Practice running. This will be a huge part of Tough Mudder. That being said, you don’t need to be a superstar runner right now. I hear a lot of people say they don’t want to run because they aren’t good at it... Of course not, very few people are good runner without practice. So, this week we are going to add running into your workout, to help build of some cardio strength and endurance.
The term cardio is one I use a lot. It is short for cardiovascular, which essentially means the ability of your heart to pump blood, your blood to absorb oxygen and your muscles to utilize oxygen from your blood. See why I just say cardio? Cardio endurance is your ability to continually go through the process described above (meaning long distance cardio), while cardio strength is directed more towards your bodies ability to do things powerfully (think short distance runners).
Some tips for running to make it a more enjoyable activity.
- Breath! This is huge. I have seen people who hate running turn to people who run daily just due to breathing. Find yourself a good breathing pattern, breath in through your nose as much as possible. Then focus on your breathing, running, or any other type of cardio, can be made into almost a meditation if you focus on breathing. In your mind, tell yourself “in” and “out” as your breath, clear your mind of other things (except your surroundings, don’t get hit by a car, please).
- Get proper footwear. For me, this means a good pair of toe shoes, this isn’t true for everyone. But footwear can change everything when it comes to running. Make sure to have proper running shoes, cross trainers (aka basketball shoes) would also be acceptable. But do not use ‘skate shoes’ or dress shoes, or other various shoe types. You can really hurt yourself this way.
- Music and/or a running partner. Having someone, or something, there to help distract you is a great way to take your mind of the difficulty or discomforts of running. If you are running with music, make sure you can still hear things around you, once again, don’t get hit by cars. If you have a partner, it’s great to have conversations, but you will find that the throat will dry out quicker due to this. Bring a bit of extra water if you aren’t used to running with a partner.
- Apps. That’s right, there is an app for that. I personally use “cardio trainer” it’s a very simple app, not a lot of options, and basically just has a GPS and record your workouts. Very simple, and I’m sure it has more options, but that’s what I like. Endomondo is another good one. There is a ‘pro’ version available for a price. (If you are on android and go NOW, that price is $0.25). This app has ALL sorts of options, allowing for a much more immersive experience than cardio trainer. I’ve seen it used by a lot of people, and they all enjoy it. If you’re looking for a little more fun from your running app, check out Zombies, Run! this app will play a game with your gps. A game involving zombies! It has levels, and increases in difficulty, causing you to run in different directions in order to dodge zombie hordes. Very neat idea, check it out if you’re looking for a little extra fun.
The Actual Workout
Here’s the plan this week. You’re going to run! 3 day a week, this can be added to every week. But not just any running;
Day 1: 40 minutes slow and steady run
Day 2: 20 minutes of quick running
Day 3: 5 minutes of sprints
Never fear, a description is here:
Day 1, if you can, keep a constant pace for 40 minutes. This should be a pace that is slow enough that you would still be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath. However it should be fast enough that you can’t rap along to eminem while running. If you are unable to run 40 minutes steady, not a problem, run for 10 minutes, walk for 1 minute. This is known as a 10:1, and used very commonly. If this is still too difficult, run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 (5:1). If this is still too difficult, you are running too fast. Slow it down, this should be a nice easy job, but should wind you by the end of the 40 minutes. If you are using either the 10:1 or 5:1, the total run time should equal 40 minutes. (so 4 reps of 10:1, or 8 reps of 5:1).
Day 2, what do I mean by quick running? Simple, at about 15-18 minutes, you should feel like you’re unable to finish. This will be difficult, and mentally taxing. Make sure you aren’t sprinting. You want to be having a hard time around 15-18 minutes, but still able to finish the 20. Though it should be very hard.
Day 3, this one is the most complicated of the runs. What I want you doing is sprinting at a 1:2 ratio. Meaning sprint all out for 1 minute, then walk for 2 minutes. Repeat 5 times for a total of 5 minutes run time. If you find this too easy, change it too a 1:1, meaning sprint 1 minute, walk 1 minute. If it’s still too easy 2:1, switch to 1 minute sprint, 30 second walk.
You dictate pace. I can’t stress this enough. Running will only be as hard or easy as you make it, if you’re new to running, most of this will feel tough! Stick to it, read the tips, and most of all, remember. Your attitude towards running is what you’ll get out of running. If you look forward to a nice run where you can shut your mind off for a bit, and enjoy. You’ll enjoy. If you dread every moment leading to the run, you’ll dread the run.
Please post in either the comments, or the Tough Mudder Facebook Group, if you are adding these runs to your workouts. For those who want a little extra, do the runs, and last weeks workout together.