy and slow pace.

For more structure, give this 30-day running challenge a try.

 Running Technique
For the Obese Runners

Fat People Running Plan

I hate to break it to you but if your running technique isn’t dialed in from the get-go, you’ll definitely increase your chance of injury, especially when you’re an overweight beginner.

Sure, the human body is designed to run, but that doesn’t mean that running form comes naturally to most of us.

That’s why one of the most common mistakes beginners make is running with bad form.

Here’s what to keep in mind to improve your form:

  • Run Tall. Stay upright, while keeping your back flat, spine straight, eyes gazing forward, and shoulders back. Imagine a cord pulling you up from your hair.
  • Keep your head balanced, shoulders back and under your ears, and pelvis straight and neutral. Avoid sticking your butt out or arching your back.
  • Engage your core muscles. A strong core is key to efficient running.
  • Create flow. Keep moving your elbows forward and backward in tune with your lower body.
  • Stay relaxed. Keep your body relaxed, especially the face, neck shoulders, and hands.
  • Seek help. Schedule a few runs with a coach or take a class to work on proper form.

Additional resource – How to start running with your dog

How to Start Running When
Overweight – Motivation

Taking up running is only the first step.

To keep moving forward you’ll need a few tricks up your sleeves to help improve your running motivation.

Let’s look at a few.

Do it For Yourself

No doubt you’ll draw a lot of attention when you’re a fat runner, and some of it might not be positive.

Not all people are supportive, and you shouldn’t expect a high-five from everyone you meet on the road.

As a rule, ignore the haters, because (in the words of Taylor Swift), “Haters going to hate hate hate.”

That’s all they do, 24/7.

Don’t let the mind games and name-calling interfere with the process, and please, don’t let anyone, but you dictate how you should be living your life.

Keep your focus on you and nobody else.

Cultivate a positive attitude no matter what happens, even if your workouts suck.

(They are supposed to suck.)

Additional resource – Here’s how to lose 100 pounds.

Don’t Compare

One of the worst traps you can fall into while running when you’re overweight is comparing yourself to everyone else.

This is actually one of the reasons I avoided running with runners for a very long time.

I always felt inferior when the other runner was faster.

What a fool I was.

Instead of looking at it as an opportunity to challenge myself and improve, I ran in the opposite direction.

Here’s the truth.

If you want someone to compare yourself to, think of the kind of a runner (and person) you were a year ago versus who you are today.

Sounds too cliché? Yes, but it does work.

Additional resource – Here’s how to reduce body fat.

Set the Right Goals

When setting goals, what most runners do is shoot for the stars.

Sooner or later most fail, then get discouraged and defeated.

Instead, set realistic goals, then lay out the steps you need to take to achieve them.

One goal at a time.

You’ll feel good when you hit that milestone, then set another and achieve that one too.

Remember that you carry more weight than others, so do things at your own speed.

Additional Resource – When it’s the best time to run

Visualize Your Goal

Want to improve the odds of achieving your running goals?

Try visualizing them.

Visualization, also known as guided imagery or mental rehearsal, is simple.

It involves seeing an image of yourself in your own mind’s eye as the type of a runner (and person) you want to become.

Picture yourself achieving your running goals as if it’s already happened.

Go through everything: what you’ll see, hear, and how you’ll feel.

Replay this picture over and over in your mind.

Doing this will not only make you feel more confident but also help you to act more confidently.

Additional resource – How to measure body fat percentage

Build the Habit

Want to make running a part of your daily life?

Then turn it into a habit.

Schedule your runs the same way you schedule an important work meeting or a vital doctor’s appointment.

Use a daily calendar, your smartphone’s reminder app, or to block out the time you need for the run.

Use multiple alarms if you needed.

Stick to the “three workouts per week” rule for at least 12 weeks.

If you can work up to 16 weeks, then you’re good, since most healthy lifestyle changes take that long to become ingrained into a daily routine.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to plan a running route.

Achieving Your Weight
Loss Goals

Running does burn a lot of calories, but, as I already mentioned, it doesn’t guarantee weight loss without a good diet.

In fact, a common question I get a lot from my reader is an explanation for the sudden weight gain after taking up running.

Apply the following strategies to make sure that your running sweat wasn’t for vain:

Keep Track

The reason number one for gaining weight when running is to eating too much.

Here’s the truth.

You cannot outrun a crappy diet—no matter how fast you can be.

Instead, keep track of your calorie intake and make sure you’re not consuming excess calories.

Additional resource – How to start running at 50

Eat Healthily

Calories are not created equal.

To make sure you’re making the most out of your food choices, make sure to eat clean the entire.

Avoid cheat meals during your first few weeks.

Make sure to consume just enough amount of complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy sources of fat.

Here’s a list of super foods for runners.

Avoid Sugars

Sugar founds in processed foods is the ultimate diet saboteur.

In fact, research has linked the increased intake of sugar in the American diet to the soaring obesity levels we’re dealing with today.

High intake also contributes to Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay—the list is long and terrifying.

Additional resource – 30 Keto recipes  for low carb eating

Eat Plenty of Lean Protein

Research says that a higher protein intake helps maintain consistent blood sugar, which is essential for avoiding cravings.

One study revealed that subjects who had protein at breakfast reported fewer cravings for junk food later in the day.

Good sources of lean protein include chicken, beef, eggs, raw cheese, and nuts.

Additional link – Slow running vs fast running for weight loss

Running plan for obese beginners – The Conclusion

There you have it  If you’re looking on advice on how to start running when overweight, then my running plan is perfect for you. The rest is just details.

Thank you for stopping by.

Keep training strong