How To Set a Realistic 10K Finish Time Goal

Are you curious about setting a realistic goal time for your 10K run? You’ve landed in the perfect spot!

As someone who’s been through the journey from a first-time 10K runner to a more seasoned one, I understand the importance of setting achievable goals. It’s not just about the clock; it’s about aligning your goal with your current fitness level and aspirations.

The perfect goal does more than just give you something to aim for. It’s the secret sauce that keeps your training spicy and your motivation high and ensures that when you blaze across that finish line, you’ll be punching the air in triumph, no matter what time the clock shows.

In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of average 10K times. Stick with me, and by the end, you’ll be in the know – understanding not just the typical 10K finish times but also the key factors that can speed you up or slow you down.

Sounds like a good idea?

Let’s dive in.

What is The 10K

Also known as a 10-kilometer race, the 10K is a long-distance running event covering 10 kilometers or approximately 6.2 miles. It’s a popular distance among runners of all levels, from beginners to elite athletes.

Why? Well, in my experience, the 6.2-mile race strikes a perfect balance. It combines the endurance needed for marathons with the speed demanded by shorter races like 5Ks. For me, it’s the sweet spot of all running events.

What’s A Good 10K Time?

“What’s a good 10K time?” Ah, the question that echoes in every runner’s mind! But here’s the thing – there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. See, ‘good’ is such a personal term in the running world. For some, cracking a sub-60 minute 10K is a dream come true, while others aim for a blistering sub-40 minute time.

It’s all about perspective. Different runners, different aspirations, different definitions of success. From my journey, I’ve learned that your ‘good’ time should be about outdoing yourself. Set a personal goal, train for it, and when you achieve it, that’s your moment of triumph. It’s about pushing your limits, reaching new heights, and reveling in your own progress. That’s the beauty of running – it’s a love affair that keeps growing with every step.

But, if you’re into numbers and looking for a more concrete benchmark, let’s dive into what the average times look like.

The Average 10K Time

When we talk about average times for a 10K, remember there’s no universal standard. For beginners, a lot depends on factors like fitness level, age, past injuries, and the fervor with which you approach your running goals.

In the United States, average times for beginners by gender are:

  • Men: Around 53 minutes.
  • Women: Approximately 63 minutes.

These figures are just starting points. They’re not rigid benchmarks but rather general indicators of what you might expect as you embark on your 10K journey. As a beginner, your focus should be on personal progress.

Concentrate on improving your performance rather than fixating on these averages. With dedication and consistent training, you’ll likely see your 10K time improve significantly.

Here’s the kicker: regular training can lead to remarkable progress. I’ve seen runners start with average times and then, months later, effortlessly clock in under 60 minutes. For the truly dedicated, joining the sub-40-minute club is a testament to their hard work and passion.

Factors Impacting 10K Time

When it comes to nailing that 10K race time, it’s not just about lacing up and hitting the pavement – trust me, I’ve been there! There’s a whole bunch of factors at play, each one adding its own unique flavor to your running journey. Understanding these elements is crucial to setting achievable goals and crossing that finish line with a sense of victory. Let me walk you through a few key factors:

  • Fitness Level: Your current fitness level is like the foundation of your 10K house. It’s a huge determinant of your race time. I’ve noticed that the more I run and engage in endurance training, the better my times get. It’s a straightforward equation: more fitness equals faster times.
  • Age: Ah, the age factor. Yes, it does play a role. Generally, younger runners might have an edge due to higher levels of fitness and quicker recovery. But hey, don’t let that dishearten you. I’ve seen many seasoned runners who give the young guns a run for their money!
  • Training: The way you train is like the recipe for your 10K success. The consistency, intensity, and type of training are all crucial. A well-rounded plan that includes speed workouts, long runs, and essential rest days can significantly enhance your performance. It’s like cooking a gourmet meal – you need the right ingredients in the right amounts.
  • Motivation: Here’s a big one – motivation. It’s the fuel for your running engine. Highly motivated individuals often push harder, both in training and on race day. I always try to keep my motivation high, as it directly impacts my performance. Remember, the mind runs the body.
  • Injury History: Last but not least, if you’ve had running-related injuries, like I have, managing them effectively is key. Proper rehabilitation and preventive measures are essential. Ignoring injuries can seriously hamper your training and race-day performance. It’s like trying to run with a flat tire – not a smooth ride!

10K Race Pace Chart

Ready to tackle a 10K race but unsure of your finishing time? This 10K pace chart predictor can help you estimate your maximum potential. Think of it like a crystal ball, showing you a possible future, but keep in mind that it’s not set in stone. You may exceed it and reach new heights or fall short and learn from the experience. Either way, give it your best shot and aim high.


Remember – This is only a prediction of your maximum potential—glorified fortune-telling—. It might not be the reality on the ground.

If somehow you can pass it, kudos to you.

But don’t feel discouraged if you miss it.

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

Average 10K Times Based on Age & Gender

Age and gender can affect your 10K time, but don’t let them limit you. A study by Run Repeat found that younger runners tend to have a faster average pace than older runners, but that’s not a rule set in stone. You can still defy expectations.

According to the same study, the average competitive 10K time in the U.S. is around 58 minutes for men and 1 hour and 6 minutes for women.

But what does “competitive” mean, anyway? It’s a relative term, depending on your context and goals. For some runners, finishing a 10K is already a huge achievement, regardless of the time. For others, aiming for a podium or a personal record is the ultimate goal. Where do you stand on this spectrum? Find your sweet spot and chase your dream.

To help you visualize your potential, the following charts show averages of 10K times by sex and age in the standard format of hours, minutes, and seconds.

World Records and Elite Performances

When we talk about 10K race times, it’s essential to acknowledge the elite performances that set the bar at an astonishing level. These world records serve as a testament to the incredible dedication, training, and talent of elite athletes.

As of now, the current men’s world record for the 10 km distance is held by Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, who clocked an astounding time of 26 minutes and 11 seconds. That’s an average pace of about 4 minutes and 12 seconds per mile!

For women, the world record belongs to Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who had a remarkable time of 29 minutes and 1 second.

While world records and elite times are awe-inspiring, they should serve as motivation rather than a source of pressure.

As a recreational runner, your journey is about enjoying the sport, reaching personal milestones, and embracing the sense of accomplishment that comes from setting and achieving your own goals. In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve into practical training tips and strategies to help you progress on your 10K journey, no matter where you currently stand.

So What 10K Finishing Time Should I Aim for Then?

Wondering what finishing time you should aim for in a 10K race? It’s a bit like aiming for a target with a bow and arrow – you want a goal that challenges you, but isn’t so ambitious that it’s out of reach. From my running experiences, the best advice I can give is to aim for a time that suits your current fitness level on race day. Don’t set your sights on a bullseye that’s too far off.

Running a 10K is no small feat – it requires preparation, determination, and stamina. If you’re new to this, like I was once, don’t set a goal that’s too lofty for your first race. Start with something achievable and work your way up. It’s great to have ambitious goals, but biting off more than you can chew can lead to injury or burnout. Trust me, it’s far better to cross the finish line feeling strong and proud rather than injured and disappointed.

What do I consider a good 10K time? It’s like reaching a stunning lookout point on a hike – something around 45 to 50 minutes. This time is an average based on 10K times across various ages and genders worldwide. It’s the sweet spot where you enjoy the view and also feel a sense of accomplishment for making it to the top.

To hit this finish time, aim for a pace of about 8 minutes per mile. Seasoned runners often cross the finish line in under 40 minutes, which is less than 7 minutes a mile. But for beginners, remember, it’s about the journey, not just the finish line. Focus on your own race, pace, and experience.

Top 9 Long Run Variations – Unlocking the Secrets of Effective Long Distance Running

If you’re eager to maximize your long runs, you’ve come to the right place! Let me share my journey and insights into making the most of these essential workouts.

Long runs are a cornerstone of endurance training, renowned for enhancing fat oxidation, burning calories, boosting endurance, and getting you race-ready.

A word of advice: if you ever need to skip a workout, make sure it’s not your long run. These sessions are golden opportunities to practice everything from hydration to nutrition and gear strategies, setting you up for success on race day.

But let’s be clear: long runs aren’t just about putting one foot in front of the other. There’s a variety to choose from, each with its unique benefits, catering to different fitness levels and goals.

Worry no more.

In this article, I’m going to unpack the most popular long-run variations that will suit you whether you’re eyeing a half marathon, dreaming of conquering a marathon, aspiring for an ultramarathon, or just eager to level up your running game.

We’ll explore the ins and outs of:

  • The long, slow run (your endurance bestie)
  • The progression long run (hello, speed!)
  • The negative split long run (finish strong!)
  • The race pace long run (keeping it real)
  • The marathon long run (the ultimate test)
  • And so much more

Ready to discover which long-run recipe will spice up your training? Let’s lace up and dive in!

Classic Long Slow Runs (LSD)

When embarking on a journey as a runner, one of the foundational elements is the classic long slow run, often referred to as “LSD runs” in the running community. These runs are essential, not just for building basic endurance but also for strengthening muscles and bones.

They’re also a key component in improving your body’s ability to utilize fat as fuel, giving you a metabolic boost for better endurance, research shows.

The trick with LSD runs is to focus on the time spent running rather than the distance covered. This approach helps in pacing yourself better, avoiding fatigue, and preventing injuries.

Now, let’s talk about the pace of these runs. As a rule, aim to be running fast (or slow) enough that you can keep a casual conversation, enjoy the surroundings, and not even notice the passing of time.

Your goal is to keep a consistent and steady pace throughout the entire session. No sudden bursts of speed or fluctuations in your running rhythm. By holding back, you allow your body to adapt and develop the endurance necessary to tackle longer distances.

Progression Long Runs

Progression long runs are a step up, starting at a comfortable pace and gradually ramping up the intensity. The goal here is to challenge your ability to maintain pace and effort as fatigue accumulates.

Why should you give progression runs a shot? Well, research has shown that incorporating progression runs into your training can lead to significant performance improvements. By gradually increasing your pace during the second half of your run, you challenge your body to adapt, pushing your limits and enhancing your aerobic capacity.

The key is to start with an easy pace, allowing your body to warm up and find its rhythm. Begin your run at a pace that feels comfortable, even a bit slower than your usual training pace. But as you progress through the run, turn up the dial, increasing your speed gradually.

Depending on where you are in your training cycle, your progression run might take you to new heights. Towards the end of the session, you might be cruising at a pace that’s close to your marathon goal or even your lactate threshold pace.

Fartlek Long Runs

Fartlek runs, a concept originating from Sweden, mean “speed play.” These runs mix up long runs with intervals of faster and slower running, adding a dynamic and adaptable element to your training.

When you vary the intensity and pace throughout your long run, you challenge your body in unique ways. This dynamic variation boosts your cardiovascular fitness, enhances your speed, and improves your overall performance. What’s not to like, really?

After warming up for 10 to 15 minutes at a comfortable, conversational pace, start injecting random surges throughout the session. How? Every 10 to 15 minutes, pick a random object in the distance and increase your pace until you reach it. This could be a faster jog or a full sprint, depending on your fitness level.

The beauty of these intervals is their random nature. Embrace the spontaneity and let your body respond to the challenge. Speed up for an undefined amount of time or distance, keeping yourself on your toes and pushing beyond your comfort zone.

Fast Finish Long Run

One of the best training strategies for long-distance runners, the fast finish long runs forces you to keep logging the miles fast while fatigued. This type of training is particularly effective once you have established a solid base mileage.

Aim to schedule them every third or fourth long run, giving yourself enough recovery time and allowing your body to adapt to the demands.

Here’s how to do them right. Begin with your normal long-run pace and gradually work into faster paces during the last portion of the session. In fact, you should aim to run the last portion of your run at or near your goal race pace. This part should be challenging but achievable.

However, here’s a friendly reminder: don’t turn all your long runs into fast finish sessions. You don’t want to exhaust yourself by constantly running at race pace. That’s like sprinting a full marathon every weekend! Remember, balance is key.


Serious runner: who is serious about logging the serious miles every week? Then, doing back-to-back long runs is the way to go for boosting your weekly load.

This involves two consecutive long runs, usually on a weekend, focusing on building stamina and adapting to running on tired legs.  Both workouts are performed at an easy, conversational pace with the main objective of improving stamina and boosting confidence.

In most cases, this type of training is often employed by ultra-marathoners to increase their weekly mileage while keeping injury risk at bay. For example, let’s imagine you’re training for your first 50K (31 miles) and are prepping for your peak weekend. It’s safer to run 25 kilometers on Saturday and 15 the next day instead of trying to squeeze the whole 40K in one session.

What’s more?

Back-to-backs allow you to practice running tired legs, which is key for keeping a strong pace during long-distance events.

Here’s how to do them. Break down your peak weekend in two, and then complete part I on the first day and Part II on the second day. You can do this any day of the week, but it’s commonly done during the weekend.

The Surge Long Run

The surge long run adds an element of unpredictability to your training. It involves injecting bursts of speed into a regular long run, followed by returning to your normal pace.

The madness behind the method?  These surges are like little tests, little challenges you throw at your body unexpectedly. They shake things up, forcing your heart, lungs, and muscles to adapt quickly. This kind of training improves your running economy, boosts endurance, and prepares you mentally and physically for the unpredictable nature of race day.

In a race, you often need to speed up to pass someone or maintain pace. Surge long runs train your body and mind for these unpredictable changes in speed.

Plus, let’s be honest, it’s thrilling! It’s a chance to feel that rush, that burst of energy. It’s like playing a game with yourself – how fast can you go, how quickly can you recover? It turns an ordinary run into an exciting, dynamic workout.

If you’re new to this type of training, start with just a few short surges in your long run and gradually increase the number and length of these bursts. You should also decide in advance when you’ll do your surges. For instance, you might plan a 30-second surge every 10 minutes.

Trail-Specific Long Runs

Trail running is a whole different beast compared to your regular road runs. It throws in a bunch of wild cards – think rugged, technical terrain, those sneaky steep hills (I mean, where do they even come from?), and, of course, the whims of Mother Nature herself. It’s like an obstacle course out there!

But here’s where it gets exciting: trail-specific long runs. Imagine taking your usual long runs and sprinkling in a generous dose of elevation changes – we’re talking both uphill sprints and daring downhill dashes. It’s like adding a secret sauce to your training regimen!

Why bother? Integrating these elevation changes is like giving your body and mind a whole new set of challenges. It’s about pushing your limits and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And the payoff? Oh, it’s sweet. You’ll see a noticeable boost in your muscle power, a leap in your strength levels, and an endurance engine that just won’t quit. Plus, your trail running form will thank you big time.

But wait, there’s more! While you’re at it, remember a few key tips:

  1. Gear Up Right: Make sure you’ve got the right shoes for the job – ones that can handle the rugged terrain and offer good grip.
  2. Stay Hydrated and Fueled: Long runs mean you need to keep your energy up. Pack some water and snacks to keep you going.
  3. Listen to Your Body: This new challenge will be tough but don’t push through pain. Adapt and adjust your training as needed.
  4. Enjoy the Scenery: One of the best parts of trail running is the view. Soak in the beauty of nature around you!

Hill Long Run

If hilly terrain is on the menu, it’s time to add a hill long run to your training recipe. This isn’t just a workout; it’s your secret weapon for building leg and mental strength you need to dominate those hills on race day.

But wait, there’s more to hills than just muscle building. They also improve form. Uphill sprints? They teach you to lean forward and pump those arms like a pro. Downhill runs? They’re all about learning control and stability, so you’re not just barreling down like a runaway shopping cart.

And, as I hinted earlier, if your upcoming race features hills, practicing on similar terrain is priceless. Even if your race is as flat as a pancake, the strength and endurance you gain from hill training will still give you an unbeatable edge.

To ace this workout, here’s what you need to do:

Find the perfect route. Aim for a 16-20 mile loop. Start with a few flat miles to warm up, then hit a series of rolling hills. Top it off with a gradual descent for a triumphant finish. Living in a flat area? No sweat! A quick drive (let’s say, 30 minutes max) should land you at the ideal spot.

What’s more?

Pacing is super important. Start slow on the flats, then gradually increase your effort on the hills. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Marathon Pace Runs

Last but not least, the most challenging type of long run you can do is run them at a race pace.

Think of marathon pace runs as the dress rehearsal for your big race day.

They’re, in fact, part and parcel of the marathon training toolkit. During this variation, you’re not just logging the miles, but you’re actually running segments of it that mimic the pace you aim to maintain during your race. This is what race-pace running is all bout.

And if you never run for extended periods at your goal race pace, then you may lack the mettle and confidence on race day.

Start your long-pace run with easy running for around 20 percent of the total time/distance. Then, run the remaining 80 percent at the goal race pace. Following the race pace effort, log in a few easy miles to bring your heart rate and breathing to normal levels.

For example, a long run of 16 miles would consist of 3-4 miles at an easy pace, 10 miles at a race pace, and 2-3 miles at an easy pace. Yes, it’s that simple.

Integrating Long Runs into Your Training

Long runs are a crucial component of any distance runner’s training regimen. To maximize their benefits, it’s essential to combine different types of long runs strategically in your training schedule. Here’s how you can integrate them effectively, along with sample training plans for various experience levels.

Beginner Marathon Training

Weeks 1-8: Building a Solid Base

  • Long Slow Runs (LSD): 2-3 runs per week, each 10-14 miles, focusing on building endurance.
  • Progression Run: Once a week, gradually increase your pace throughout the run.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week, incorporate speed play for agility and speed enhancement.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days for recovery or alternative exercise forms.

Weeks 9-16: Gearing Up for Race Day

  • Long Slow Runs (LSD): Increase to 14-18 miles per run, 2-3 times a week.
  • Progression Run: Continue once a week.
  • Fast Finish Run: Once a week, end the last 2-4 miles at your target race pace.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week, maintain your speed play routine.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days as before.

Beginner Trail Marathon Training

Weeks 1-8: Building a Solid Base

  • Trail-Specific Long Slow Runs (LSD): 2-3 runs per week, each 10-14 miles on trails, focusing on building endurance and adapting to varied terrain.
  • Hill Long Run: Once a week, choose a route with rolling hills to build strength.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week, on trails, for speed and adaptability.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days for recovery or alternative exercises like hiking.

Weeks 9-16: Gearing Up for Race Day

  • Trail-Specific Long Slow Runs (LSD): Increase to 14-18 miles per run, 2-3 times a week, on trails.
  • Hill Long Run: Continue weekly on challenging terrain.
  • Fast Finish Run: Once a week, end the last 2-4 miles at a strong pace, ideally on a trail.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week, maintain your trail speed play routine.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days as before.

Intermediate Half-Marathon Training

Weeks 1-8: Laying the Foundation

  • Long Slow Runs (LSD): 1-2 runs weekly, each spanning 10-12 miles.
  • Progression Run: Once weekly, with a gradual increase in pace.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week for speed.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days.

Weeks 9-16: Advancing Your Training

  • Long Slow Runs (LSD): Increase your runs to 12-14 miles, 1-2 times a week.
  • Progression Run: Continue weekly.
  • Fast Finish Run: Integrate a race-pace finish for the last 2-4 miles once a week.
  • Fartlek Run: Maintain weekly.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: Keep up the 1-2 rest days.

Advanced Ultra-Marathon Training

Weeks 1-8: Building Ultra Endurance

  • Long Slow Runs (LSD): 2 runs per week, each 14-16 miles.
  • Progression Runs 1-2 times weekly, increasing pace gradually.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week for speed flexibility.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days.

Weeks 9-16: Peak Training

  • Long Slow Runs (LSD): 2 runs weekly, each 16-18 miles.
  • Progression Runs: Maintain the 1-2 weekly sessions.
  • Fast Finish Run: Incorporate a race-pace end for the last 2-4 miles once weekly.
  • Fartlek Run: Continue weekly.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: As before, 1-2 days.

Advanced Ultra-Trail Marathon Training

Weeks 1-8: Building Ultra Endurance

  • Back-To-Backs: Incorporate back-to-back long runs on weekends, each 14-16 miles, on trails.
  • Hill Long Run: Once or twice weekly, focusing on elevation gains and technical terrain.
  • Fartlek Run: Once a week on trails.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: 1-2 days.

Weeks 9-16: Peak Training

  • Back-To-Backs: Continue with back-to-back long trail runs, increasing distance to 16-20 miles.
  • Hill Long Run: Maintain the 1-2 weekly hill-focused sessions.
  • Fast Finish Run: Once weekly, include a strong finish on a trail run.
  • Fartlek Run: Continue weekly.
  • Rest/Cross-Training: As before, 1-2 days.

Remember to adapt these plans to your individual needs and consult with a coach or trainer for personalized guidance. Balancing different long-run types will help you develop a well-rounded skill set and achieve your running goals.

Final Thoughts

The key to becoming a well-rounded distance runner is to incorporate these long-run variations strategically into your training plan.

Experiment with different types, durations, and paces to find what works best for you.

Remember that the journey to becoming a better runner is an ongoing process, and each of these long-run types offers a unique path to improvement.

So, lace up your running shoes, hit the road or trails, and embark on the adventure of discovering the power of long runs.

Whether you’re aiming for a marathon, a half-marathon, or simply seeking to conquer personal milestones, these variations will be your trusted companions on your running journey. Happy running!

Get Fit Indoors: 6 Fun and Effective Treadmill Workouts for Beginner Runners

Are you ready to dive into the world of treadmill running? Well, you’re in luck because this is the ultimate guide you’ve been searching for! Forget about risking injury or burnout, because the treadmill is your ticket to a fantastic running experience. Wondering how? Keep reading, my friend.

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing with you everything you need to know to get started with indoor running. By the time you finish reading this beginner’s guide, you’ll have the knowledge to:

  • Master the art of using the treadmill
  • Discover the incredible benefits of treadmill running
  • Learn how to improve your treadmill running form
  • Take your very first steps on this fantastic machine
  • Uncover the perfect treadmill workout designed specifically for beginners

And guess what? There’s so much more waiting for you! Excited? Then let’s hit that start button and begin this exhilarating journey together!

The Benefits of Treadmill Running

Here’s what you stand to gain from hitting the belt more often.

Less Impact

Running on hard surfaces, like asphalt and concrete, increases the risks of overuse injury.

However, the treadmill belt offers extra cushioning that helps absorb much of this stress.

Forget About the Outdoor Conditions

Outdoor running exposes you to the elements, be it the weather, unsafe streets, uneven surfaces, etc.

All of these can stand in the way of your running success.

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about any of this when running on the treadmill.

Simulate the Race

Preparing for a race?

A treadmill can help you nail your perfect pace.

For example, if you are planning for a hilly 10K race, you can simulate that racing experience by incline training or even intervals on the treadmill.

Additional Source – Check this treadmill pace chart

Safer Than Running Outside

You can always run into troubles when doing outdoor running workouts: cracks, ruts, cyclists, cars, people, thieves, stray dogs, the wrong side of town, you name it.

Again, a treadmill can help you sidestep all of these risks.


Dealing with insecurities?

Worry no more.

Hopping on the treadmill gives you more privacy as you don’t have to fret about anyone judging your performance.

You can run at your own pace and call it to quit anytime you want.

Measurable Data

On a treadmill, you have a say on your training conditions, helping you run with more accuracy, whether it’s speed, incline, calories burned, heart rate, step count, and so on.

Beginner Treadmill Workout FAQ: Answering All Your Burning Questions

Are you eager to start treadmill running but feeling unsure about how to begin? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Before we dive into the beginner treadmill workout, let’s address some common questions beginner runners often have about the treadmill.

How Fast Should I train on the Treadmill As A Beginner?

The answer depends on your current fitness level. If you’re just starting out and have a sedentary lifestyle or are over 50 and overweight, don’t worry about speed. It’s important to start slow and work your way up gradually. However, if you’re already active and in good shape, you can crank up the pace.

Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is essential to improving your cardiovascular fitness and endurance. If you can achieve a pace of 5 mph or higher as a beginner, that would be fantastic. This will give you room for growth and help you to get your heart rate up. Plus, it’s a great way to challenge your body and boost your confidence.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to hit 5 mph right away. Remember that five miles per hour is the equivalent of a 12-minute mile, which is perfectly fine for someone who’s just starting out. To help you determine your per-mile pace, we’ve included a cheat sheet with various speeds and their corresponding minutes per mile.

Here’s a cheat sheet so you can have more ideas about your per-mile pace.

  • 5.0 mph = 12:00 minutes per mile
  • 5.5 mph = 10:55 minutes per mile
  • 6.0 mph = 10:00 minutes per mile
  • 6.5 mph = 9:14 minutes per mile
  • 7.0 mph = 8:34 minutes per mile
  • 7.5 mph = 8:00 minutes per mile
  • 8.0 mph = 7:30 minutes per mile

How long Should a Beginner Train on a Treadmill?

Again, the answer depends on you.

Every beginner is different and has a different starting point.

Just do as much as you can in the beginning while staying within your fitness level and paying attention to your body’s needs and signals the entire time.

For a complete beginner, you can start off treadmill training at a slow pace for no more than 15 to 20 minutes three times a week.

Then slowly increase the duration to 30 to 40 minutes over the course of a few week.

Here’s how often should you run per week.

How To Start Running on A Treadmill
For Beginners?

To make the most out of your treadmill workouts, try to incorporate these two valuable training tips.

Know Your Treadmill

If you’re feeling nervous about using a treadmill for the first time, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Taking your first few steps on the treadmill can be quite daunting. But it’s not rocket science.

The first thing you need to do is locate the “Start Workout” or “Quick Workout” button. Once you do, hold onto the handrails, step onto the belt, and press the button. In 3…2…1, the belt will start to move. It’s that simple!

As you get started, keep in mind that you may feel a bit wobbly or dizzy. Don’t panic, this is completely normal! You’re practicing a new motor skill, and it will take a few sessions to feel at ease. Once you’re comfortable with the basic functions of the treadmill, start experimenting with the speed and incline/decline options.

Of course, not all treadmills are created equal. Some have minimal options, while others have a more complicated user interface.

But the basics are still the same: Start/Speed/Stop.

Warm-Up For Your Treadmill Workout

Just like outdoor running, the key to effective treadmill training is a proper warm-up.

Skipping it will only increase the risks of premature fatigue and injury.

A good warm-up helps you get your blood pumping and heart rate ticking and be for the hard effort ahead.

Invest in at least a 5 to 10 minutes warm-up period, then aim to slowly increase your speed as you go, but never speed up to the point that your form begins to suffer.

Pay attention to your body before you speed up.

Treadmill Running Form

Treadmill running form is essential.

Bad form hinders performance and leads to injury.

Keep your treadmill running technique in check by doing the following:

  • Run tall and look straight ahead as if gazing at the horizon.
  • Aim to run with your natural gait, and avoid taking short and quick strides as well as thumping the belt too hard. Not good for your sole and ankle.
  • Keep your posture straight, the head should be up, back straight, and shoulders level.
  • Never slouch or curve your back, especially when going against an incline. Open your chest, make space for more air.
  • Let go of the handrails and keep pumping your arms the same way you do when running outside.

 6 Treadmill Workouts For Beginners

If you’re not sure how to proceed with your next treadmill workout, here are six treadmill runs to get you started.

Routine I – The 30-minute Beginner Treadmill Workout

To get started, let’s dive into some beginner treadmill workouts. If you’re brand new to running, start with the 30-minute beginner routine. This workout incorporates intervals of slow jogging and walking breaks for recovery.

First step –Start walking at a 1.5 to 2 mph pace and stick to it for at least 10 minutes.

Be sure to breathe deeply and visualize success all the way through.

Mental preparation is key.

Second Step Pick up the pace and start jogging at 5 to 5.5 mph for two minutes.

This is your first interval, so you shouldn’t push yourself here.

Practice good running form the entire time.

Run as tall as you can, engage your core, let go of the handrails, and swing your arms by the sides.

Keep your form aerodynamic,

Third Step – This is your first two minutes break, so make the most out of it.

Breathe deeply, towel off, and hydrate.

Fourth Step – Repeat the jogging/walking cycle for five times.

If it feels too much, pace yourself and slow it down, especially when your form starts to suffer.

Fifth Step –Slowly decrease your jogging pace and start walking at two mph for five minutes and cool down properly.

Breathe deeply and release all tension.

Make sure to also check in with your body and see how you feel.

Try to perform this workout at least three times per week during the first few weeks.

Then, as you get fitter and stronger, increase the time you spend jogging and less for recovery until you can run at a comfortable pace for 30 minutes without gasping for air.

Want more structure? Try my Couch to 5K treadmill Plan.

Routine II – The 30-minute Interval treadmill workout

Already a runner?

Then try this more challenging routine.

First Step – Warm up for 5 minutes by jogging slowly and taking deep breaths.

Skipping on the warm-up leads to premature fatigue or, even worse, injury.

Second Step – Run at your 5K pace (it should feel hard) for one to two minutes, depending on your fitness level.

Third Step – Recover by jogging slowly for one full minute.

Fourth Step – Repeat “Second Step” and “Third Step” five to eight times, depending on your fitness experience and training goals.

Fifth Step – End your workout with a 5-minute slow jog to cool down.

Stretch gently afterward.

A proper cool-down will help you avoid dizziness and might reduce muscle soreness for the following day.

Additional Resource- Your guide to curved treadmills

Routine III – The Incline Treadmill Workout

Want to take intervals to the next level?  Do them on an incline.

This helps simulate outdoor hill running, which boosts endurance and builds killer lower-body strength.

First Step – Warm up for 10 minutes.

Second Step – Increase the incline to 3 or 4 percent and run for 90 seconds at 80 percent of max-effort—a pace that feels moderately challenging.

Third Step (Recovery) – Jog for 60 seconds with no incline.

This is your recovery break.

Fourth Step – Raise the incline to five or seven percent and run for another 90 seconds at 15 seconds slower than your 10K paces.

Recover for one minute.

Fifth Step – Repeat the previous step three to four times, depending on your fitness level and goals.

Choose a steeper incline for more challenge.

Sixth Step – Cool-down

Additional Resource  – When to replace a treadmill belt

Routine IV – The Beginner Tempo Treadmill Run

A treadmill tempo workout teaches your body how to adapt efficiently to increased intensity.

This type of running helps you build up a fairly high volume of intense exercise that enhances both aerobic and lactate-threshold systems.

First Step – Warm up for 10 minutes.

Second Step – Run a mile at 20 to 30 seconds slower than your half-marathon pace—a pace that feels comfortably easy.

Third Step – Pick up the pace every mile by five to 20 seconds until you’re running the final mile 20 to 30 seconds faster than your half marathon pace.

Fourth step –  Cool down for five minutes.

Additional resource – How To run with a partner

Routine V – The Pyramid Treadmill Workout

Pyramid workouts are straightforward.

You’re simply kicking off your hard interval at one-minute segments, going for a longer running segment, and then working you’re back down one minute.

It should take you at least 50 minutes to complete the routine, but that’s not cast in stone.

Do what feels the best for you, and remember to always stay within your fitness level.

First Step – Five minutes: The Warm-up

Start with a proper warm-up, jogging for 10 minutes at a speed of 4 to 5 mph with no incline.

Second Step –Seven minutes: 1st Ladder

Increase speed to 6.0 mph and keep it going for the next three minutes. Practice good form.

Keep your torso straight, and your body relaxed from head to toe.

Next, increase the speed to 7 mph and incline to three percent for four minutes.

Second Step – Two minutes: Recovery

Slow down and recover for three minutes.

Hydrate, breathe deeply and release any built-up tension.

Third Step – Nine minutes: 2nd Ladder Interval

Increase the speed to 7 mph and incline to three percent for four minutes.

Next, increase the speed again to 8 mph and incline to five percent for five minutes.

Fourth Step – Two Minutes: Recovery

Slow down to 4 mph with a two percent incline.

Fifth Step – Nine minutes: 3rd Ladder

Increase speed to 7 to 7.5 mph and incline to five percent, and keep running strong for a full five minutes.

For the upcoming four-minute, keep the same speed, but lower the incline to three percent.

Sixth Step – Two minutes: Recovery

Slow down to 4 mph and recover.

Seventh Step – Six minutes: Ladder No 4

Speed it up to 8 mph and raise the incline to three percent.

Then, for the next two minutes, keep the same speed but raise the incline to five percent for the last interval of this pyramid workout.

Eighth Step – Five minutes: The cool-down

Jog slowly for ten minutes at a speed of 4 mph with no incline.

Additional resource – How to become a morning a runner

Routine VI – The Beginner Hybrid Treadmill Workout

Mixing treadmill training with bodyweight exercises can help you burn more fat, improve performance, and bust treadmill boredom.

Here is a CrossFit-Running treadmill workout.

It’s one of my favorites.

You can choose to add these bodyweight exercises to your treadmill workout any way you like.

After a proper warm-up of 5 minutes of jogging and some dynamic exercises, do the following.

  • Sprint for 30-second
  • Pushups: 8-12 reps
  • Sprint for 30-second
  • Squat Jumps: 8-12 reps
  • Sprint for 30-second
  • Treadmill recovery: 90 seconds of slow jogging.
  • Sprint for 30-second
  • Jumping jacks: 60 seconds
  • Lunge steps: 16 to 20 reps
  • Sprint for 30-second
  • Finish it off with a 5-minute slow jog as a cool down, followed by stretching.

Need more structure?

Try my beginner running plan.

For more, check my How to design your running program guide.

Treadmill workouts for beginners  – The Conclusion

Still, wondering how to start running on a treadmill? Then I believe today’s post has you covered.

The above simple training guidelines are all you need to start treadmill running.

The rest is really up to you.

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

And please, if you have any treadmill workouts for beginners, please share.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Keep running strong.

David D.

Run, Recover, Repeat: How to Supercharge Your Training with Recovery Runs

couple doing recovery run on a sunday

As a runner, I can attest that recovery runs are an essential part of my training routine, and I’m excited to share why they should be part of yours too.

Have you ever finished a challenging run and felt like your body just couldn’t handle any more pounding? That’s where the Recovery Run comes into play. It’s like a gentle massage for your muscles, an opportunity to flush out lactic acid, and a chance to get your body ready for the next workout.

But it’s not just about feeling good. Incorporating recovery runs into your training program can help improve your running form, boost your endurance, establish base mileage, and even speed up your recovery time.

In this article, I’ll dive deep into the benefits of recovery runs, how to find the right pace, when to schedule them, how long they should be, and tips on incorporating them into race-specific training.

So grab your running shoes, and let’s explore the art of the recovery run!

What is a Recovery Run?

Basically, a recovery run is a short, slow run completed within 24 hours after a hard session, usually an interval workout or a long run.

A recovery run can be of any distance, but as a rule, shorter than your base sessions and performed at a pace 60 to 90 seconds slower than your average run.

Imagine your body as a car that just finished a grueling race. You wouldn’t immediately push it to the limits again, right? You would give it some time to cool down and recover before revving it up for the next race. This is exactly what a recovery run is all about.

Aside from helping your body recover from hard workouts, recovery runs also help to improve running form, build endurance, establish base mileage, and even speed up recovery time.

“Improved” Recovery

First of all, let’s clear up something from the get-go about recovery runs.

Although called recovery runs, research has not yet proven that these runs actually speed up the recovery process in one way or the other.

In theory, recovery runs may help flush the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.

Once this build-up is gone, the soreness should subside while healing increases.

However, research is still inconclusive. But,, recovery runs offer other benefits that can take your running game to the next level. Let’s check a few.

Fatigue resistance

One of the most valuable benefits of recovery runs is fatigue resistance. By completing a recovery run after a hard workout or during a state of lingering fatigue, you can improve your endurance and power output, according to research conducted at the University of Copenhagen.

May Prevent Soreness

Recovery runs can help prevent soreness in your muscles, particularly in your hamstrings and calves.

They also increase blood flow and loosen up your muscles, preventing them from contracting and tightening up if you do nothing but sit on the couch all day.

Add Volume

Recovery runs can help you increase your weekly training volume, which can also help you improve your aerobic capacity.

The better your base, the faster and farther you can run.

Improve Form

Perhaps the best reason to incorporate recovery runs into your training program is that they can help you improve your running form and biomechanics.

With enough energy to focus on your technique and nothing else, you can work on perfecting your form and preventing injuries.

How To Find The Right Recovery Run Pace

Recovery runs are an essential part of any running program, but finding the right pace can be tricky. It’s important to remember that a recovery run is not a race, and it’s not the time to push yourself to your limits. Instead, it’s a chance to give your body a break and allow it to recover from a hard workout.

Here are two methods to help you find the right recovery run pace.

Method 1: Recovery Run Heart Rate

One way to find the right recovery run pace is to use a heart rate monitor. During a recovery run, you should aim to keep your heart rate between 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. This is also known as zone 1-2. However, it’s important to note that we all have different resting and maximum heart rates.

So, to be safe, it’s recommended to perform your recovery workouts at the lower end of that range. For example, if your normal training pace is 6:30/mile, then your recovery pace should be around 7:30 or 8:00/mile. Elite runners can aim for a pace slightly slower than their marathon pace.

Method 2: The Talk Test

Don’t have a heart rate monitor? No problem! Another way to ensure you’re running at the right pace is to use the talk test. During a recovery run, you should be able to hold a conversation without panting or gasping for air. If you’re running with a buddy, try reciting the alphabet or the pledge of allegiance together.

If you’re running solo, try talking to yourself. If you can’t speak in complete sentences, then you’re going too hard. Slow it down and enjoy the run.

The key to finding the right recovery run pace is to listen to your body. Don’t worry about your pace or the distance covered. Instead, focus on how you feel. Are you relaxed? Are you breathing comfortably? Are you enjoying the run? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re doing it right.

Pick a Flat Course

There are some important factors to consider when it comes to nailing your recovery run pace. One key element is the terrain.

First of all, consider the terrain. Recovery runs are not the time to tackle steep hills and rugged trails. You want to give your legs a break from the pounding they endured during your last run. Opt for a flat course instead, such as grass, flat trail, or gravel. Concrete and asphalt are not your friends during a recovery run because they can be hard on your feet.

Timing is also crucial. The best time to do a recovery run is within 24 hours of a challenging workout or long run. In fact, some experts recommend doing a recovery run in the morning if you completed a hard session the previous day. This is known as a “double” in the running world, and it’s a common technique used by elite runners to pack in as many miles as possible.

But don’t overdo it with your recovery runs. Even though the pace is slower, it still counts as running, which means there’s impact stress on your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. If you’re finishing your recovery run sweating profusely and feeling completely exhausted, you’re doing it wrong. You should actually feel better at the end of your workout than you did at the start.

Balancing It Out

It’s important for runners to find the right balance between recovery runs and other types of training.

As a general guideline, aim to do no more than two recovery runs per week and should adjust the frequency and duration of recovery runs based on your recovery needs.

Additional Resource – Your Guide to fun runs

Timing – Recovery Run After a Long Run

According to experts, it’s best to complete your recovery run within 24 hours of a challenging workout or long run. And if you’re a hardcore runner, you can even do your hard session in the morning, followed by a recovery run in the evening.

That’s how some elite runners can pack in as many miles as possible. However, keep in mind that recovery runs are only necessary if you run more than three times a week. If you run two to three times per week, then each session should be a quality workout followed by a recovery or cross-training day.

What’s more?

Keep in mind that just because you’re doing a recovery run doesn’t mean you should skimp on other types of recovery.

Stretching, diet, and sleep should be the bread and butter of your recovery routine.

Don’t Overdo Your Recovery Runs

Every time you pound the track, it still counts as running, no matter the label in front of it.

This involves impact stresses on your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Even the easiest recovery pace may aggravate a stress fracture.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re finishing your recovery runs sweating like hell and completely exhausted, then you’re doing it wrong.

The fact is, you should feel better at the end of your workout than you did at the start.

How Long Should a Recovery Run Be

What’s the point of recovery runs if you don’t know how long they should be? Generally, recovery runs can last for 3 to 5 miles or 25 to 40 minutes, depending on your fitness level and training goals.

However, even if you’re an established endurance athlete, covering 30+ miles a week, I’d still suggest no more than 3 to 4 miles for a recovery run. And remember to keep your speed steady and your breathing under control.

Race-specific Recovery Run Tips…

If you race often, then recovery runs should be a part of your post-race recovery strategy.

How quickly you pick up running again after a race depends on the length of the event you’ve just completed, your conditioning level, and when you plan to compete next.

Nonetheless, here is some general advice on when to plan your return to training.

  • Recovery Run After a 5K or 10K. Resume normal training within a few days, depending on your fitness level. The first day after the race, examine how your body feels. Usually, you’ll want to do a recovery run for at least 20 minutes, then stretch your body.
  • Recovery Run After A Half-Marathon. Completing a half marathon pretty much guarantees that you have inflicted some damage to your body. After three or four days, go for a 20 to 30-minute recovery run to help you get back into the swing of things as soon as possible.
  • Recovery Run After A Marathon. The following day following the race, walk around and stretch your body. Avoid running or any form of intense cross-training. Then, after two or three days, lightly cross-training. Next, schedule your recovery run at least a week post-race.

How to Do A Recovery Run  – Listen To Your Body

With all of this in mind, the key to making the most out of your recovery runs—and training in general—is paying attention to your body.

Take a few minutes every day to close your eyes and shift your attention inward to assess how you feel.

Start by performing a full body scan from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

My favorite time is in the morning.

Usually, during that time, your body will show its true color, so you can easily decide what to do next.

Pay attention, and why not keep track of everything you feel.

Your body is your best coach—it knows best.

Train hard when you’re feeling good, and take it down a notch when you feel like you are coming down with something or don’t have enough energy.

Recovery Runs – The Conclusion

In conclusion, recovery runs are a crucial component of any runner’s training routine, offering a multitude of benefits that can enhance your overall performance. These gentle, slow-paced runs act as a soothing balm for your muscles, allowing them to recover and prepare for future workouts. Beyond the immediate relief they provide, recovery runs contribute to improved running form, increased endurance, and expedited recovery times.

Please leave your questions and tips in the section below

Thank you for dropping by

David D.

From Novice to Elite: How to Avoid Running Injuries and Keep Your Stride Strong

prevent running injuries

If you’re a runner on the quest to keep those injury woes at bay, you’ve landed in the right spot.

Let’s face the truth—running injuries, particularly those pesky overuse ones, can derail your running journey faster than a flat tire on a race day. These little troublemakers often target the joints, ligaments, and muscles of your lower limbs, showing no mercy.

Here’s the kicker: no runner, from novices to elites, is immune to the threat of injury. It’s a common pitfall, especially for those who overlook preventive measures. In fact, research paints a sobering picture, with more than half of all runners getting sidelined by injuries, many of which strike at the knees, shins, or Achilles tendon.

But here’s the good news—we’re not defenseless in this battle! Today’s post is your arsenal of precautions to tilt the odds in your favor. So, if you’re ready to lace up your running shoes and explore the strategies to keep injuries at bay, stay with me.

Know Your Limits To Prevent Running Injuries

This is the foundation for dodging all kinds of sports injuries. It’s what I call “doing too much, too soon, too fast.” Your body needs time to adapt, or you’re cruising for disaster.

Here’s what to do.

Add recovery days and weeks to your training plan. Give your body a full-on break, physically and mentally.

Embrace the sacred day of rest each week. Mix it up by sprinkling in easier recovery runs between those hardcore hill repeats and sprints.

Off-time? Get into some cross-training. Swim, pedal on a low-intensity bike, or dive into my personal favorite, Yoga. Yin or Gentle yoga is pure magic for easing the stress in your body, especially within that fascia tissue.

Here’s the big one: Don’t crank up your mileage by more than 10 percent each week. It’s the slow and steady path to safely adapting your body.

Listen To Your Body

Running injuries usually don’t just sneak up on you (unless you trip on your shoelaces). They often come with warning signs – discomfort, soreness, aches, and, yes, persistent pain. But here’s the kicker: it’s up to you to pay attention.

Set up your own early warning system for pain. Get to the bottom of what’s causing it.

At the first hint of trouble – whether it’s a pain that flares up during a run or forces you into an awkward gait – hit the brakes. Take some days off and reassess your game plan.

Look, aches and running are like two peas in a pod. But if that pain sticks around and starts messing with your groove, it’s time to sit up and listen.

Here’s the golden rule: if your body’s hurting, just don’t run. That’s all there is to it.

Remember, fellow runners, you’re in this for the long haul. So, be kind to your body, heed its warnings, and keep those injury bugs at bay!

Strength Train

Now, let’s chat about a game-changer in your running journey – strength training. It’s not just about looking like a superhero (although that’s a nice bonus); it’s about boosting your running performance and keeping those pesky injuries at bay.

Get Ready to Power Up

Regular strength training is your ticket to improved structural fitness. Think of it as armor for your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, making them more resilient to the pounding of running.

Hips Don’t Lie: Hip Muscles Matter

Pay special attention to your hip muscles – those adductors, abductors, and gluteus maximus. Strengthening these bad boys can work wonders for your leg stability, saving you from ankle woes and knee drama.

Here are the runners-oriented strength routines you need:

Stretch Your Body

Increasing your range of motion can do wonders for your running efficiency and injury resilience. When your muscles can stretch and bend like a yoga master, your body moves with grace and less risk.

Runners have a knack for keeping tension in their hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, and glutes – prime real estate for potential injuries. Think knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendon issues.

I’ve got you covered with flexibility routines that’ll leave you feeling as limber as a rubber band. Say goodbye to those trouble spots and hello to injury prevention:

Calves of Steel

R.I.C.E – Treating Running Injuries

When aches and pains sneak up on you, don’t worry – you don’t need to be an E.M.T. to master these simple steps.

The R.I.C.E method is your superhero sidekick for immediate relief.

R is for Rest

If your knee, ankle, or any other part is giving you trouble, it’s time to hit pause. Take a breather and give your body the rest it deserves.

I is for Ice

Grab an ice pack or even a bag of frozen peas (I won’t judge). Apply it to the sore spot for 10-15 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Say goodbye to inflammation!

E is for Elevate

Lift that injured area to the sky (or at least above your heart). Elevating helps reduce swelling and promotes speedy healing.

C is for Compression

Get cozy with an A.C.E. bandage or compression socks. They’ll team up to battle inflammation and send pain packing.

Trust the Process

Remember, you’re not in this alone. R.I.C.E is here to help you bounce back from those running hurdles. So, when discomfort strikes, don’t hesitate to call on your trusty first aid squad!

Run on Proper Surfaces

Running on unforgiving surfaces like concrete or asphalt? It’s time to rethink your strategy.

Concrete and uneven terrain may look harmless, but they can wage war on your ligaments and joints. The result? An impact-heavy assault on your body.

If you want to stay in the race for the long haul, make softer surfaces your go-to. Think park paths, dirt trails, grassy roads – places that cradle your steps.

For a reliable, flat surface, hit the local track. It’s the ally you can count on to keep your running game strong.

Remember, your battleground choice can make or break your running journey. So, pick your battles wisely, and keep those injuries at bay.

Proper Running Shoes

In the world of running, your shoes aren’t just footwear – they’re your trusted allies. Here’s the deal: you can’t afford to underestimate the importance of proper running shoes. They’re not an accessory; they’re a necessity.

Don’t play the guessing game when it comes to your shoes. Head to a specialty-running store where knowledgeable staff can analyze your gait and foot type. They’ll help you find the perfect pair that suits your unique needs.

Even the best shoes have a shelf life. Plan to replace your running shoes every six months or after about 400 to 500 miles. If you start noticing discomfort or calluses on your heels, consider it a warning sign – it’s time for a change.

For those with bigger feet or unique proportions, finding the ideal pair can be a challenge. Don’t compromise on size or fit; invest in your running future.

Your running shoes are your armor on the track. Keep them in top shape, and they’ll keep you running strong.

Additional resource – How to treat black toenails from running

Proper Running Form

Your running form is like the foundation of a house. If it’s shaky, everything else can crumble. But if it’s solid, you’ve got a sturdy base for your running journey. Let’s get your form on point!

  • Imagine you’re running on a cloud. Keep your entire body relaxed, from your neck down to your fingertips. Don’t clench your fists – it leads to tension in your arms, shoulders, and neck.
  • Focus on the path about 15 to 20 feet ahead of you. Avoid the urge to stare at your feet. Keeping your gaze forward helps maintain balance and form.
  • Switch from heel striking to landing on the middle of your foot, then rolling through to your toes. It’s a game-changer that can boost your efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead. Running with your feet turned in or out is not only inefficient but can also increase the risk of injuries. Keep those toes pointed in the direction you want to go.

Prevent Running Injuries – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re looking to prevent overuse running injuries, then today’s post will get you started on the right foot. The rest is just details.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

Keep Training Strong.

David D.

Chiropractor For Runners – Do you Need One?

prevent running injuries

Did you know that over 70 percent of runners get injured each year?

Of course, don’t take my word for it.

Research by Harvard scientists reported that two-thirds of runners would be injured over a period of a year of training.

Most runners are aware of the high-impact nature of the sport. Push your body harder than last time, and you’ll be prone to sprains, tears, and strains. These pains can manifest into more serious running injuries that can kick you off the training wagon for a while.

Knee injuries are pretty common, and so are other conditions. Shin splints, ankle sprains, tendonitis, and calf strains are a few of a runner’s many injuries.

In most cases, a mix of rest, compression, and proper recovery practice can get the job eventually.

But if you want to sidestep running injuries fast, a chiropractor should be on your list as they can help bring your body into proper alignment, reduce pain and injury risk, and improve your overall health.

In today’s article, I’ll explain some ways that a chiropractor can help your running game and how to pick the right one for the job.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

What is Chiropractic?

Technically, a chiropractor is a healthcare professional who focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and conservative care of spine-related conditions and other painful musculoskeletal disorders.

The chiropractor’s overall objective is to soothe pain and restore normal function by manually adjusting or manipulating the spine and its structures.

The best part about working with a chiropractor is that they look at your whole body, not just the injury. For example, you might have pain in your knee, but the problem might be your hip. Your whole body works as one unit—and your spine is the center, so anything that affects it can also affect the rest of your body.

Around 50 million Americans visit a chiropractor each year.

Additional resource – Compression leggings for running

The Process Demystified

Literally translating to “healing with the hands,” chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative methods. They can fix musculoskeletal problems and improve nervous function—all of this in a non-invasive manner.

How come?

By making manual adjustments to joints, mostly to those in the spine, to south pain and restore range of motion to joints and other structures hindered by scar tissue caused by injury. This is believed to help the body’s health without medicating or surgery.

During the session, you might hear some cracks—a change in pressure in the joints that releases a bubble that pops. This might be problematic for some, but most people report instant relief.

Additional resource – The Myrtl routine

Enter Sport Chiropractor

Although standard chiropractic offers plenty of health benefits to people, it’s usually not enough for those engaging in high-impact sports—runners are no exception.

That’s why sports chiropractors exist as they might be the best manual therapist for dealing with chronic injuries and optimizing performance.

A sports chiropractor is a health professional that focuses on diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries and issues. They primarily treat injured athletes and those who want to improve their athletic performance.

Most sports chiropractors, such as Gratason and Active Release Technique (ART), are trained in muscle work. They also tend to be experts at rehabilitating and preventing sports injuries and designing treatment programs that allow athletes to return to their sports faster, according to

What’s more?

A good chiropractor can also provide soft-tissue therapies, fitness coaching, diet advice, and lifestyle recommendation.

That’s why there’s always chiropractic on professional sports and Olympic teams. Their services are invaluable.

Additional resource – Running with a labral tear

How Can A Sports Chiropractor Help Runners

When the vertebrae of your spine are misaligned, or your muscles are imbalanced, you’ll insentiently change your running gait—as in the way you move—to compensate.

When this occurs, other muscles and structures pick up the slack, forcing them to be used in the not-so-optimal (or wrong) way. This, as you can already tell, sets the stage for pain, especially overuse injury.

Runners, just like any other athletes, are prone to misalignments, including running on a slanted surface, sticking to the same type of surface, or training in ill-fitting shoes. Of course, you can simply change up your running terrains and shoes more often, but your chiropractors will help you figure you if your body is in want of more balance. The rest is just details.

So how can a sports chiropractor help?

The chiropractor’s goal is to single out muscular-skeletal issues related to physical activity and running, with the ultimate objective of relieving pain and preventing future (re)-injury.

A good sports chiropractor is trained to use advanced diagnostic tools, such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and musculoskeletal Ultrasound. These tools, in turn, help fully analyze a condition while also keeping tabs on the therapy progress.

For example, a chiropractor would assess how you move and run, then test for imbalances. Next, you’ll be asked to lie on a table while they put you into different positions body to align muscles, joints, and other structures.

Additional Resource – Running with Hemorrhoids

The Benefits of Chiropractors For Runners

So why do runners need a chiropractor? First, let’s dig into how they can help improve your running game and performance.

Speed Up Recovery

I hate to be the harbinger of bad news but sooner or later if you’ll come down with a running injury. The recovery period can last up to weeks or even months. Losing the ability to run can be a real setback, especially if you’re working toward specific running goals.

For this reason, lowering the risks of spending long spells on the sideline is welcome.

Although physical therapy helps speed up recovery and restore movement post-injury, a chiropractor can take your recovery game to the next level, getting you back on the road as soon as possible.

A thorough examination by a chiropractor will assess:

  • The way you move
  • The way you tend
  • Your foot arch type
  • The alignment (or mis-) of your knees
  • The alignment (or mis-) of our hips
  • And so much more

Following the assessment, the chiropractors recommend the right treatments and proactive measures.

Reduce Risk for Injury

As I’ve explained earlier, you’ll unconsciously change your running gait to compensate when your muscles or joints are out of alignment. This, in turn, forces certain structures to bear more load than usual, leading to overuse injury down the road.

A sports chiropractor can help keep your spine in alignment, which can positively impact the rest of your body. Regular adjustments limit the impact stresses caused by running, which helps prevent overuse injuries over the long haul.

Improved Range Of Motion

Relaxed and functional joints lead to an improved range of motion, especially through your pelvis and hips. This, in turn, can help improve your gait performance.

Although working with a chiropractor won’t turn you into the fastest runner on the block overnight, improving your range of motion can undoubtedly help you move more freely. This, in turn, lowers your risk of running-related injuries.

Lower Risk of Injury Recurrence

Another great benefit of using the services of a chiropractor is reducing the risk of having an old injury recur.

Regular adjustments can help restore balance to your body, which may help stop old injuries from resurfacing. This follows the same formula as the initial preventative measures employed by chiropractors that I mentioned earlier.

Can A Chiropractor Help With Runners’ Knee?

Tough back pain isn’t the most common running issue, runners’ knee is the signature injury of the running world. It’s also a condition that could be managed under the guidance of a sports chiropractor.

Although it’s not the ONLY culprit, one common cause of the runner’s knee is poor alignment (often stemming from misalignments within the spine).

Adjusting the spine triggers a domino effect on the rest of the body since the spine plays a major role in our central nervous system and everyday function. Most manual adjustments often focus on the sacroiliac joint, where the pelvis and hips meet.

A good sports chiropractor can also help evaluate the risks of a future injury by singling out muscle imbalances or joint restrictions that somewhat contribute to knee pain.

Some of the treatment strategies used by chiropractors for runners’ knees may include:

  • Deep tissue massage to break down scar tissues
  • Stretching the muscles around the knee
  • Strengthening the muscles around the knee
  • Fixing gain and foot strike
  • Improving function in the lower back to help improve proper leg movements
  • And so much more.

Sports Chiropractic Treatments For Runners

A good sports chiropractor will use various techniques and strategies to tend to a runner’s specific needs.

According to my research, the main chiropractic treatments are often recommended for runners.

  • Active Release Technique (ART) – this method combines stretching and active massage by applying deep tension to a certain body part. The goal is to feel for damaged or abnormal tissue in the muscle, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or fascia.
  • Y-Strap adjustment – This method helps the chiropractors stretch out your back and neck, and it works by pulling the head in the Y-Axis of the body. This pulling force helps achieve spinal decompression.
  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) – This is a technique that soothes tension by stimulating the surface muscles.
  • Functional Dry Needling – a great technique for releasing tension in trigger points via deep muscle stimulation with special needles.
  • Graston Technique – A form of Instrument Assistance Soft-tissue Mobilization, this method helps break up concentrated scar tissue with hand-held stainless steel tools.

How Much Do Chiropractors Cost?

In general, the services of a chiropractor can set you back anywhere from roughly $40 to several hundred dollars per appointment. The average fee for consulting a chiropractor in the U.S is around $65 per visit.

For some individuals, health insurance may cover a portion of chiropractic treatment. But, in most cases, a chiropractor may not design their intervention plan according to payouts from the insurance company.

How To Find A Chiropractor For Runners

Looking for a sports chiropractor? Hop onto Google. Look up terms such as “chiropractors near me” or “sports chiropractors in (your region)” for quick results.

I’d also recommend you check with your insurance company to see if they have any nearby chiropractors in your region.

What’s more?

Remember to check the reviews. You can also ask your family members, friends, or gym buddies about any referral they might have, especially if they’re also serious runners.

Chiropractor For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

If you’re interested in consulting with a sports chiropractor to help you with your running program, then today’s article should set you on the right path. The rest is just details, as the saying goes.

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

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

Mastering the Track: Your Guide to Successful Track Running

track running

Ready to hit the ground running on the track?

Well, my friend, you’ve come to the perfect spot (and I mean that both literally and figuratively). Get ready to unlock the secrets of the local track and take your running game to new heights!

Let’s start with a little truth bomb, shall we? The track is the holy grail of running sanctuaries. It’s like a sacred playground where you can unleash your inner speed demon, fine-tune your running technique, and escape the mundane distractions of the road. This oval-shaped paradise was made for one thing and one thing only—running, glorious running!

In this article, I’ve got your back, especially your track-loving feet. I’m dishing out some juicy beginner track guidelines to ensure you start this exhilarating journey on the right foot (pun intended). We’ll cover all the bases, my friend, and leave no lane unexplored.

So, what’s on the agenda? Oh, just a little bit of everything! We’ll dive deep into the nitty-gritty of track running, from unraveling the mysteries of what exactly a track is (spoiler alert: it’s not just a circle), to uncovering the mind-blowing benefits that await you on those sleek lanes. And that’s just the warm-up!

But hey, it’s not just about running—we’ll also explore the unspoken rules and etiquette of the track, because being a courteous and informed runner is the true mark of a track superstar.

But wait, there’s more! We’re not stopping at just the basics. I’ve got some killer track workouts lined up, suitable for beginners and advanced runners alike. These workouts will push you, challenge you, and make you wonder if you’ve tapped into some secret superhero power.

Does all of this sound great? Let’s get to it.

What a Running Track?

Picture this: a pristine oval paradise, crafted with precision and purpose. A track is a runner’s haven, a place where your strides find harmony with the ground beneath you. But it’s not just any surface—it’s a synthetic wonderland that cushions your every step, granting your muscles and joints a reprieve from the harsh impacts of the sport.

Trust me, your body will thank you for choosing the forgiving embrace of the track.

Now, I get it. If you’re accustomed to pounding the pavement, conquering trails, or frolicking through grassy meadows, the idea of circling around a track may seem like a daunting and monotonous task.

Worry no more.

I’m here to guide you through the labyrinth of track running and show you the endless possibilities that lie within those seemingly repetitive circles.

What Makes A Track – The Measurements

First things first, let’s talk measurements. A standard track is a marvel of precision, with four to eight lanes that encase its magical core. And guess what? It measures exactly 400 meters—roughly a quarter of a mile—around the innermost lane. But here’s where things get interesting.

As you move outward to the other lanes, the distance increases with each step. In fact, the outside lane stretches a tantalizing 40 to 50 meters longer than its inner sibling. This little quirk is the reason why you’ll often see staggered starting lines in races. It’s all part of the track’s intriguing charm, my friend..

Track Running Distances Explained

Here are some track measurements to help you wrap your head around track running

  • 100-meter – The length of each straightaway.
  • 200-meter—a half lap around a standard track, kicking off on the curve and finishing at the end of the straightway.
  • 400-meter—or a single lap. Roughly a quarter-mile, and one of the most challenging sprint races thanks to the speed and endurance it requires.
  • 800-meter—two laps around a standard track or roughly half a mile.
  • 1200-meter—three laps around a standard track, or roughly three-quarters of a mile.
  • 1600-meter—four laps around a standard track, or approximately one mile.

Using the same math, you can calculate further distances.

For example, if four laps around a track equal one mile, running 5 miles on the track will have you finishing roughly 20 laps.

Not rocket science.

Get the full scope to how many laps is a mile around a track here.

The Benefits of Track Running

Let’s dive into the incredible benefits that track running brings to the table.

If you’re still on the fence about giving it a try, prepare to have your doubts shattered and your running ambitions reignited.

Good For Motivation

We all have those days when running solo feels like a solitary journey into the depths of monotony. But fear not, for the track is your salvation.

It’s a hub of energy, camaraderie, and a little sprinkle of competitive spirit. As a public space, the track offers you the chance to connect with fellow runners, share stories, and find that extra spark that ignites your passion.

All you have to do is show up at the right time, and the track will embrace you with open lanes.

Improve Your Confidence

Track training has the incredible power to boost your confidence and transform your self-image as a runner.

Each stride you take on that meticulously measured oval reinforces your belief in your abilities. With every lap conquered, you’ll witness your self-esteem soaring to new heights.

Meet New People

Picture this: you’re on the track, surrounded by like-minded individuals, each with their own running journey. Together, you form a community that thrives on pushing boundaries and supporting one another.

Training sessions become a playground of friendly competition, as you strive to keep up with the more experienced runners by your side. The collective energy fuels your determination, encouraging you to push beyond your limits. The track becomes a melting pot of inspiration and growth, where friendships are forged and memories are made.

Another Surface Option

By incorporating track workouts into your training regimen, you add a whole new dimension of variety to your running experience.

Think of it as expanding your horizons, exploring different surfaces to enhance your skills and reduce the risk of injury. The track becomes a canvas upon which you paint your running dreams, offering a safe and controlled environment to test your limits. Say goodbye to the interruptions of traffic and obstacles that plague road running. On the track, it’s just you and the pursuit of excellence.

Track Your Progress

Thanks to the deliberate design of standard tracks, you can easily track your speed, effort, and time over a set distance.

You can also do this in a safe and uninterrupted manner.

Unlike on the road where you usually have to stop because of traffic and other obstacles.

The track is literally your playground.

Your Guide to Track Lingo

The more time you spend at a track, the more likely you may come across some of these common track terms.

Better be informed.

Here are the essentials:


Imagine taking your total running time and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts—usually measured in miles. Monitoring your performance at specific split markers is a valuable tool for maintaining proper pacing during your runs.

For instance, if you maintain the same pace throughout your entire run, you’re running an “even split.” But here’s where it gets interesting: if you pick up the pace during the second half of your session, surpassing your performance in the initial portion, that’s what we call a “negative split.

Additional Resource – Here’s how many miles should a beginner run


Now, let’s take a stroll down the track and explore the different sections. First up, we have the “straightway.” Picture this—100 meters of sheer power and intensity. It’s the shortest distance you’ll encounter in an outdoor sprint race.

This is where explosive speed reigns supreme, as runners unleash their turbocharged legs and push their limits in a lightning-fast burst. It’s a thrilling battleground where every stride counts, and the finish line beckons with a tantalizing promise.

The Curve

Think of the curve as the track’s twisty turn, where the straightway gracefully transitions into a bend. This is where agility and finesse come into play, as runners navigate the curvature with precision and grace. The curve is a true test of technique, demanding a delicate balance between speed and control. Embrace its challenge, and you’ll emerge victorious, conquering each graceful arc like a champion.


And let’s not forget about “sprints.” These are the epitome of raw power and explosive energy, the ultimate showcase of speed over a relatively short distance. It’s a test of your limits, pushing yourself to the brink and beyond in a blazing burst of intensity.

Sprint intervals typically last no more than 20 to 60 seconds, spanning a range of 100 to 300 meters. When it comes to sprints, every muscle fiber ignites, every heartbeat quickens, and you unleash a ferocity that propels you forward.


Picture this: bursts of faster-paced running followed by recovery periods, whether it’s a light jog or a brisk walk. These dynamic sessions have been proven through numerous studies and research papers to boost your aerobic capacity and enhance your speed.

It’s like giving your engine a turbo boost, pushing your limits, and unleashing your inner speed demon. The key here is to maintain a consistent level of effort and performance with each interval, ensuring that you’re giving it your all and leaving nothing on the track.


After each exhilarating sprint or interval, it’s time to catch your breath and bring that heart rate down. Think of it as a pit stop in a race where you refuel and recharge before diving back into the intense action.

During this crucial period, your body regroups, allowing you to fully recover and prepare for the next explosive burst of exercise. It’s the balance between exertion and rest that powers your progress and keeps you in the game for the long run.


Imagine short sprints that ignite your speedometer, typically ranging from 50 to 60 meters. Here’s how it works: you sprint at around 90 percent of your maximum speed for 20 to 30 seconds, fully recover, and then do it all over again.

Strides are not only an excellent warm-up to kick-start your momentum, but they can also be used as a grand finale, tapping into that reserve of energy when you feel like you still have more to give.


Think of drills as the pre-run rituals that prepare your mind, muscles, and nervous system for the speedwork that lies ahead. These functional exercises and stretches, such as butt kicks, high knees, walking lunges, and inchworms, are the secret sauce to priming your body for optimal performance.

They awaken your muscles, enhance your coordination, and create a seamless connection between your mind and body. It’s like tuning up a finely-tuned instrument, ensuring that every note you play on the track is pitch-perfect.

Get The Right Shoes

When it comes to conquering the track, your choice of footwear can make all the difference. Picture this: you’re striding confidently, feeling the surge of power with every step, and leaving your competitors in the dust.

That’s why it’s essential to get the right shoes on your feet, ones that are lightweight, comfortable, and supportive—a winning combination that helps you reach your peak performance while keeping those pesky injuries at bay.

While your trusty road running shoes can certainly do the job, if you’re ready to take your track game to the next level, it’s time to consider specialized track shoes like spikes or flats. These babies are designed with the track in mind, giving you that extra edge and helping you unleash your full potential.

Spikes Are The Way to Go

Now, let’s talk about spikes. Imagine them as your secret weapon, providing optimal traction and grip on the track’s surface, allowing you to channel your inner speed demon.

For beginners, I recommend starting with middle-distance spikes. These gems strike the perfect balance between lightweight agility and cushioned comfort, with some extra padding at the heel to give you that sweet cushioning over middle distances. They’re like the sleek sports car that hugs the curves and powers you through each lap with grace and precision.

Plus, they offer more flexibility than their sprinting counterparts, giving you the versatility to tackle various track workouts.

Track Running Rules

Another thing you need to pay attention to is track etiquette.

Since it’s a social venue, there are many conduct rules you need to abide by—unless you want to come off as a completely obnoxious person, or worse, get kicked off the track.

Following these rules is key on the track.

Not only does it help prevent unwanted clashes with other track users, but it also reduces the risk of accidents to you and others.

Stick To Your Line

Let’s start with the cardinal rule: stick to your line. Just like on the expressway, lanes on the track have their own pecking order. The inner lanes, akin to the fast lane on the highway, are reserved for speed demons, those unleashing their lightning-fast intervals and strides.

So, if you find yourself occupying the inner lane and you’re not part of the speedsters’ club, you risk becoming an unintentional speed bump. Instead, gracefully make way for those on a mission and allow them to pass more easily. It’s all about maintaining the flow and keeping the track’s energy in perfect sync.

Run Counterclockwise

Now, let’s talk about direction—counterclockwise is the name of the game. Embrace those left turns like a dance routine that’s been choreographed to perfection. Running against the grain and attempting to stand out by going against the established flow? Well, let’s just say it’s not a good look.

Remember, we’re in the land of track aficionados, and following the unwritten track law is the key to fitting right in. Keep your eyes peeled for posted signs that explicitly state the running direction, or simply follow the lead of the seasoned track warriors who know the ropes.

Pass Safely

A track is a public place that you’ll be sharing with others training at different paces, so expect to pass some.

As a rule, pass other track users on the right-hand side when running counterclockwise or on the left clockwise.

Also, this rule isn’t written in stone.

Adjust your approach to what other runners and walkers tell you is right for their track.

What’s more?

As long as you’re mindful of the shared space, you’re doing it right.

Know The Slots

Most tracks are not open all day long for everyone.

They typically have off-limit times for recreational runners.

For example, some tracks restrict public use during school hours for the safety of the students, whereas most restricts use at night.

Check out the rules to check what is allowed and not allowed for each track you use.

Track and Field tips for Beginners

Now that you know a thing or two about track training and how to conduct yourself once you’re there, let’s look at how you can actually get started.


Whether you’re doing a long run on the trails, or a speedwork session on the track, the warm-up is always the first step

The main purpose behind a warm-up is to increase blood circulation, heart rate, and core temperature so that you won’t have to “go through the gears” in your workout.

A good warm-up also fires up your muscles so they can perform optimally, reducing the risk of muscle or tendon injury.

To warm-up, jog a few laps on the track, preferably on the outer lanes.

Once you feel your heart rate and body temperature increase, perform a few dynamic stretches on the infield or outflies space.

Have A Plan

Decide beforehand what your track sessions will be so you can get mentally ready for what pace you’ll run, how much recovery you’ll take, and how long the session will be.

Avoid running laps mindlessly around the track.

That’s how you are going to waste your time running in circles and actually achieving nothing in the process.

I’ve provided you below with many workout options to choose from.

Pick something that suits your fitness level and training goals.

The rest is just details, as the saying goes.

Pace Yourself

Most track workouts involve some form of speedwork or the other—that’s why it’s key to pace yourself properly.

As a rule, pace depends on your fitness level and training goals.

Start slower than your maximum so you can hold early and finish strong.

As the workout progresses, it should feel harder to keep up the pace.

But if you find it hard to complete a fast segment, ease back a bit instead of adding extra recovery time.

The fitter you get, the more you can increase the number and/or length of reps or reduce recovery.

It’s up to you.

Additional resource – How to choose a running buddy

Sample Track Running Workouts to Try

If this is your first time on the track, performing 100-, 200-, or 400-meter reps can help you set the right foundation.

As a beginner, aim for a 1:1 ratio for the interval to recovery.

In other words, run the same distance you walk.

For example, if you run one 400-meter, walk for a full 400-meter in the outer lanes to recover, then repeat.

Here are a few workouts to try.

The 100-Meter Repeats

  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up
  • Run hard for one straightway—or 100 meters.
  • Recovery by jogging or walking a full straightaway.
  • Repeat six to eight times
  • Cool down for 10 minutes

The 200-Meter Repeats Session

  • Warm-up for 10 minutes
  • Run hard for 200 meters, or half the track, which is one curve and one straightaway.
  • Recover by jogging or walking for another 200 meters
  • Repeat six to eight times
  • Cool down for 10 minutes

The 400-Meter Repeats Workout

Warm-up for 10 minutes

  • Run hard for 400 meters, or one lap around a standard track, at a controlled effort.
  • Recover by jogging or walking a full lap.
  • Repeat five to seven times.
  • Cool down for 10 minutes.

The Ladder Session

The ladder workout is a fantastic session that helps you build endurance, speed, and confidence, regardless of the race distance you’re aiming for.

  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up.
  • Run hard for 400 meters, but at a controlled pace. Then walk a full lap to catch your breath.
  • Run hard 800 meters at a controlled pace. Then walk a full lap to catch your breath.
  • Run 1200 meters at a challenging pace, then walk a full of catching your breath.
  • Run hard 800 meters at a controlled pace. Then walk a full lap to catch your breath.
  • Run hard for 400 meters, but at a controlled pace. Then walk a full lap to catch your breath.
  • Cool Down for 10 minutes.

The Mile Repeats Session

Looking to improve your race times and increase your running confidence?

Then mile repeats are exactly what you need.

In fact, mile reps are the ideal speed workout to run a faster long-distance event, such as a marathon.

Here’s a sample routine.

  • Start with a 10-minute jog as a warm-up.
  • Run one mile, or four laps, at your 10K pace, or 15 to 20 seconds faster than your realistic goal marathon pace.
  • Recovery at an easy face for two laps around the track. Make sure your breathing and heart rate are back to warm-up level before you crank up the intensity.
  • Repeat the cycle two to three times, depending on your fitness level. Aim to get it up to 5-6 reps as your fitness improves.
  • Finish it off with a one-mile jog as a cool down.

Can Running Help You Build Muscle? Discover the Surprising Truth

Heart rate variability

A quick Google search of “does running build muscle” confirms what many people already wonder – whether starting or increasing running might lead to muscle loss. However, the truth is quite the opposite.

In fact, as we’ll discover in today’s post, running, when combined with a healthy diet, can actually help you build muscle and achieve a leaner physique.

So, if you’re curious about how running can contribute to muscle development, this article has you covered.

I’ll be diving into the details of building muscle while incorporating running into your routine, and provide you with some valuable tips to make your running workouts as muscle-friendly as possible.

Does Running Build Muscle?

The question of whether running builds muscle is a complex one, as it depends on various factors and the type of running you do.

Let’s dive into the nuances of how running can impact muscle growth:

  • Running Type Matters: Different types of running have distinct effects on muscle growth. For instance, sprinting and hill running can stimulate muscle growth, especially in the legs and glutes. These short bursts of intense effort create muscle tension and micro-tears, prompting muscle repair and growth.
  • Long-Distance Running: On the other hand, long-distance or steady-state running primarily focuses on cardiovascular endurance and fat burning. While it may not contribute significantly to muscle hypertrophy, it can help maintain lean muscle mass and tone.
  • Resistance Training vs. Running: For substantial muscle growth, resistance training (weightlifting, bodyweight exercises) is more effective than running alone. Combining both running and resistance training can provide a balanced approach to fitness.
  • Nutrition and Recovery: Proper nutrition and adequate recovery play crucial roles in muscle development. Consuming enough protein, calories, and nutrients supports muscle repair and growth. Additionally, getting adequate rest and sleep is essential for recovery and muscle repair.
  • Genetics and Individual Variation: Genetics also play a role in how your body responds to running and muscle growth. Some individuals may naturally gain more muscle from running than others.

To learn about the process of muscle building, check the following articles:

The Running Motion

Let’s delve deeper into the muscles involved in the running motion and how they contribute to your overall strength and endurance:

Primary Muscle Groups:

  • Calves: The calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) are heavily engaged in running. They help propel your body upward during push-off and absorb shock during landings.
  • Quadriceps: The quadriceps, located in the front of your thighs, play a significant role in extending your knee and providing the power to lift your legs during each stride.
  • Glutes: The gluteal muscles, particularly the gluteus maximus, are responsible for hip extension and provide power to your stride.
  • Core: Your core muscles help stabilize your torso and pelvis, maintaining proper posture during running.
  • Shoulders and Arms: While these muscles are not the primary drivers of running motion, they contribute to maintaining balance and arm swing, which can aid in overall efficiency.

For an in-depth look into the impact of running on muscle, check the following articles:

What Should You Do to Prevent Muscle Waste Via Running?

To prevent muscle loss while running and actively build muscle, it’s essential to transition from aerobic to anaerobic training. This shift involves changing your focus from slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are primarily used during steady-state aerobic cardio, to fast-twitch muscle fibers, which come into play during anaerobic activities.

Here’s how you can make that transition:

  • Focus on Interval Training: Incorporate plenty of high-intensity runs, such as sprints, into your training routine. These workouts involve short bursts of intense effort over a brief period.
  • Increase Training Intensity: By elevating the intensity of your workouts, you place more stress on your muscles, which can stimulate strength gains and muscle development.
  • Listen to Your Body: Be mindful of your body’s signals and avoid pushing yourself too hard too soon. Gradually increase the intensity of your runs to allow your muscles to adapt and prevent overuse injuries.

Now, let’s explore two running workouts that are excellent for improving muscle mass and achieving a toned physique. Remember to start each session with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up and finish with a proper cooldown to enhance your performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Now, let’s get to work.

The 100-Meter Sprint

For this workout, you’ll be doing 100-meter sprints to build muscle and increase explosive power.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Track Setup: Head to a running track or find a flat, open area where you can sprint safely.
  • Warm-Up (10 Minutes): Start with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints. Include exercises like leg swings, high knees, butt kicks, and arm circles.
  • Sprint and Recovery: Begin by sprinting as fast as you can along the straight section of the track (100 meters). Focus on maximum effort during the sprint.
  • Walking Recovery: After completing the 100-meter sprint, walk the curved section of the track to recover. This walking phase allows you to catch your breath and prepare for the next sprint.
  • Repeat: Repeat this cycle for a total of four to six laps. Each lap consists of one 100-meter sprint followed by a recovery walk.
  • Progression: As your conditioning improves, you can gradually increase the number of sprints or the distance of each sprint. Challenge yourself to push harder during each sprint.
  • Cool Down: Finish the workout with a 5-10 minute cool-down, which includes light jogging or walking to gradually lower your heart rate and prevent muscle soreness.

The Uphill Surges

Looking to take your sprints to the next level?

Embrace hills.

Hill sprints are an excellent way to take your sprinting workouts to the next level and build muscle. Here’s how to incorporate hill sprints into your routine:

  • Find a Suitable Hill: Look for a hill with a grade of five to ten percent that takes approximately 30 seconds to run up. The hill should offer a challenging incline but still be manageable.
  • Warm-Up (10 Minutes): Begin with a 10-minute warm-up on a flat surface. You can jog or perform dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare your muscles for the workout.
  • Sprint Up the Hill: Once you’re warmed up, sprint up the hill as fast as you possibly can. Focus on powerful, explosive strides as you ascend the hill. This uphill sprint will engage your leg muscles, including your quads, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Jog Downhill: After completing the uphill sprint, jog back down to the starting point. This downhill jog serves as your recovery period, allowing your heart rate to come down.
  • Repeat: Repeat this cycle of sprinting uphill and jogging downhill for 15 to 20 minutes. The exact number of repetitions will depend on your fitness level and the length of the hill.
  • Cool Down (10 Minutes): Finish the session with a 10-minute cool-down. You can jog on a flat surface or walk to gradually lower your heart rate and prevent muscle tightness.

Strength Train

To complement your running routine and promote overall muscle growth, it’s essential to incorporate strength training into your fitness plan. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Alternate Running and Strength Training Days: Create a balanced workout schedule that includes both running and strength training sessions. For example, you could run on certain days and perform strength training exercises on others. This approach allows your muscles to recover adequately between workouts.
  • Target All Muscle Groups: While running primarily engages lower body muscles like calves, quads, and glutes, strength training enables you to work on other muscle groups such as the chest, shoulders, back, and core. Incorporate exercises like chest presses, shoulder flies, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and planks to target various muscle groups.
  • Focus on Compound Movements: Compound exercises involve multiple muscle groups and are highly effective for building overall muscle mass. Examples of compound movements include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows. These exercises engage both upper and lower body muscles.
  • Progressive Overload: To stimulate muscle growth, gradually increase the resistance or weight you use during strength training exercises. This principle, known as progressive overload, challenges your muscles and encourages them to adapt and grow stronger.
  • Rest and Recovery: Ensure you incorporate rest days into your training plan to allow your muscles to recover and repair. Recovery is essential for muscle growth and injury prevention.
  • Proper Nutrition: Fuel your workouts with a balanced diet that includes an adequate intake of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Protein is particularly important for muscle repair and growth.

Additional resource – Guide To BCAAs for Runners

Recover Well

Recovery is a crucial aspect of muscle building, and it’s essential to prioritize it in your fitness routine. Here are some key principles to follow for effective recovery:

  • Adequate Rest: Ensure you get enough sleep each night to allow your muscles to recover and repair. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep, as this is when the majority of muscle regeneration occurs.
  • Active Recovery: Incorporate light activities like walking, swimming, or yoga on your rest days. Active recovery helps increase blood circulation and can alleviate muscle soreness.
  • Nutrition: Provide your body with the necessary nutrients for muscle repair and growth. Consume a balanced diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Protein is particularly important for muscle recovery.
  • Hydration: Stay well-hydrated throughout the day, as dehydration can hinder the recovery process. Water is essential for muscle function and overall health.
  • Stretching and Mobility: Include regular stretching and mobility exercises in your routine. Stretching can help reduce muscle tightness and improve flexibility.
  • Foam Rolling: Consider using a foam roller to perform self-myofascial release (self-massage). Foam rolling can alleviate muscle knots, improve circulation, and reduce muscle soreness.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels. If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, it’s essential to rest and allow your muscles to recover fully. Pushing through excessive soreness can lead to injury.
  • Gradual Progression: When increasing the intensity or duration of your workouts, do so gradually. Rapidly increasing training volume can lead to overuse injuries and hinder recovery.

Additional resource – Single leg bridge for runners

Eat Your Protein

Protein is a crucial component for building and maintaining muscle mass while running. When you engage in exercise, especially running, it triggers muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is the process of creating new muscle proteins. Adequate protein intake enhances this process, promoting better muscle growth and recovery.

Quality sources of protein are essential for repairing and rebuilding the muscle fibers that may be damaged during your runs. It’s a good practice to consume protein-rich foods within 15 to 30 minutes after running to aid in muscle recovery and replenish the calories you’ve burned.

As a general guideline, individuals looking to gain muscle should aim for a daily protein intake of about 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 160-pound person should consume roughly 96 to 144 grams of protein per day.

Quality protein sources include eggs, meat, poultry, fish, beans, soy, and legumes. Incorporating these foods into your diet can help support muscle growth and overall fitness goals.

Additional reading – Guide to supplements to gain mass

Eat Your Carbs

Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy during exercise, including anaerobic activities like sprinting. Consuming healthy sources of carbohydrates before a run ensures that your body has enough fuel to perform optimally.

Some examples of healthy carbohydrate sources include:

  • Starchy vegetables (e.g., sweet potatoes)
  • Whole grains (e.g., brown rice)
  • Fruits
  • Legumes (e.g., beans)
  • Dairy products

These carbohydrates provide the necessary energy to support your muscles during high-intensity efforts like sprints. Incorporating them into your diet can help improve your overall running performance and muscle-building capabilities.

Eat Your Fats

Fats are indeed an important part of a balanced diet, and they can serve as a valuable fuel source during lower-intensity training, such as long-distance running. It’s essential to have a well-rounded macronutrient distribution to support your overall energy needs.

As a general guideline, aim to get approximately:

40 to 60 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates, which are essential for quick energy during high-intensity activities like sprints.

20 to 30 percent of your calories from protein to support muscle repair and growth.

The remainder is from healthy fats.

Healthy fat sources include:

  • Olive oil
  • Whole eggs
  • Fatty fish
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Avocadoes
  • Nut butter

Including these fats in your diet can provide sustained energy for endurance activities like long-distance running while still supporting muscle health and overall performance.

Does Running Build Muscle – The Conclusion

So does running build muscle

Yes, it’s possible to build some muscle with running.

As long as you balance muscle burning—or muscle protein breakdown—and muscle bidding—or protein synthesis, you shouldn’t fret about losing your precious mass.

So, if you’re looking to improve your muscle mass, running can definitely be a part of your training program.

You shouldn’t shun it simply because you’re worried about losing muscle.

As I have explained in today’s article, there are many steps you can take to help avoid the potential pitfall, and the perks of running, such as increasing endurance and overall body strength, are too good to pass on.

What’s more?

Logging the miles won’t turn you into a bodybuilder.

At the very least, even if you don’t build muscle mass while running, you may start to look more sculpted as your body shape changes while increasing your mileage.

When Was Running Invented? The Fascinating History of This Enduring Sport

Have you ever Googled “when was running invented” and got a ridiculous answer that Thomas Running invented it in 1784 by trying to walk twice the same time? Well, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, my friend.

What’s more, running wasn’t invented by the first human who was late for work, as the old joke says.

But the truth is even more fascinating than any false factoid. Running is an ancient practice that has shaped human history in countless ways, from our physical evolution to our cultural legacy. It’s no wonder that millions of people lace up their shoes every day and hit the pavement.

But where did it all begin? In this article, we’ll dive deep into the history of running and explore how this simple act has shaped our world in ways we never imagined.

In this article, I’ll take you on a journey through the history of running, piece by piece, and show you how this simple act of putting one foot in front of the other has shaped our world in more ways than we ever thought possible.

So, get ready and let’s trace back the origins of running in human history.

When Was Running Invented

I hate to state the obvious, but as you can already tell, running was never “discovered.”

Well, it’s not like someone woke up one day and said, “I think I’ll invent running today.”

That would be like saying the first person to sneeze invented allergies. No, running is a natural ability that humans and animals alike have developed over time. It’s like eating or sleeping – we don’t remember who invented those either, do we? As long as a creature has two legs, then they can run since the activity mainly involves moving the legs faster than walking.

But don’t just take my word for it; science backs me up on this one. Our primate ancestors were probably the first creatures to realize the benefits of using their legs to cover long distances on the ground. And from there, the rest is history. Or should I say, evolution?

As for running as a sport, we can thank the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians of the ancient world for that. They were the OG runners, long before Usain Bolt or Paula Radcliffe came along. But let’s be real, they didn’t have fancy running shoes or compression socks like we do today. Can you imagine running a marathon in sandals? Ouch.

The History Of Running Explained

Running – it’s not just a way to get fit or show off your sculped calves on Instagram. Back in the day, running was a matter of life and death.

Picture this: you’re a prehistoric human, out foraging for food, and suddenly, a saber-toothed tiger appears. What do you do? You run. You run like your life depends on it – because it does.

Survival was the ultimate game.

Nowadays, survival is the last thing you’ve on mind while jogging. (unless you’re chased by a big wild dog). But for the ancient man (and woman), being able to run long distances was key to survival.

Here’s the truth.

Running is also what helped us evolve into the modern human body form. You could say that without running, we might still be swinging from tree branches and munching on bananas. Okay, maybe not the bananas part, but you get the idea.

According to evolutionary theory, running played a crucial role in our anatomical evolution. So, next time you go for a jog, thank your ancient ancestors for developing those strong legs of yours. You’re not just running for fitness – you’re running to keep the human race alive. No pressure.

So how far does running go back in human history?

Running was “invented” as early as when primitive humans evolved from primates around seven million years ago and started to transition from tree climbing to bipedalism, which is a term that refers to species that walk on two legs.

Let’s break down the timeline of the evolution of running.

4.5 Millions Ago – The “Invention of Walking.”

Did you know that the earliest evidence of animals walking upright on two legs, just like us, can be traced back to four million years ago?

Research has reported that Australopiehtics—an ape-like creature believed to be an ancestor to humans—fossils showed that our early ancestors at that time walked upright before developing stone tools.

In other words, we were all born to run, my friend. Some scientists even go as far as to claim that running is one of the most transformative events in human history. Pretty cool, right?

3.5 Millions  – The Evolution of Walking

In 1999, the country of Kenya made the headlines after a group of scientists discovered fossil evidence for the Kenyanthropus platyops. This small-brained, flat-faced bipedal lived around 3.5 million years ago and had footprints that showed walking patterns very similar to those of humans today.

2.6 Million years  – The Emergence of Running

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Our ancestors developed the ability to run long distances around 2.6 million years ago, according to fossil evidence of some individual features of the modern human body.

Scientists believe this evolution was spurred by persistence hunting, which was one of the strategies early hominids used to survive and thrive.

The practice of persistence hunting involved a group of hunters that would stalk and chase after prey for prolonged periods, tactically changing turns until the animal was too beat to flee. This is a good reason to consider running a formal part of our DNA.

The Evolution of Running Specific Anatomical Features

Apparently, back in the day, faster runners were the best hunters. If you could not hunt, your chances of survival were pretty slim (sorry, no checks from the government to bail you out).

Research also singled out a wide range of physical traits that strongly suggest that our ancestors evolved as distance runners.

Some of these traits include that helped our ancestors to hunt down prey and compete more effectively with faster predators in the open plains of Africa include:

  • The decoupling of the shoulders allowed early humans’ bodies to rotate while the heads aims forward during running
  • Skull features that help regulate overheating during running
  • A taller body with a narrower pelvis, waist, and trunk.
  • The development of bigger buttock muscles, allowing for stabilization and power during running.
  • And so many other features that you can find out more about here.

In other words, we were all made to run from the get-go. Some scientists even go as far as to claim that running is one of the most transformative events in human history.

Who Was Thomas Running?

Who is Thomas Running, you ask? Well, he’s a social media sensation and the star of one of the funniest running memes out there. But when it comes to the evolution of running, he’s about as significant as a snail in a marathon. So let’s put the myth to rest once and for all, shall we?

Here’s the truth.

Despite what Google might tell you, Thomas Running had nothing to do with inventing running. In fact, he’s nothing more than a figment of the internet’s wild imagination. I mean, seriously, who comes up with this stuff?

This hilarious running meme goes like this:

I don’t know about you, but this meme is quite funny. It’s one of my favorite running memes. It’s up there with my other favorite running memes, like the one with the guy eating pizza while running a marathon. I mean, talk about multitasking!

The idea behind that trend was simple – inventions occur when someone tries to do something twice at the same time. A few years ago, this was part of a trend in writing funny posts about inventing.

Anyway, let’s get back to the task at hand. Just know that if you ever stumble upon other fictitious characters like Joshua Jogging or John Lie, they’re just as fake as Thomas Running. But who knows, maybe they’ll become the next viral sensation. The internet is a strange and wonderful place.

when invented running

When Was Running  – The History Of The Sport

Running has been a part of human history since ancient times, and it served different purposes depending on the era. Initially, early humans ran for survival, but as civilization evolved and agriculture and livestock were established, running was used for other reasons.

For instance, ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians employed messengers who ran long distances to deliver news because they were better equipped than horses to traverse unfriendly terrains and steep inclines.

Sure, they did have horses back in the day, but human messengers could traverse through unfriendly terrains and steep inclines.

The same ancient civilizations also organized sports and events during which running was the main attraction. Professional runners back in the day were treated like rockstars.

Running As a Symbol

Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians organized sports and events where running was the main attraction. The Sed festival in ancient Egypt was one of the most important ceremonies of kingship and is considered one of the earliest and longest-running rituals in Egyptian history, dating back more than 3,000 years B.C. Evidence shows that the ritual survived through the Roman conquest of Egypt around 2000 years ago.

So what was it all about?

Also known as the Heb Sed or Feast of the Tail, the Sed festival consisted of ancient Egyptian rituals and ceremonies that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh. This massive occasion was introduced thirty years into the Pharaoh’s reign, and it was repeated every three months until his death.

The Sed festival consisted of several stages. It’s believed that the king would make different offerings to the gods. Then, he’d run four laps on the course that was designed to represent the lands of Egypt.

During the four laps run, the Pharaoh changes his clothes twice, wearing the royal regalia of upper Egypt for the first two laps, then changing into clothing for lower Egypt for the last two laps.

At the end of the jubilee, the king would hold a lavish coronation ceremony that symbolizes the renewal of his rule.

These ceremonies’ most reliable archeological evidence comes from relief cycles dating back to the Fifth Dynasty king Neuserra (around 2500 B.C.) in his sun temple at Abu Ghurab at East Karnak.

Another strong piece of evidence consists of relief cycles dating to King Osorkon II, the fifth king of the Twenty-second Dynasty of Ancient Egypt and the son of King Takelot I and Queen Kapes.

During the Ptolemaic Period (around 300 B.C.), the Sed festival was translated into Greek as the ‘thirty-year festival,” and famous kings like Ramesses II and Amenhotep III celebrated their first ceremony around the 30th year of their reign, and after that, each third year.

But was it all fun and games?

That’s where most experts beg to differ.

Some historians consider the Sed festival to be primarily ceremonial and symbolized the Pharaoh’s old age. Others suggest that it was intended to symbolize the rule of the king reaching all parts of Egypt.

However, some historians believe that the Sed festival had a more practical purpose behind it. If the king fell short of completing the course, it meant they were no longer fit to rule.

The consequences of such a “DNF” are no longer known, but some historians suggested that the unfit king would be sacrificed to make way for a younger and fitter successor.

In other words, a pharaoh gassing out before finishing the four laps was equal to a death sentence, making it a compelling incentive to finish the race.

Additional resource – How many miles is a 100-mile race?

Running As A Competition

It’s time to talk about one of the oldest sports in history – running. You might think running is just a way to escape your annoying neighbor, but it’s actually been a competitive sport for centuries!

So when was running actually used as a sport?

Running, as a competition, grew out of religious rituals and festivals in different regions. Proof of competitive racing goes back to the Tailteann Games in Ireland, whereas the first recorded Olympic Games were born a few hundred years later in the town of Olympia, ancient Greece.

Let’s dive into the monumental times of the history of running.

The Tailtean Games – The First Olympics?

The earliest recorded competitive races were held during the Tailteann Games in Ireland, way back in 600 to 1100 B.C.

These Irish lads and lasses knew how to honor their goddess and queen Tailtin in style! And what better way to do it than with a little friendly competition?

They had events like the high jump, long jump, and even spear throwing. Now that’s what I call a sporting event!

But they didn’t stop there, oh no.

They also had archery, boxing, sword fighting, and even chariot racing! That’s right, you heard me. These guys were like the ancient version of Ben-Hur.

The Olympic Games

Ah, the ancient Olympics, the original games that put the “ooh” in Zeus.

The first one took place way back in 776 BC in Greece. And get this, and it wasn’t just a competition, but a religious festival too! That’s right, they were honoring the Greek god Zeus. Now that’s one way to get the big man upstairs on your side.

But don’t think the ancient Olympics were some small-town affair. Nope. Around the eighth century B.C., participants poured in from a dozen or more Greek cities and a couple of centuries thereafter, from as many as 100 cities throughout the Greek empire.

Talk about a rise in popularity!

It was like the Super Bowl but with togas and olive wreaths instead of helmets and shoulder pads. And the first event? You guessed it, running.

These guys were the original track and field stars. But back then, it was a sprint, with a distance of around 200 yards, give or take.

And the venue? The stadion race took place in a building called a stadion. Sounds a lot like “stadium”, right? Well, that’s because it is!

In 720 BC, Dolichos, which was a long-distance running race, was added to the festival. Other competitions were added around 724 B.C., such as boxing, wrestling, and chariot racing—among others. These guys weren’t messing around.

But here’s the kicker: the main event wasn’t even the sports competitions! Nope, it was a sacrifice. About 100 oxen were sacrificed and burned on the Altar of Zeus on the third day. Talk about a feast fit for the gods.

But all good things must come to an end, and in 393 AD, the Roman Emperor Theodosius I put the kibosh on the festivities. He wanted to spread Christianity and squash paganism in the Roman Empire, and the Olympic games were one of his targets.

The Marathon Legend

Buckle up, folks! Here’s the heroic and tragic tale of Pheidippides, the original marathoner!

Legend has it that a Greek soldier named Pheidippides had to run from the Battlefields of Marathon to Athens—about 25 miles—to deliver the news of victory against the invading Persian forces in the decisive battle of Marathon. Imagine running that distance after an intense battle! What a guy!

But wait, there’s more! Contrary to popular belief, Pheidippides wasn’t exactly a professional athlete who trained for such an endurance feat.

He was just a regular soldier who had to deliver a message. Yikes, that’s like getting called in to work on your day off!

And here’s the heartbreaking part: Pheidippides collapsed on the floor after delivering the news, and sadly, he died on the scene. Talk about giving your all for the job! So, let’s all take a moment of silence to honor Pheidippides, the OG marathoner who truly gave his life for the job.

The Invention of Jogging – Running For Recreational Means

Oh, the history of jogging! It goes way back to the 16th century, according to the record books. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, for jogging back then was a whole different ball game compared to the accessible activity we know today.

Back then, jogging was reserved for the upper classes and the nobility, with swordsmen using it as a training technique to develop endurance and stamina.

I mean, if you could afford to jog, you were probably royalty!

Fast forward a few centuries, and jogging started making its way into the mainstream fitness world, with athletes and trainers incorporating it into their programs. But it wasn’t until recently that the jogging craze hit the US like a ton of bricks.

Suddenly, it seemed like everyone was running, from soccer moms to college students, even dogs! What sparked this sudden boom in popularity? Perhaps it’s our constant need to stay fit and healthy, or maybe we just like to run away from our problems (literally). Either way, jogging has come a long way from its noble roots and has become a staple in the lives of millions.

Additional Resource  – Here’s your guide to advanced running metrics

The Guy(s) Behind The Trend

Let me take you on a journey to discover the true heroes behind the running boom in the US, my friend. It all started with Arthur Lydiard, an Olympic track coach from New Zealand, who founded the Auckland Jogger Club.

He was a real visionary, my man, who saw the potential in logging the miles as a way to improve physical fitness and mental well-being. Then, Bill Bowerman, a University of Oregon track coach, went jogging with Lydiard in New Zealand and was instantly hooked. He brought this newfound love back to the US and published a book called “Jogging” (1967), which caused a cultural uproar and set off a nationwide running craze.

The book was followed by a wave of endorsements from health authorities, praising jogging’s benefits for heart health and overall physical fitness. Soon after, the U.S. National Jogging Association was founded in 1968 to promote the pastime of logging miles and spreading the joy of running.

Another event that contributed to the fame of running in the US was the victory of American Frank Shorter in the Olympic Marathon in 1972, spurring up the running boom of the ’70s. It was like a shot of adrenaline to the running community, and the sport exploded in popularity.

Surveys reveal that more than 25 million people took up running in the US during that era, including Ex American president Jimmy Carter and famous Hollywood stars like Clint Eastwood. Now that’s what I call a running revolution.

Additional Resource – 20 Fun Facts about running

The Role of Capitalism

Hold onto your running shoes, folks, we’re about to delve into the role of capitalism in the rise of running as a recreational sport! Enter Nike, the behemoth sportswear company with a big stake in making running a household name.

Let me give you some perspective. In 2022, Nike spent more than 3.8 billion on marketing alone. That’s more than the GDP of a small country such as Suriname, Belize, or Andorra. Thanks to such a great marketing budget, Nike can promote running like it was going out of style (which it definitely wasn’t).

In addition to advertising, they also started investing heavily in shoe and gear design, creating innovative and high-performance products that made runners feel like they were gliding on clouds.

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a new pair of flashy sneakers to show off at the next group run? Thanks to Nike’s efforts (and some might say, their borderline obsessive focus on dominating the sportswear industry), running exploded in popularity like never before.

Suddenly, everyone and their mother was lacing up their shoes and hitting the pavement. Of course, some people might argue that this is just another example of capitalism exploiting a trend for profit. But hey, as long as we get to enjoy the benefits of better gear and more accessibility to the sport, we’ll keep on running, right?

When Was Running Invented – Historic  Moments & Events

Here’s a simplified timeline of some of the most monumental moments in running history.

490 B.C. – Pheidippides allegedly ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news of victory over the Persians, a distance of about 26 miles, which ultimately led to his death. This event is said to be the origin of the modern-day marathon.

1896 – The first modern Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece, and included 100-meter and 400-meter sprint and marathon events.

1896 – 18 men participated in the first Olympic Marathon event in Athen, with the winner crossing the finish line at 2:58:50

1897 – The inception of the Boston Marathon by John Graham, inspired by the first Olympic game that took place the year before. The original route covered a distance of 24.5 miles—or 39.42 kilometers.

1908 – The Summer Olympics were organized in London and featured one of the most iconic marathon events, giving birth to the official marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Learn more about that historic moment here.

1909 – The birth of what’s known as the marathon mania, with various races taking place in New York during special days such as Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas.

1947 – According to Google, Thomas Running is credited for the sport while trying to walk twice at the same time or something like that.

1960 – The legendary Ethiopian Abebe Bikila not only sets a world marathon record and takes the gold, but he does so barefoot. The event took place during the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

1972 – After winning the gold at the Berlin 1972 Olympics, the victor, the American marathoner Frank Shorter, inspired millions of people to take up running in what’s often referred to as the “Running Boom of the 1970s”.

1981 – The London Marathon enters the scene, making it Europe’s largest event.

1982 – The NCAA adds women’s track and field events.

1984 – The birth of the first official women’s Marathon at the Los Angels Olympics in California, the U.S. That’s when Joan Benoit became the first woman to cross the finish line of the Olympics Game marathon, finishing in 2:24:52.

1986 – The birth of David Dack. And the first time, prize money was awarded to Boston Marathon winners.

1987 – The three-time Olympic gold medalist, Jack Joyner, became the first female runner to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The caption of the photo read ‘Super Woman”.

1988 – The Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs in the Seol Olympics.

2005- The minimalist running movement became trendy after Vibram released its Five-fingers shoes.

2016 – Ultrarunner Dean Karnazes completes 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 successive days, setting himself as a legend in the running world.

2007 – Over 38,607 runners joined the New York City Marathon, making it the largest-ever Marathon.

2009 – Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run” tops the New York Times best settler list, making minimalist running the new trend in town.

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

Who Invented Running – The Conclusion

Hopefully, knowing more about “when running was invented,”  as well as the evolution and history of running will inspire you to log in more miles and make the most out of the sport.

So are we really born to run?

The science is not lying.

Our ability to run long distances is a major reason why we are still here today.

The ability has deep roots in human evolution—and there’s no doubt about that.

Tempo Runs Made Easy: A Guide for Beginner Runners

Are you ready to kick your running game up a notch? Well, get excited because today’s post is all about unleashing the true power of your running potential with the magical world of tempo runs!

Picture this: you’re out on the trail, the wind gently caressing your face as you pound the pavement. Your heart’s pumping, your legs are on fire, and you feel absolutely unstoppable. That’s the feeling of tempo running – the secret sauce that can turn you into a running machine!

In this action-packed post, I’m going to uncover the mysteries of tempo runs and show you exactly how to make them an essential part of your training plan. I’ll leave no stone unturned as we dive into the core of what makes tempo runs so darn effective.

More specifically, I’ll dive into:

  • What is a tempo run
  • What is the purpose of a tempo run
  • Why you should add tempo running to your plan
  • How long should tempo runs be
  • The benefits of tempo running
  • What is tempo pace and how to achieve it
  • How to perform tempo runs
  • How often should you do tempo runs
  • Can you do a tempo run on the treadmill

Sounds great?

Let’s lace up and dig in.

What is a Tempo Run

So, what exactly is a tempo run? Well, think of it as the Goldilocks of speed workouts. It’s not too slow, it’s not too fast—it’s just right. It’s like finding that perfect rhythm where your body and mind sync up in perfect harmony.

You might also hear tempo runs being referred to as lactate threshold runs. Why? Because they focus on one crucial aspect: your lactate threshold. Now, I know that sounds scientific, but bear with me. Your lactate threshold is that magical point where things start to get interesting. It’s when your muscles are working so hard that oxygen can’t keep up, and lactic acid, that notorious burn-inducing substance, starts to build up.

Yeah, we’ve all felt that burn before!

But here’s the exciting part—tempo training helps you push that lactate threshold further and further, expanding your body’s ability to handle the burn. It’s like turning up the dial on your endurance, giving you the power to crush those miles with confidence.

So, what’s the game plan? During a tempo run, you’re not going for an easy jog, and you’re definitely not sprinting like a cheetah on Red Bull. Instead, you’ll find yourself in that sweet spot, that middle ground where you’re pushing your limits but still able to maintain a strong pace. It’s the kind of effort that leaves you feeling energized, not completely wiped out.

Why should you embrace the tempo run into your training routine? Well, it’s all about taking your running to the next level. By boosting your lactate threshold, you’re teaching your body to tolerate and clear lactic acid more efficiently.

Translation: you can maintain a faster pace for longer without feeling like your legs are on fire.

What is the Ideal Tempo Running Pace?

So, what’s the game plan? Tempo sessions are all about finding that sweet spot between pushing yourself and staying in control. You’re running continuously for a solid 20 to 30 minutes, maintaining a pace that challenges you without leaving you gasping for breath.

This pace is often referred to as “comfortably hard.” It’s like striding on the edge of a thrilling adventure—challenging enough to keep you on your toes, but not so intense that you feel like you’re fighting for your life.

Now, here’s the fun part. Your tempo pace should make you both excited to reach the finish line and determined to conquer the entire session. It’s that bittersweet feeling where you’re itching to finish, but you’re also relishing the challenge of pushing yourself to your limits.

If you’re a seasoned runner, aiming for a “comfortably hard” pace means finding a speed that you can maintain for a solid 45 to 60 minutes without too much trouble. It’s slightly slower than or around the same as your 10K pace. So lace up those shoes and find your groove!

Now, let’s talk about another way to gauge your tempo pace—your heart rate. Monitoring your heart rate can give you valuable insights into your effort level. As a general rule of thumb, aim for around 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate during your tempo runs.

For more on tempo training, check out the following pages:

How long Should A tempo Run be?

Tempo run distances depend mostly on your fitness level first, training goals second.

Let me explain.

Your Conditioning

As a beginner, start with no more than 10 to 15 minutes runs at your comfortably hard pace.

(I have already outlined the best tempo run for beginners below, so no worries.)

But things can be a little bit complicated when trying to match tempo run distances to training goals—that’s when you start taking your training a tad bit more serious.

The Goal Distance

The second thing that dictates your tempo run distance is the type of race you’re training for.

Here’s how to match up your tempo runs to your running goals:

Note – Faster runners should aim to the higher end of the mileage range.

How Often To Do A Tempo Runs?

Tempo runs are like the secret ingredient in your running recipe—they add that extra dash of flavor and spice up your performance. But just like any good chef knows, too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. We don’t want to burn ourselves out or invite injury to crash the party.

So, what’s the magic number? As a general rule of thumb, I recommend incorporating one glorious tempo run into your weekly training routine. It’s the perfect frequency to challenge yourself, improve your endurance, and reap those delightful training gains. Picture it as the cornerstone of your training plan—the weekly rendezvous where you give it your all and leave everything on the road.

But hey, if you’re craving a bit more tempo goodness, I’ve got a little secret for you. Try adding a second session within a ten-day period. This way, you’ll have a chance to sprinkle in some extra flavor without overwhelming your palate.

Tempo Running VS Interval Running – What’s the difference?

Tempo running and interval running may seem similar at first glance, but their true power lies in their distinct goals. Buckle up, my running aficionados, as we embark on a journey to unravel the unique charms of these two training techniques.

Let’s start with interval training, the high-intensity sprint of the running world. Its mission? Boosting your maximum oxygen consumption, or as the cool kids call it, VO2 Max.

When you dive into the realm of intervals, get ready to enter the “no-talk” zone, where your breath becomes the conductor of your performance. You’ll find yourself uttering only a few words, as your body pushes its limits. But fear not! The recovery periods between intervals provide a much-needed respite, allowing you to stay consistent and in control throughout the session.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the captivating world of tempo training. This method has a different trick up its sleeve—it’s all about mastering the art of the lactate threshold. During a tempo run, there are no breaks.

You embrace the challenge and maintain a steady, demanding pace for a predetermined distance or time. Think of it as a continuous symphony of strength and endurance, where each step propels you closer to your goals.

By honing your lactate threshold, you unlock the ability to run faster and farther with less fatigue. It’s like fine-tuning your engine, allowing you to conquer greater distances and achieve new levels of running excellence.

Both tempo running and interval training have their rightful place in your training plan. They complement each other, like yin and yang, each contributing its unique benefits to enhance your running performance.

Tempo training elevates your endurance and ability to fight off fatigue, while interval training supercharges your aerobic capacity and unleashes your inner speed demon. Together, they create a harmonious balance, shaping you into the best runner you can be.

Can you Do a Tempo Run on  Treadmill?

The beauty of the treadmill lies in its precision and control. No need to play the guessing game or rely on external factors like terrain or weather. The treadmill becomes your faithful training partner, ensuring you hit your desired tempo pace spot on.

Research and studies have shown that treadmill running can effectively replicate outdoor running in terms of exertion and physiological response. So, fear not, my tempo-loving friend, for the treadmill is a legitimate training tool for your tempo endeavors.

But wait, there’s more! The treadmill offers additional perks that can enhance your tempo running experience. You have access to valuable data at your fingertips, such as distance, time, and even heart rate monitoring. This allows you to track your progress and fine-tune your training with precision.

Oh, and let’s not forget the convenience factor.

The treadmill is available rain or shine, day or night. It’s like having your own personal running track that’s always ready for action. No need to worry about traffic, uneven surfaces, or pesky pedestrians.

How to Do a Tempo Run?

Though there are many types of tempo runs, they all have one thing in common: you can’t stop running at any point in the workout.

Sure, you still have to start with a proper warm-up and end the run with a cool-down.

But there’s no standing still throughout the run.

That’s the golden rule.

Tempo Running Workouts To Try

Here are some of the most common tempo workouts to try.

Feel free to switch between these during your training, so you get more bang for your tempo training.

The Sustained Tempo Run For Beginners

This workout is the most beginner-friendly tempo session there’s.

Sustained tempo runs come in different shapes for both beginners and advanced runners alike.

Here’s a beginner-friendly session to try:

  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up. Lightly jog for 5 minutes, then perform a set of dynamic stretches while on the move for another 5 minutes.
  • Run at a comfortably hard pace for 10 to 15 minutes. Remember: you can’t stop anytime during the effort so pick your pace wisely (check the previous tips on how).
  • Finish with a 5-minute slow jog as a cool down. Stretch your body afterward.

The Treadmill Pace Run

The simplest tempo routines out there.

Here’s how to proceed.

  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up
  • Set your tempo pace, then stick with it for 20-30 minutes.
  • Slow down and cool down for five minutes.

Lactate-Threshold Run

Feel confident in your running ability and want to push a little bit more? Try this more challenging variation.

Here’s how to proceed.

  • Start with a 10-minute slow jog as a warm-up.
  • Run for 20 to 30 minutes at your comfortably hard pace.
  • Finish the run with a 10-minutes jog as a cool-down.

The Tempo Repetition

This variation looks a lot like interval-style runs, but it’s actually more challenging (since you don’t actually take any breaks throughout the workout).

This session shares a lot of similarities to classic intervals, but they’re performed at your tempo pose.

During the recovery, you never stop, but actually, keep jogging until the next rep.

Here’s how to proceed.

  • Start with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up.
  • Run at about pace slightly faster than your tempo pace for three minutes, then slow it down to your warm-up pace for another three
  • Repeat the cycle three times, making sure not to stop during any point of the run.
  • Finish with a 10-minute slow jog as a cool down.

Additional resource – How many miles is a half marathon

Hilly Tempo Runs

Another way to take your training to the next level is to do it on a hill.

This not only helps improve your endurance and speed but your strength as well.

Hill training is, after all, the best form of strength training for runners.

Locate a very long hill or mountain trail that climbs at roughly five to 10 percent grade on average and will take at least 20 to 30 minutes to run up to.

Start with an easy warm-up jog of 10 to 15 minutes, then go up the hill at tempo run effort for 20 to 30 minutes.

Aim for 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate—or roughly 8.5 out of a ten on the RPE.

It’s key to properly pace yourself and keep your intensity under control early on so that you train with good technique and not build too much lactic acid in your muscles.

Marathon Pace Tempo Run – The Hanson Method

Preparing for a race?

Then this variation is for you.

Think of this as a dress rehearsal for your event.

Please keep in mind that this option is only for advanced runners.

Beginner runners don’t even dare.

  • Warm-up for 15 minutes at a slow and steady pace
  • Run at your goal race pace for 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Cool down for 10 minutes.

The Tempo Run for Beginners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

The above tips are all you need to get started with tempo training as a runner without injuring or overwhelming yourself in the process.

All you have to do is to take action NOW.

The rest is rudimental.

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

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong.