Whether you're an experienced runner looking to push yourself further or someone who is new to running and looking for a kickstart, our 14-Day Running Challenge is for you! Throw on those running shoes and let's get started!
There's nothing worse than pulling a muscle halfway through a run! By warming up, you're giving your muscles and joints the chance to loosen up before putting them to work. You are also allowing your heart rate to slowly rise which increases blood flow throughout your body helping with proper circulation. All of this will ultimately help you reach your running goals without injury.
Stretching before doing any kind of physical activity is always a good idea especially when it comes to running. You run a higher risk of injuring yourself if you do not stretch before going for a run.
Dynamic stretches are movements where your joints and muscles go through a full range of motion.
Begin with the following stretches:
- Glute and Hip Stretch
Sit on the edge of a chair and put your ankle onto your opposite knee. You should feel the stretch through your glutes and hips. Lean forward for a deeper stretch. Hold for 10 seconds before swapping legs. Do this for 3 sets.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
Standing up with your heel resting on something higher than the ground such as the curb or a step, bend forward as your flex your heel. You will feel your hamstrings pulling as you do so. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds before swapping legs and repeating. Do these 2 more times on each leg.
- Leg Swings: Abductor and Adductor
Make sure your body is centred and aligned when standing and with one hand on your hip and the other holding onto something to keep you balanced, swing the one leg across your body in front of the other. Do this for 10 seconds before swapping legs and repeating.
- Leg Swings: Hamstring and Hip Flexor
Much the same as the previous stretch you will keep your body centred and aligned but this time you will swing your leg backwards and forwards. Do this for 10 seconds before swapping legs and repeating.
- Palms to Ground
Standing up straight, slowly roll your body forward until your palms are as close to the ground as possible. Hold for 15 seconds before slowly rolling back up.
Warm Up Exercises
After stretching you can start to get some more active movement throughout your body.
Begin with the following movements:
- Butt Kick
While standing kick your butt with your feet as your jog on the spot.
- High Knees
While jogging on the spot bring your knees up as high as you can go.
- Side Shuffle
In a light jog side-step for 10-20 metres to the left before doing it again to the right.
- Lunge forward allowing your back knee to almost touch the ground. Do this for 10 times alternating between your left and right left lunging forward.
Start with a gentle walk to get your body moving. A couple of minutes of low-intensity walking will give your body a chance to warm up slowly. The muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons required to walk are the same that are used when running. By walking you increasing the blow flow around those parts getting them fired up for when you start to pick up the pace.
After your run you need to give your body a chance to slowly recover. A cool down is the best way to start this process. If you have a foam roller this is a great tool to use in your cool downs! Roll over any tight muscles and feel them slowly release.
Stretch your body out the using the same stretches you did before. A slow walk is also a great way to cool down and to gradually slow down your heart rate. Don't forget to drink plenty of water!
Start your week off with a 20-minute walk with 20 minutes of steady paced running breaking when required. A light cardio workout is also great to include in today's plan.
Strength workout. Choose a series of strength workouts that work for you. Exercises such as body weight/goblet squats, push ups, plank, walking lunges, kettle bell swings and dumbbell lifts.
Rest. Make sure you have a rest day to let your body recover. If you would like to do light exercises on your rest day, swimming, and yoga are great options!
Steady paced jogging for 30 minutes with short walking intervals where required.
- 0:00-5:00 Fast paced walking for 5 minutes
- 5:00-5:20 Sprint for 20 seconds
- 5:20-5:50 Walk for 30 seconds
- 5:50-6:10 Jog for 20 seconds
- 6:10-6:40 Walk for 30 seconds
- 6:40-7:00 Jog for 20 seconds
- 7:00-7:20 Sprint for 20 seconds
- 7:20-7:40 Jog for 20 seconds
- 7:40-8:10 Walk for 30 seconds
- 8:10-8:30 Sprint for 20 seconds
- 8:30-9:00 Walk for 30 seconds
- 9:00-9:20 Jog for 20 seconds
- 9:20-10:00 Walk for 40 seconds
Rest. Don't forget to give your body a rest and time to recover.
30-minute walk. An easy 30-minute walk will allow your body to stay in the rhythm but without pushing yourself too hard after your rest day. It's a great way to get you ready for the next day.
Use this 7-day plan as the basis for the next week. Slowly build on each day increasing your pace and duration the following week.