Tips & Tricks from Vincent B. (Beginner’s program)

The Brussels 20km, The Uccle 10km, the Semi Marathon, the Ladies Run, and so on. All kinds of running events take place in Brussels each year. And they are attracting more and more participants. Some of you would like to participate for the first time. But you don’t know where to start preparing?

Based on my triathlon experience and background as a Personal Trainer, I want to share with you five tips on how to start running without injuries and to enjoy running in the city:

  1. Buy adapted running shoes: Before starting, make sure you have running shoes that have been adapted in order to avoid injuries to your knees, ankles, or back. I see too many people running with old shoes or un-adapted material. Risk of injuries or back problems increases week by week without adapted shoes. Therefore, I advise you to go to a specialized store (Joggingplus, Trakks, etc.). They will analyze the way you walk and run, and advise you about the best choice of shoes for you.  In the supermarkets, you find only neutral shoes, which most of the time are not adapted to your running type (pronation or supplination).
  2. Structure your training – set up a training plan: Running any kind of distance requires discipline and structure. Therefore, you need to set up an achievable and reasonable training plan (see attached sample training plan). There is no need to train every day. Respecting rest periods and alternating training types (endurance, interval, speed or long distance) will make you more successful.
  3. Prepare physically: Functional training, stabilization exercises (Power Ball, BOSU, etc.) and core workouts are key success factors for you future running competitions. You can add a specific session during the week or finish  a running session with core and stabilization exercises. Underestimating this part can create injuries and imbalances over the long term.
  4. Run outside: In order to get used to real conditions, I advise you to run outside – in the city, in parks – in order to alternate ways and types of training (flat, interval, hills etc.). Brussels offers all types of terrains and is not as flat as it seems. Brussels also offers great opportunities to run in the rain or when it’s cold outside. If the weather conditions get too difficult, you can use treadmills at WorldClass to train cadence and intervals. Avoid long distances on treadmills.
  5. Respect yourself and you limits: Even if you run with your friends or challenge colleagues, it is clear that running with other people increases motivation. However, I advise you to always respect your own rhythm, go at you own pace, and monitor your heartbeat rate. Monitor your performance using Apps (RunKeeper, SmartRunner, Polar etc.). Going over limits will increase the risk of injuries and create demotivation.

Based on my own experience in long-distance running and triathlon events, I have developed a clear and easy 4-week program that will help you achieve 10 km in less than 60 minutes.

How to read the program:

4 session / week

X’ * X’ = X minutes run * X minutes walk

Endurance = 75% maximum heartbeat rate

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Mon Rest Rest Rest Rest
Tue 5′ walk + 10*(1’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 5′ walk + 10*(5’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 5′ walk + 20′ endurance 8km/h + 5′ walk 5′ walk + 40′ endurance 8km/h + 5′ walk
Wed 5′ walk + 10*(2’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 5′ walk + 10*(6’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 20′ endurance + 6*1′ 12.5km/h + 15′ endurance 20′ endurance + 6*1′ 12.5km/h + 15′ endurance
Thu Rest Rest Rest Rest
Fri Rest Rest Rest Rest
Sat 5′ walk + 10*(3’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 5′ walk + 2*(15’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 20′ endurance + 3*4′ 11km/h + 15′ endurance 20′ endurance + 4*4′ 11km/h + 15′ endurance
Sun 5′ walk + 10*(3’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 5′ walk + 2*(15’*1′) + 5′ walk + core 5′ walk + 40′ endurance 7-9km/h + 5′ walk 20′ endurance + 4*4′ 11km/h + 15′ endurance

Good luck and enjoy running!

Vincent Buekenhout is a certified Personal Trainer and Spinning Instructor at WorldClass. Don’t hesitate to contact him if you want more information about running and endurance programs. Vincent has successfully completed in two Ironman events (Nice 2009 and 2010) and is currently preparing for the Luxembourg Triathlon planned in June 2014.