If you have a few 5Ks and 10Ks under your belt, you're probably thinking about running your first half marathon. Doubling your racing distance means building endurance by increasing your weekly mileage. Don't be daunted by this! Try this 16-week training schedule that adds miles safely. There are cross-training, strength-training and stretching, and rest days built into the program to help prevent injury. Plus, the long runs are on Saturdays when you have time to go the distance, giving you Sundays to recover.
Click here to print an image-free version of the training program.
For some, running is a fun pastime; for others, it's a tiresome necessity. But no matter where you fall on the running spectrum, if you're striving to become better, then here are seven things you can do to become a better runner.
- Keep it consistent: If you stop running for a while, then you'll have to build your conditioning back up. So if you want to take your workout to the next level, then make sure you're staying consistent. Sign up for a race and start a training program (like this 5K training schedule) to track your progress; you'll be able to see how much your hard work has paid off.
- Learn proper form: It may seem like the simplest way to work out, but running does take skill to make sure you don't leave your body prone to injury. When running, keep your head stacked over your spine, relax the shoulders, and engage your abs. Find out how the rest of your body should be with our running-form checklist.
- Dress the part: There's no need to invest in anything fancy, but be sure to spend wisely. The perfect pair of shoes can be the difference between feeling sluggish and being light on your feet, and it can also help prevent injuries. Whether you need a full-support shoe or want in on the minimalist shoe trend, watch our video for tips on how to pick a running shoe.
- Fuel right: Running on an empty stomach can keep you from having the right amount of energy, but eating too much can lead to cramping. Look for a small snack containing carbs and protein for sustained energy. Timing is everything, however; if you're rushing out the door and haven't eaten anything, then go for something with 15 grams of easily digestible carbs (like a slice of white bread). Read more about the best foods to eat before a workout (and when to eat them) here.
- Drink water: Drinking enough water is another way to ensure you'll have a good run. If you don't drink enough water before your run (as well as during), then chances are you'll have to stop before you'd like to because of fatigue or a cramp. Make sure you drink an ounce of water for every 10 pounds of body weight about an hour or two before your workout, and watch for these signs of dehydration during your run.
- Have a plan: It's not all about consistency; you should also keep your body challenged. Running outside instead of just on the treadmill, for example, builds your muscle to help increase speed and endurance, as does incorporating high-intensity intervals. And techniques like negative splits will help improve your overall mile time as well. Plan on doing these types of runs for the majority of your workouts if you're trying to increase your mileage or time, but be sure to incorporate easy runs into your weekly plan as well.
- Do more than run: Don't limit yourself to improving your pace just while you're on the road. There are many things you can do when you aren't running that can help you, like stretching after every run, strength training regularly, and getting enough sleep. Find out more about what you can do to be a better runner (without running) here.
Most of us mean to be healthy, but it's one thing to want it and another to enact it. That's where willpower comes in. Sometimes, it takes something in our brains to switch on for us to really start living healthily. For those times when going to work out is easier said then done, here are a few tips to trick and motivate yourself into increasing your exercising willpower!
Even if you follow a fitness routine and you often choose healthier foods, you may not be seeing the weight come off the way you hope. While there are plenty of other healthy accomplishments to celebrate on this journey, it can be frustrating to not see results when you step on the scale. Sound familiar? Chances are, one of these reasons is all that's standing in the way of your weight-loss goals.
— Additional reporting by Jenny Sugar, Michele Foley, and Leta Shy
Circuit training is one of my favorite ways to get my sweat on. You torch calories by getting your heart rate up while building muscle with strength training — a win-win workout. My Equinox trainer, Lauren, likes 'em too. Recently she put me through the paces of the following circuit workout, and I just had to share the fun. Get ready to sweat!
There are three circuits of four exercises each. Do 15 reps of each exercise, and keep rolling through the four exercises for 10 minutes. Between each circuit, rest (stretch and hydrate) for one to two minutes. To warm up, run on a treadmill for five minutes. This workout uses 12 kg. kettlebells and a variety of dumbbell weights. As always, work with a weight that is appropriate for your strength level.
||Body weight move
|Squat thrust deadlift
||12 kg. kettlebells
||Place hands on kettlebells to jump back into plank; come to standing lifting kettlebells.
|Single-arm kettlebell swings
|12 kg. kettlebell
||Really pop your hips to get that kettlebell up!
|Plank with reverse row
|10-15 pound dumbbells
Keep reading! There are two more circuits after the break.
If your workout wardrobe is looking a bit stale, now's the time to splurge. Fall's ushered in deep-toned options that look great paired with your basics. From ruby reds to amethyst purples, check out our favorite on-trend, jewel-toned workout gear for Fall!
We've always been curious about how the Victoria's Secret Angels prep for their annual runway show. Lucky for us, one of our editors was invited to work out with model Candice Swanepoel and the Angel's trainer, Justin Gelband. The secret to rocking undies on the runway? Lots of glute work with ankle weights. Learn the moves when you watch the video.
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Why not celebrate Valentine's Day with a little bit of yogic love? Physically stretching the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and belly can create a deep emotional release, helping you to appreciate and honor yourself and your loved ones. These poses also bring a feeling of lightness and contentment, so try these 13 heart-opening stretches to make you feel positively blissful.