April 10, 2023

How To Begin Road and Trail Running

How To Begin Road and Trail Running

How To Begin Road and Trail Running

  1. Determine Your Goals
  2. Figure Out Your Baseline
  3. Create Your Plan To Be Physically Fit
  4. Follow Your Plan and Maintain Steady Growth 
  5. Build Endurance, Mobility, Strength & Stability Become Adaptable.


      Regardless of the reason you are thinking about beginning a running program, it is important to start with goal(s) in mind.  What will your mind focus on while you are blazing it on the mountain trails, through the valleys or grinding it out on the track? Your ultimate purpose will undoubtedly be pivotal as motivation to push you through any obstacle presented. Trail running requires intense focus to maintain balance and  to avoid injury. It also presents dynamic challenges of many variations. Elevation changes are an amazing example and asset to your fitness. It greatly requires adaptability the brain (cerebellum), lungs, heart, and and cardiovascular system. Mental Acuity, the 1st Foundation of Health. 


     Running is a physical and mental skill with varying levels based on experience and current state of health. Whether you are looking to add more running into your existing fitness program or you are a complete novice with no athletic background, your past running experience will greatly determine details within your new program.  Any well-rounded fitness program consists of a healthy balance of endurance, strength and flexibility, therefore enhancing the Brain-Body Connection, the 2nd Foundation of Health. 


     When creating your running program, aim for 2-3 days of distance running, 1-2 days of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and 1-2 days of strength & flexibility training. Depending on how light or intense you want to tailor your program, you may opt to begin with 4 days per week and work up to 6-7 days of total activity to support your target activity. Distance runs can be measured with either time or distance, and 30-45 minutes (3-5 miles) of activity is a good starting point with a goal of adding 15-30 minutes (1-3 miles) to each run every 2-4 weeks. 


     High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be performed in 4 minutes, sprinting at 100% capacity for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds. Intervals can also be used with moderate intensity by running for 1 mile and walking for 2 minutes, then repeating for as long as you’d like with a goal of 3+ rounds. Adding variable locations, intensities and elevations for different sets of challenges and scenery during your movement meditation will greatly boost your cardiovascular endurance, and as your endurance increases, the distance and difficulty of your runs can also increase to keep challenging you into deeper and deeper states of fitness. 


     Functional Nutrition plays a vital role in overall health because what we eat absolutely creates our physical body. Optimal Nutrition is the 3rd Foundation of Health. Use nutrition to enhance your running program by adding the fuel you need to propel you toward your health goals. Adding more clean proteins, such as nuts and beans, high quality fats like coconut milk and avocado, and complex carbohydrates like colorful root vegetables and fruits, will undoubtedly restore your glycogen stores, fuel your workouts, and replenish the nutrients essential for cellular function. Carb load after intense runs to replace glycogen stores within the muscles and liver, eat more of your fats in the beginning of the day for increased satiation and more of your proteins in the evening to take advantage of your parasympathetic state of cellular repair during sleep. 


     Anytime a new activity is begun strength must be built to create stability of the joints to prevent injury, and therefore, is a vital part of a well-rounded fitness program. Strength training targeting pelvic, core and deep chain muscle activation from the beginning is necessary to maintain stability by supporting the biomechanical integrity of the joints during static activities and locomotion. As an added bonus, strength training is known to increase bone density making your structural frame stronger and reinforced in case you take a tumble while out running. Simultaneously, active lengthening, which is mild to moderate contraction of the muscles you are stretching, of tight musculature while you are warm will increase joint range of motion, thus directly increasing mobility. A 15-30 minute active lengthening session after each run and strength building training session will allow you to gain significantly enhanced mobility. Full Range of Movement is the 4th Foundation of Health. 


     Running, especially on trails, is an ultimately strenuous cardiovascular activity sure to increase your heart rate for enhanced blood flow, improve lymphatic circulation while your muscles pump, aid digestion as you rotate through the core, improve breathing for greater oxygen intake and also get you sweating allowing the skin to eliminate more cellular waste through your pores. These happen to also be powerful ways to expel toxins from within your body and are all generated by this one activity.  Removal of toxins and waste products from the body efficiently is the 5th Foundation of Health. To take the guesswork out of your new running or weight-loss program, schedule a Functional Movement Evaluation or Functional Nutrition Consultation with us and we can guide you with a targeted program based on how you move and utilize energy to enhance your specific training and personal development based on the Five Foundations of Health. We love helping people reach their health goals and improving lives. 


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Feel like you have some weaknesses that need attention from a team of professionals? The Archetype Health team has been helping the Alabama community build healthier functional health for over 10 years. We would love to help you become the fitest version of you.


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