Spruce up Your Runs!

Post By Lily Gil, Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, Nourish Northwest

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This past year I had the opportunity to coach a group of about fifteen 3rd – 5th grade girls through a program called Girls on the Run. I worked alongside two other coaches to prepare these girls to run a 5k race (3.1 miles), in addition to teaching a curriculum centered around healthy living, positive body image, and empowerment. We met twice a week over the course of two months, and every lesson involved a running activity, as well as a lesson on the major food groups, gossip, what makes a good friend, etc. It’s a wonderful program, and many girls return the next year, but for the newcomers, running 3.1 miles seems like an impossible task.

 

Most kids these days still spend a good couple hours every day exercising. Be it chasing each other around on the playground, speeding across the monkey bars, or jumping across hopscotch squares, they probably end up running more than I do on an average day. However, running around tagging people for the duration of lunchtime can be VERY different from running around a track for an equal amount of time. The Girls on the Run curriculum is amazing and provides coaches with a number of ways to make the 20 minute running workout as fun as possible.

 

It got me thinking about my own running routine, and those days when I look down at my watch after what seems like 10 minutes of running only to find its barely been 4. So Here are some tips to make those outdoor (or indoor) runs more exciting!

 

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  • Incorporate intervals: Jog for minute, then speed it up for 30 seconds, and repeat 10 times, for a 15-minute run. (It can certainly be hazardous to run while staring at your watch/phone so download a Tabata app where you can set it to vibrate after 1 minute, then again after 30 seconds to cue you to switch from job to sprint and back. Or, jog for two blocks and then sprint for one, or even jog 15 strides and then sprint 10. Whatever works for you!
  • Add some other exercises: Run to one end of a track and back, or a long street block and back and then do 10 squats. Run there and back again and then do 10 jumping jacks. Repeat with any exercise of your choice! (Jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, squat jumps, side lunges…).
  • Find a new location: I always find that time passes more quickly when I switch it up and find a new trail to run on. Take a left instead of a right, and explore a new neighborhood! Bring your gear to work and run from there!
  • Run with a buddy: This is a classic, but can honestly be the best way to make those 30 minutes speed by

 

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