General

young fitness woman running on sunrise seaside boardwalk

Group running has many benefits. You get to chat with someone, keeping your runs lively and preventing it from becoming boring, you have someone to motivate you to continue running, and many other great benefits that can help you appreciate running even more.

But did you know that just like running with groups, running solo has its own special advantages as well?

If you’re used to running with your peers, it’s likely that the idea of switching to running by yourself makes you uncomfortable. However, you may actually be missing out on some fantastic perks running on your own has to offer.

When you run alone, you get to disconnect from all the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. You can enjoy having your personal time, dedicated to yourself and to no one else. This personal time can help you clear your mind for a while.

Moreover, when you run alone, you can focus more on the little aspects of your running technique that can have great impacts on your running performance such as your breathing, your posture, your mileage, and your speed. When you run with someone, chances are, you’re too busy talking to them that you are unable to monitor the important parts of your running.

Running with someone can be a great source of motivation in running; but if you run independently, you will learn to find ways to motivate yourself instead. You will develop strategies to encourage yourself to keep going in the absence of someone pushing you to work hard.

Running independently will allow you to change pace as you want, whenever you want it. If you have a running buddy, there’s a big chance that you’ll adjust to their pace. If you choose to run solo, you can vary the speed of your training and can even include Fartlek in your running routine.

If you continue to run solo regularly, you can develop a running practice while taking your time because you don’t have to worry about someone waiting for you. You can take as much time you need in warming up, you can run as much as you want, and you may stop as soon as you wish.

There are many advantages to running solo. You don’t even have to choose to run alone all the time, you can just do it every now and again to see how wonderful and useful it can be.

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Running seems to be a pretty straightforward sport where the runners use the exercise as a way to get fit or lose weight, join marathons, or both. However, there are different types of running that you can choose from—it depends on what you’re trying to achieve in running. Improved endurance, strength and speed are just some benefits you can gain from running regularly. Knowledge on the types or running can be advantageous in choosing what fits your needs depending on what you want to improve at.

There are eight types of running which varies in pace, intensity, and distance.

Easy or Recovery runs is the type of running done at a slow, more comfortable pace. This is usually done after long, intense, strenuous running to get rid of the muscle stiffness from long runs. Recovery runs are essential for runners intending to join competitions and marathons. Easy or recovery runs done after an intense training can also release the emotional, mental and physical stress of the training itself.

Most casual runners engage in base runs. A base run is the type of running at the runner’s natural speed or pace. Base runs meant to have moderate to long distances and should be done often. Regular base running is a great cardiovascular and aerobic exercise. It’s also great for enhancing muscle strength and endurance.

Threshold or tempo runs require running at the fastest pace you can and maintaining that pace for an hour. Threshold runs can be helpful in increasing the time you can uphold a certain pace or speed.  Tempo runs can be very challenging but, when done right, can have amazing effects on the runner’s efficiency. It also has excellent benefits on the lungs as it improves aerobic capacity. According to Dr. Jack Daniels Ph. D., the author of one of the most popular training books for runners, “Daniels’ Running Formula”, there’s a type of tempo running known as cruise intervals. Cruise intervals require the runner to have a faster pace than a regular tempo run but allow short rests between intervals.

Long runs are just like base runs in the sense that the runner can maintain a natural pace. The difference is the distance that the runner has to cover. As the name suggests, long runs require greater distances than base runs. Long runs improve endurance. Another variation of long runs is progression runs, wherein the running speed is being increased as you go along.

Hill running can be done on inclined surfaces (even inclined treadmills) and can be very beneficial in increasing muscle strength. Also, running on steep areas is more challenging than running on flat surfaces; so if you try hill running and then switch back to regular running, you can feel the improvement in your muscle endurance and stamina. Running on hills also burns calories than running on flat areas.

Fartlek training originated from Sweden in the 1930’s; the word fartlek means ‘speed play’. Fartlek calls for running at different speeds at short periods of time. It means being able to quickly switch to different paces on one long run. You may start running on faster speed then change to slower speed. Being able to alternate speeds during running is the key to fartlek training.

Whether or not you’re planning to join marathons or striving to be a professional athlete someday, it’s always good to know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Choosing the right type of running that fits you should also depend on what your body can handle. Trying different types of running one at a time can also help you in selecting which one works best for you—or you can include them all in your fitness regimen, just make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too hard.

 

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Brief History of Running

Running as a competitive sport originated from different parts of the world. One of the earliest recorded running competitions was held in Ireland as part of the sporting festival also known as Tailteann Games in 1829 BC. In 776 BC, the first event of the first ever Olympic games in Greece was a foot race.

As for marathons, it commemorates the legendary Greek soldier Pheidippides who was believed to have run 40 kilometers from Marathon, Greece to Athens in 490 B.C. The first marathon in modern Olympic events was held in 1896. Though the marathon became part of the Olympic Games, the distance was not standardized until 1921 by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF).

In 1860s, track and field events were introduced in the United States. By 1873, the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America was already holding races.

It’s true that the marathons became a part of the modern Olympics in 1800s, but it was considered as an all-male sport then. It was in Summer Olympics of 1984 when women were allowed to participate in their very own Women’s Marathon.

There are debates on who really invented jogging. However, the word was coined in 1962 by Arthur Lydiard from New Zealand.  It is around the same time when it was discovered that running or jogging is beneficial to physical health and was considered a means of exercise.

Since the discovery of health benefits of running, more studies were conducted to prove that running is indeed an excellent work out. Today, modern science even reveals that running is good for mental health, too.

From 19th century up to now, running is still popular worldwide. There are even new inventions created to improve and maximize running performance. Treadmills, Aqua jogging, inventions of running shoes to boost performance, and many innovations related to the workout. Being easily accessible to most people, it won’t come as a surprise if this exercise will continue to gain more popularity in the future.

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