I was never one for exercise in the past. Until about three years ago, exercise for me was running for a bus. And until about a month ago, I would have said the same thing. There are plenty of fitness experts out there who get massive highs from running, but this piece is for people who, like me, want to start running, without it taking over their lives. When I’ve been out of shape for most of the year and the the Women’s Mini Marathon is approaching, this is the best way for me to get fit fast, particularly as someone who doesn’t exactly get a runner’s high.
So, while my method of fitness for half the year, is not recommended, I have found the best way to bring up my fitness levels fast is with high-intensity interval training. I start with longer rest periods than sprint periods, so I brisk walk for 90 seconds and sprint for 60 seconds. Every time I go out for a run (about three times a week) I gradually shift the balance in favour of running for longer periods and walking for shorter ones. It gets my heart rate up fast and keeps me going for longer. HIIT has been proven to increase your rate of oxygen consumption, which is why your fitness levels and endurance can increase much faster than consistent medium intensity training.
HIIT is one of the best ways to start running if you’re a bit wary of your fitness levels. You can manage short bursts of running and HIIT is just made up of several short bursts of running, making it more manageable. I also find buying new fitness gear very encouraging and Pennys have a great fitness range at the moment, cheap as chips and really nice.
I run three times a week for about 20-30 minutes in the run up to the Mini Marathon, and my good intentions would have me going for a run at least once a week afterwards, so I don’t slip back into old habits. My plan is to run the 10K in under an hour, so I’ll be making my runs longer and harder for the next two weeks.
This year I’m running the Mini Marathon for Pieta House. Claire and I did the Darkness into Light walk a few weeks ago for Pieta, and it’s a cause that is very close to our hearts – this is why. If anyone would like to make a small donation, my Mini Marathon page is here.