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8-Week Training Plan to Start Running
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The hardest part of starting a running regimen as part of regular cardiovascular exercise is simply getting started. It's getting past the stitches in your side, the heavy breathing, and, let's face it, the idea that it seems like sheer torture. However, having a plan, which includes being signed off from your doctor and investing in the right type of running shoe for comfort and injury prevention, can get you out of the starting gate and on track.During weeks one through three, you're building your endurance base, so don't worry at all about your pace. Keep it slow, get the miles in, and let your body adjust to the workload. This is where you get the basics down, including working on proper running form and breathing technique. You should actually be able talk and run at the same time; if you're huffing and puffing, it's time to slow it down until you become accustomed to the pace.
On week one, start with a pattern of six minutes of walking and one minute of jogging, repeated three times. Week two switches it up to three sessions of five minutes of walking and two minutes jogging (repeated three times). This is followed by week three where you repeat a pattern (three times) of walking for three minutes and jogging for four. Many experts suggest that running too fast, too early can actually hinder your progress, and leave you more prone to soreness or injury. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. During the first three weeks, you'll want to run three sessions over the course of each week as a comfortable starting point.Now that you have established pattern and pace, it's time to up your running game during weeks four through six. For the transition, week four slightly increases the degree of difficulty. Walk for two minutes and jog for five minutes, repeating this pattern four times over three sessions. During weeks five and six, continue walking two minutes each time, but now jog for eight minutes and nine minutes, respectively. Repeat this process three times over the course of three days, each week.
By now, you should be getting into a comfortable rhythm while, at the same time, incrementally increasing the total amount of running. That's the key for not hitting what's referred to as a plateau. That's when your body is essentially saying, "Yeah, whatever, I got this" and then doesn't continue to build additional reserves.Ready for weeks seven and eight? You can do this. You are ready to make running a regular part of your daily fitness. Week seven has your walking down to just one minute and increases jogging to 11 minutes. Repeat this pattern three times and do this three days over the week.
Now, it's time for week eight, where the routine involves walking for five minutes as a warm-up and then again as a cool down at the end. In between, it's all about running for 20 minutes. By the end of the week, see if you can go up to 30 minutes without stopping. You may be surprised to find that it seems quite easy to do.Whether it's week one or all the way to eight, don't forget to bring water along for each workout to stay hydrated. Before you know it, your schedule of running three times a week for 30 minutes each will turn you into the runner you never thought you could be.
I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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