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Check out Coach Jasper McDowell’s Top Five Training Tips below. Want a speedy summary of popular running apps? Download our Guide to Running Apps Features.

from Coach Jasper McDowell

1 – Make sure you’re eating enough

When running you’ll burn through a lot of calories, so it’s crucial you consume large volumes of whole foods. The good thing about whole foods is that they’re generally very nutrient dense and low in calories, meaning you can eat a lot of them. That can sometimes be a bad thing if you don’t cook large enough meals, so make sure you’re eating plenty of food to feel properly satiated after tough training sessions.

2 – Make sure you’re taking rest days

Running is a high impact activity, so it’s important to ensure you’re letting your body recover. This is especially the case if you’re new to running – the last thing you want is to take on too much too fast and wind up injured. Train smart and listen to your body. It’s sometimes worth throwing in cross-training days to break up the running (while your body adapts to the new running schedule), so cycling or swimming, for example, as these are much lower impact.

3 – Follow the training plan

It’s important to take the easy runs slow, so imagine these as a 2 or 3 out of 10. This is teaching your body to recover on the move, and also allowing you to tackle the harder runs as planned. So for a session that’s 10 x 1 minute on 1 minute off, you want to take the 1 minute on very hard, then jog/walk in the recovery minute before going again. The training plan is designed to improve your running, so it’s important to follow it and allow your body the time to adapt and improve.

4 – Try to familiarise yourself with the different training zones

Here’s some practical advice on how to ensure you’re sticking to zone 2 effectively, as this is a particular zone beginner runners can often struggle with.

  • Walk: Some people might have to walk to stay in zone 2 at first but that will slowly turn into a run over time.
  • Sing: You should be able to sing a whole song without stopping to catch your breath.
  • Social run: Find a training partner of the same ability as you and run with then. Try and hold a conversation with them for the whole run.
  • RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion): Try to dial into your rate of perceived exertion during zone 2 runs. If 0 out of 10 is not moving and 1 out of 10 is a brisk walk, you should start your zone 2 runs at 2 out of 10. You can progress to 3 or 4 out of 10 as the run goes on.
  • Pace: If you run with a smart watch or phone app showing you your pace as you run. Take your 5k pace from 1st June and add 1:30/km or 2:00/mile. Run your zone 2 runs around that pace (e.g. 5k pace 5:00/km -> Zone 2 pace 6:30/km or 8:00/mile -> 10:00/mile)
  • Heart rate: If you train with a chest strap heart rate monitor you can estimate your zone 2 heart rate zone by doing 180 minus your age. Make sure your heart rate stays below that number (e.g. age = 30, 180 minus 30 = 150 bpm)

5 – Get a good amount of sleep each night

Sleep is vital for your body to recover, so try get a good amount each night to allow you to feel properly refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Doing anything when tired is never fun, but running when tired is especially no fun!

6 – Stay hydrated

It goes without say that water is essential, especially when running a lot as you’ll need more of it. If you’re the type that sometimes forgets to take on water, which is more common than you might think, then perhaps set reminders on your phone. Plan ahead if you’re going to be somewhere that might not offer adequate amounts, like your place of work or a long car journey, by taking a large bottle of the good stuff with you. However you choose to do it, just make sure you stay hydrated.

1 – Make sure you’re eating enough

When running you’ll burn through a lot of calories, so it’s crucial you consume large volumes of whole foods. The good thing about whole foods is that they’re generally very nutrient dense and low in calories, meaning you can eat a lot of them. That can sometimes be a bad thing if you don’t cook large enough meals, so make sure you’re eating plenty of food to feel properly satiated after tough training sessions.

Running on plants - healthy food

2 – Make sure you’re taking rest days

Running is a high impact activity, so it’s important to ensure you’re letting your body recover. This is especially the case if you’re new to running – the last thing you want is to take on too much too fast and wind up injured. Train smart and listen to your body. It’s sometimes worth throwing in cross-training days to break up the running (while your body adapts to the new running schedule), so cycling or swimming, for example, as these are much lower impact.

Running on plants - relax

3 – Follow the training plan

It’s important to take the easy runs slow, so imagine these as a 2 or 3 out of 10. This is teaching your body to recover on the move, and also allowing you to tackle the harder runs as planned. So for a session that’s 10 x 1 minute on 1 minute off, you want to take the 1 minute on very hard, then jog/walk in the recovery minute before going again. The training plan is designed to improve your running, so it’s important to follow it and allow your body the time to adapt and improve.

Training plan for running plant based

4 – Try to familiarise yourself with the different training zones

Here’s some practical advice on how to ensure you’re sticking to zone 2 effectively, as this is a particular zone beginner runners can often struggle with.

  • Walk: Some people might have to walk to stay in zone 2 at first but that will slowly turn into a run over time.
  • Sing: You should be able to sing a whole song without stopping to catch your breath.
  • Social run: Find a training partner of the same ability as you and run with then. Try and hold a conversation with them for the whole run.
  • RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion): Try to dial into your rate of perceived exertion during zone 2 runs. If 0 out of 10 is not moving and 1 out of 10 is a brisk walk, you should start your zone 2 runs at 2 out of 10. You can progress to 3 or 4 out of 10 as the run goes on.
  • Pace: If you run with a smart watch or phone app showing you your pace as you run. Take your 5k pace from 1st June and add 1:30/km or 2:00/mile. Run your zone 2 runs around that pace (e.g. 5k pace 5:00/km -> Zone 2 pace 6:30/km or 8:00/mile -> 10:00/mile)
  • Heart rate: If you train with a chest strap heart rate monitor you can estimate your zone 2 heart rate zone by doing 180 minus your age. Make sure your heart rate stays below that number (e.g. age = 30, 180 minus 30 = 150 bpm)

5 – Get a good amount of sleep each night

Sleep is vital for your body to recover, so try get a good amount each night to allow you to feel properly refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Doing anything when tired is never fun, but running when tired is especially no fun!

Get rest for optimal running performance

6 – Stay hydrated

It goes without say that water is essential, especially when running a lot as you’ll need more of it. If you’re the type that sometimes forgets to take on water, which is more common than you might think, then perhaps set reminders on your phone. Plan ahead if you’re going to be somewhere that might not offer adequate amounts, like your place of work or a long car journey, by taking a large bottle of the good stuff with you. However you choose to do it, just make sure you stay hydrated.

Hydration to improve running performance

And finally –
leave your running shoes and gear by the front door –
it’ll remind you to get moving and active!

Running On Plants Top 10 Running Apps:

A handy guide comparing running apps and their key features.

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