January 24, 2011

Run Your Way to Better Health

For some folks, the new year is enough to get them out on their feet, ready to break old habits and take on the challenge of a new workout regimen, register for a race, or begin a healthy eating plan.  For others, the dark and dismal months of January and February are about the antithesis of motivation - start running?  NOW?!?!?!

Yes.  That's exactly what bene-fit is trying to tell you this week.

Despite our instincts, winter can actually be a great time to develop a running routine.  There are loads of races to prepare for in the spring and summer (check Active.com for a 5K, 10K, or even marathon near you!) and running (unlike long-distance cycling or ocean swimming) is an activity that can be practiced indoors almost as efficiently as outdoors.

Don't believe us?  This week, bene-fit wants to get you off and running with workouts that can be done on a treadmill or outside for variety, fitness, and of course - fun!  Check out our top three picks below:

Only have 15 minutes to squeeze in your cardio?  Abide the rules of high-intensity interval training  (HIIT) and get your heart pumping as quickly - and as effectively - as possible.  Jog easy for 3 minutes, then increase your speed to a run and hold it for 2 minutes.  Walk for 30 seconds to recover, then repeat the first 3/2 sequence.  Complete your final run at 3 minutes, then cool down with 1 minute of walking.

Trying to increase your running pace?  Warm up with 30 seconds jogging and 30 seconds walking for the first 6 minutes of your workout.  Then, increase your jog speed slightly for 30 seconds, returning to the walk for 30 seconds after each burst of speed.  Continue increasing the 30-seconds "jogs" until they become "runs" and finally "sprints" (about 10-20 minutes, depending on your speed an ability), making sure to walk for 30 seconds after each jog/run/sprint.  Cool down for 3 minutes slow jogging, and the final two minutes walking.

From a 1-minute walk, increase your speed to a slow jog and hold it for 3 minutes.  Raise the incline (or reach your first outdoor hill) and jog for 1 minute, then raise it again (or find a steeper hill) for 2 minutes.  Take it down to flat for 1 minute, then repeat the 1/2/1 hill sequence four more times.  Jog on the flat for 5 final minutes, then walk for 2 minutes to cool down.

Think these workouts can get you off and running?  bene-fit believes it!  And we offer more customized, run-specific workouts through our endurance event training plans (from 5K to marathon; also available in triathlon distances), available NOW at our website.

Forget the winter cold - warm up with a good run and find your bene-fit this year.

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