Are you still sticking with your New Year’s resolution? Whatever the reason, if you are looking to improve your fitness and have considered jogging, the next two issues of the magazine will give you some training methods to help you reach your goals, which may include your first 5km.

They are designed to help you improve your strength, stamina, speed, and recovery time, and they are free. You may think that Gran Alacant is too hilly to run round but with a little bit of imagination you can find some easy routes, and when you are ready, the hills offer some demanding training sessions. My advice to novice runners, stay away from Cardiac hills 1 & 2. They are not for you. Yet! You will know when you are ready to tackle them.

The first method is “Interval Training” (Interval Sessions). Put simply, Interval training is running faster over a short distance at regular intervals during your normal jog/run then jogging at a slow pace to recover, then repeat again. Initially, I would recommend introducing interval sessions into your training once a fortnight, and on a day where you are rested, in other words not the day after a long run or the day before a race.

If you are planning to run the day after an interval session then make sure you slow your pace down, make it an easy run and use it to recover from the previous day

Example of an Interval Session:
The Promenade in Los Arenales is ideal for this type of session. It is relatively flat and it is approximately 1.5miles (2.4km long). Drive there if need be and jog to the very end of Los Arenales to warm up, when you turn round to run back pick a distance to run faster than jogging pace but not sprinting pace. Use the lamp posts as your markers. Choose a lamp post to start your faster run from and run at this pace for a distance of 2 lamp posts, when your reach your second lamp post, slow down, walk if necessary, and keep this pace for another 2 lamp posts and when you reach the second lamp post run fast again for 2 lamp posts, before slowing down for another 2 lamp post recovery.

Repeat this for 3 to 5 intervals, and then jog back to your car for a well earned rest. because understandably you will feel tired. See top tips at the end of this article about doing some warm down exercises, especially stretch out your calf muscles and your quads.

Next time you go out for your Interval sessions try and either do more intervals, run faster, or try 3 lamp posts interval/recovery, or, try and do all three. After 3 to 4 sessions you may want to attempt these once a week as by now you will be getting stronger, faster, fitter and surprisingly, your recovery time (ie the time it takes you to recover to attempt the next set of exercises) will improve.

Always warm up with some stretching exercises before you start jogging.
Interval Sessions may sound tough, but if you can get a friend to join you, then you can work together. If one of you usually runs at a faster pace, then the faster runner can start each hard run a few seconds later and you can use the chase to motivate each other.

At first you may feel that you cannot jog the recovery – that is no problem, simply walk. Always do the sessions to your own ability, not anyone else’s, and as you become fitter gently build up the number of repetitions.

Most importantly, enjoy!

Remember, if you only ever run the same distance at the same pace, you will find you can only ever run the same distance at the same pace, so varying the type of training is important for your improvement.

Don’t forget to stretch out with some warm down exercises after each run.

If you are new to exercise you may need to seek medical advice on the best exercise for you.
Do What You Can!