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How Often Should I Be Running?

How Often Should I Be Running?

How Often Should I Be Running?

Author: Dave Ringwood, USATF Certified Coach

The short answer, like most burning questions in life, is “it depends.”

There are many factors to consider when determining your optimal number of days per week to run. Some of the things a runner should take into account includes: their training background, injury history, training environment, goals and general lifestyle – just to name a few. Below is a brief, but important guide to helping you plan your running schedule, according to your running level.

 

Beginner Runners

Congratulations! FRC welcomes runners of all strides to the tread empire. It is not about how fast you can run, but how hard you run towards your goals. Whether you’re completely new to the sport of running, just getting into a fitness routine or are looking to get back into running after taking time off – everyone begins with that first step! 

For beginners with few to no reference points, a more concrete answer to ‘how often should I be running?’ can be better asked as how many days are you able to run while maintaining your health physically, mentally and emotionally. Sounds easy, right? The most elite runners and beginner runners must learn how to listen to what their mind and body is telling them. The trick is to not push it early on and to get into a healthy habit/routine of running. 

Recovery days, especially for beginners, will be essential in keeping your physical, mental and emotional energy at sustainable levels. We have the philosophy that each athlete should strive to incorporate recovery into their overall training plan in at least a 2 to 1 ratio (training to recovery), however, every runner is unique, so the number of ideal recovery days and what to do on those recovery days varies. Remember to listen to your body. If you are not feeling well or just feel a little off, do not hesitate to take a recovery day. 

For beginners, we recommend between three and four days of rest per week. We want to provide opportunities to recover after each run, but we also want to develop a pattern of running with regularity. Once this regularity is established and endurance builds, we look to assign each run with a specific purpose. An ideal week of purposeful training consists of at least:

  • 1-2 Easy/Regular Runs
  • 1 Workout
  • 1 Long Run

The variables we discussed earlier will affect the volume/intensity of these runs, as well as how many, if any, additional runs should fill out the week.

 

Intermediate and Advanced Runners

As you progress from beginner to intermediate and advanced, the weekly structure remains relatively consistent. The framework holds, but the supporting pieces around it may increase:

  • 2-4 easy/regular runs
  • 1-2 workouts
  • 1 long run

This structure still provides a wide range of days per week, anywhere from four to seven. There are many combinations of training patterns that work for some, but not others; the key is identifying what works best for you.

If you are prone to injury, replace easy/regular runs with cross training, active recovery or take one of our assessments so you can better understand and prevent these injuries. If you get bogged down or too busy, take an easy day off and recover mentally as well. If you are increasing mileage or intensity without issue, consider a full week of workouts, potentially even adding doubles.

The key is to be honest with yourself about how you are responding to varying degrees of work and to respond appropriately. Remember to listen to your body. As the other variables in your life shift and change, don’t be scared to change your training structure too.

 

Runners of All Abilities

These strategies might be difficult to put into practice but don’t be discouraged. Even the most elite runners, at times, might feel off and need to adopt a running schedule more similar to a beginner runner. Professional running coaches and athletes, like the ones at FRC, have developed an understanding of the relationship between life and running. It is important to maintain a healthy sense of balance in your overall lifestyle and we can help you find your unique Formula to reach and conquer your personal fitness goals. 

 

Running Focused Classes

For those runners who don’t know their level, or are interested in finding out where they are in their running journey, we encourage you to drop by and take either a Formula 101 or a Formula Run class. These classes are structured to provide runners an opportunity to test out their limits and to find out their level of running ability. Our expert running coaches facilitate each class so that runners of all strides can participate. These coaches take time to learn about your fitness goals to tweak and modify your workout experience according to your needs. No matter what your skill level, or fitness goal, running can help complement your workouts and leave you smiling with a runner’s high.

FRC IS A NEW GIRLS ON THE RUN (GOTR) SITE!

FRC IS A NEW GIRLS ON THE RUN (GOTR) SITE!

 JOIN FRC’S GIRLS ON THE RUN TEAM!

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is coming to FRC! We are honored and excited to be selected as a new GOTR site for the Spring 2020 season! We are in the process of registering new 3rd-5th graders for our team! Registration is now open and continues through February 25th!
 
GOTR is a physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-5th grade. The program teaches life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment, while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.
 
Starting the week of March 2nd, the team will meet at FRC every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM, which lasts for 10 weeks. The program culminates in a celebratory 5K at the end of the season on a weekend! The standard program fee is $175 and includes 20 lessons/practices, a t-shirt, water bottle, entry into the 5K, a 5K medal, and more. Financial assistance is potentially available, with the lowest program registration cost being $22 for the season. Registration is now open on the Girls On The Run NOVA website HERE

LOCATION:

Formula Running Center – 3101 Wilson BLVD., Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22201

 

DATES AND TIMES:

Registration: Now through February 25th
Practices: Starting March 2nd, Monday and Wednesdays 4:00PM to 5:15PM
Season Schedule: The Spring 2020 season schedule can be found HERE

PRICES:

$175 per child, but financial assistance is potentially available. For financial assistance information, please refer to this link HERE.

 

WHO IS WELCOME:

We are recruiting all girls in 3rd-5th grade!

SIGNUPS:

To signup for Girls On The Run this season, please go to the Girls On The Run Registration Page, HERE

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE.

 

OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT GOTR?

Check out the Girls on the Run NOVA website HERE.

 

 

 

WHO WILL BE THERE:

Studio Manager Jenna Fatica

 

 

 

 

Coach Kate Marden

 

 

 

 

Coach Michelle Howell

 

 

 

 

Coach Jim Economos

3 Tips for Running in the COLD

3 Tips for Running in the COLD

3 Tips for Running in the COLD

Winter is coming. Are you ready? Sometimes the weather gets the best of us. Running outside in inclement or especially cold weather can be a major deterrent for those that are still training. Our expert runners and coaches have put together some tips to make your outdoor training in these colder months go a little smoother. Come to FRC to try some warmer ways to train or use some of these tips for when you need that outdoor time:

 

Tip 1: Layer Up

Winter weather can be challenging to dress for because it’s quick to change and unappealing to think about (fleece pajamas on the other hand…). Planning ahead will keep you on track to reach your outdoor running goals all winter long. Our general rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 10 – 20 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. Your body will naturally warm up on your run. Another key point is to minimize exposed skin. When we leave skin exposed to the elements our bodies work hard to direct blood flow to these areas. We want to minimize this need in order to keep our blood flowing to our hard working muscles. Here are some best practices for what to wear and layering up:

  • Base Layer: A fitted dry-wicking material that will allow you to retain heat and remove moisture
  • Middle Layer (as needed): A loose fitting material, such as fleece 
  • Outer Layer: A jacket to retain heat and block wind and compression tights to protect your legs and increase blood flow
  • Accessories: A head and/or neck gaiter, gloves or mittens with a windproof layer, mid-crew socks and reflectors 

 

Tip 2: Be Flexible

Winter offers a unique mix of freezing temperatures, snow, ice and wind. You need to be flexible to the weather in order to stay safe and healthy all winter long. Pencil in your runs and be open to changing up your routines as needed. Here are a few specifics on how to keep an open mind:

  • Warm up inside before heading out: A dynamic indoor warm up routine will increase your internal temps and decrease the shock of transitioning into the cold
  • Set goals that focus on effort and time over speed and distance: Instead of mapping out an “X” mile run to be covered at “Y” pace, consider how long that would take in ideal conditions and then run for that length of time at the same effort. You’ll get the same aerobic benefits as you would any time of year, despite the  conditions
  • Stay hydrated: Even though it’s cold outside you will still sweat on your run. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day and especially after your run
  • Shorten your stride: A shorter stride creates a more stable center of gravity. This will help you navigate slippery wintry obstacles that might come your way
  • Start slow and gradually increase your speed: You want to make sure your muscles are properly warmed up before you take off. Otherwise you risk injury
  • Minimize your rest times: Instead of speed workouts, consider switching to speed-play within continuous runs. The less time you are resting in the cold, the less chance of injury or illness

 

Tip 3: Hold Yourself Accountable

Maintaining motivation throughout the long (and dark) winter months is challenging. Cold temperatures, gray skies and blustery winds are just a few reasons we can use to convince ourselves to skip a run. You need to create a system to hold yourself accountable all winter long. Some ways to keep yourself moving are:

  • Find your support system: Teaming up with family, friends, a running club, or even your dog can really help keep you motivated. You will be able to hold each other accountable for reaching your running goals
  • Meal prep: Create post-run meals prior to running. There’s nothing more motivating than running towards the food
  • Lay out your clothes the night before: If you’re running in the morning, a good tip is to get out all of your layers ahead of time. You will be more motivated to get out the door if you take away that decision making process on the morning of the run

Every runner is different. You will need to find the right combination of tips and tricks that work best for you all winter long. Layering up, being flexible and holding yourself accountable are three areas to focus on that can keep you moving. Once you know how to best operate in the cold, there will be nothing stopping you. Sometimes, the weather just doesn’t cooperate and your best option is to stay inside. Balancing your outdoor runs with some of our indoor training classes is a fantastic way to maintaining all that training time you put in this past fall. These classes will keep you in top form and of course, keep you accountable!

5 Quick Tips to Running Your First Race

5 Quick Tips to Running Your First Race

5 Quick Tips to Running Your First Race

So you’ve signed up for your first race. Congratulations! While the feeling of excitement and the adrenaline rushing through your body is undeniably real, soon the real fun begins – training for the race itself. Now what? Have no fear. Your first race is an exciting opportunity to not only push yourself, but to shatter expectations about your fitness level, and learn what it takes to complete a race. Here are five quick tips on helping you prepare for your first race!

 

Tip #1: Put It On The Calendar

Schedule for success! This should be a no brainer, but for many people, having a real date booked on your calendar reminding you of your running commitment can almost be intimidating all on its own. You’ve paid for your race entry and now it can either become a looming date, or an exciting opportunity to burn some rubber. First race jitters – no worries! By putting the date on your calendar, it becomes an anchor to base your lifestyle around as you find time around your busy schedule to get in some training sessions.The race isn’t going to train for itself, so make sure you give yourself enough time to train and recover between workouts. By putting it on a calendar, the day is top of mind and you’ll be able to plan a set schedule to follow leading up to your first race!

 

Tip #2 Don’t Stress  

This is your first race with the best community in all of sports. There is nothing quite like the feeling of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of strangers cheering you on and providing positive vibes as you run with all your heart. Enjoy the vendors (they usually have free stuff to give out), meet some cool people, and plan to just take it all in – you only get to run your first race once, after all. While you might feel the need to go for the gold on your first race, and thus go all out on your training sessions, it is definitely okay to train to run at a slower pace than your normal speed. Remember that there will be other people training for the race with varying experience and fitness levels. Train at the pace you are comfortable with and have fun leading up to the big day! 

 

Tip #3 Know The Course  

Download the course map and have it on your phone. If possible, run, bike, or drive the course to familiarize yourself with the layout so you can get an idea on where to push yourself and when to conserve energy. Part of the fun of running is making a strategy on how to approach races. Once you familiarize yourself with the course, this will also help alleviate some anxiety about what to expect and how the event will be set up. 

 

Tip #4 Eat What You’re Used To  

A steady, nutritious, and consistent diet is always recommended no matter what race you are preparing for. Needless to say, a few days prior to race day is probably not the best time to try new cuisine and/or fueling strategies you’ve read about online. If you’re traveling to your race, research nearby places that you can eat at that fits your regular diet.  You don’t want butterflies of a different kind in your stomach an hour before or during the race. We’ve been there and it’s not a good feeling to have. 

 

Tip #5 Recover As Hard As You Train  

It might seem like a no-brainer, but many runners training for their first race neglect a crucial element in training – recovery. Getting a good night’s rest the night before your race is great, but it’s just as important during the weeks leading up to your race. On top of that, training is only the first half of the “Formula” to successful running (successful anything really). Putting in as much effort doing recovery after your workout can go a long way in keeping you healthy as you train, and getting the most out of any workout. So make sure to stretch after workouts, massage out tight knots in your muscles, ice sore areas, and get nutrients back in your body immediately after your training session. 

Race Day Preparation

Race Day Preparation

Race Day Preparation

The day is upon us. All the training, nutrition, and recovery sessions are now about to be put to the test. You got plenty of rest, woke up early, met with your group, and are now just waiting for the starting gun to go off to embark on your first race. Here are 5 tips for during the race to help you get to the finish line.

 

Tip #1 Limit Your Hydration 

You definitely need to stay hydrated, but don’t chug that bottle of water right before the start of your race. Take a drink to top off your fluids as needed once you wake up and throughout the day as you normally would. Shocking your system with an influx of fluids will not settle in your system as well as one might hope. While it might seem obvious, keeping yourself properly hydrated the days (and weeks) leading up to your race is vital to setting yourself up for success.

 

Tip #2 Fuel With A Plan 

Don’t eat anything particularly heavy about 2 hours prior to the start of your race. You will find many runners eat a light and rather plain breakfast consisting of bagels, peanut butter, bananas, and other light snacks. This is intentional as heavier foods will weigh down on your racing performance. So save that nice cut of steak until after your victory lap. It goes without saying that different body types require different levels of nutrition, so plan out your race day food plan ahead of time and practice eating those foods before your race. Consistency in your diet will help settle your nerves and keep the butterfly’s of a different kind out of your stomach right before you start to race. Listen to your body and be mindful of how your body reacts – especially right before your race.

 

Tip #3 Dress for Success

While running gear and attire is important, it is just as important to know what clothing to bring and when. Check the weather ahead of time for your race day and be prepared for any weather condition. As a general rule of thumb, most races will start early in the morning and will gradually get warmer throughout the day. A great way to get comfortable with the temperature is to get in a good warm-up before your race and see how your body feels after breaking a sweat. Your body normally gets warmer as it starts to burn calories which means you might regret having that sweater on once the sun really heats up the course.

Pack a trash bag if possible as it can double as extra storage and a rain shield if the weather calls for a bit of showers. Races don’t usually have lockers to store your belongings, so bring your friends and family to help carry your extra gear (and to cheer you on, of course). 

 

Tip #4 Fix What’s Bothering You

During the race, if you notice something bothering you like shoelaces coming undone, a fanny pack belt hitting against your side, socks riding down, and/or the dreaded rock in your shoe, fix it immediately rather than waiting. Don’t let the added mental stress of something nagging you shift your focus away from completing your race. 

 

Tip #5 Steady Pace

Slow and steady might not only win you the race, but it might also help you settle your nerves to be more efficient during your race. Depending on how comfortable you are, a good rule of thumb is to start at a good pace that will allow your body to adjust. At the start of your race, adrenaline will be rushing through your body as the excitement from the start of the race will make you feel like you can run forever. Once that initial rush settles down, you don’t want to get caught with a depleted stamina bar.  Staying steady and maintaining your pace is key. Soon, you’ll be coming around the bend to see the finish line with all the spectators cheering your every step towards the finish line!