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Cold winter runs: our tips for training and running in the dark

Don’t let the cold or dark keep you from what you enjoy! A pre-dawn jog or foggy evening run can be safe and enjoyable with the right clothing and equipment.

Running for weight loss: 4 essential tips

Running is a simple yet effective exercise option for burning calories, blasting fat and improving fitness. Follow our tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your running routine.

Strength training for runners: a guide to getting started

By combining running and strength training, you can achieve faster times and better stamina. We explain why you need to spend at least one workout a week improving your muscular strength.

Cold winter runs: our tips for training and running in the dark

Runners run—that’s what makes a runner a runner. There’s that little voice inside you that whispers, even when you’re tired: Keep going. As a leading retailer for running gear, INTERSPORT understands this. We know your drive and will to perform don’t stop just because the mercury drops or the sun goes down. Cold and dark both present special challenges to runners. However, the right attire ensures that running remains a safe and enjoyable activity, even when outside conditions are less than optimal.


Keep your core warm

Dressing for the cold can involve a bit of a balancing act. The trick? Dress warmly enough to maintain comfort, but don’t overdo it. After all, runners generate their own heat! We recommend running tights and a warm jacket that will allow for movement and won’t add bulk. For winter runs, look for clothing made from functional fibres that are water repellent or waterproof. Cuffs on the sleeves and hem also keep the wind out and your body heat in.

Cover extremities

What about exposed areas like ears, neck and hands? We know you feel the cold here, long after your core warms up. We suggest covering up with items that will maintain a dry feel, even as you sweat. INTERSPORT offers a variety of hats, neckbands and gloves, all designed especially for runners that wick away moisture and sweat. The right socks are also key. A pair of wool-blend running socks do a lot to keep feet warm without sacrificing comfort.


Be safe

Daily obligations often require runners to get in their distance before dawn or after dark. However, if you run in the dark, it’s important to increase your visibility to motorists. We suggest wearing a piece of bright clothing made of reflective material. In addition, wear a headlamp so you can also see as well as be seen.


Be secure

A running rucksack is a great way to keep keys, ID, or even a phone safe and secure. An added bonus: You can easily carry anything else you need for your run. If a pulsating soundtrack is your motivation, just use one earbud or have the volume low so you are always aware of your surroundings.

In other words, there’s no need to hang up your running shoes just because winter is here or the sun has gone down. With a few adjustments, you can run safely and comfortably in the cold and dark.

Running for weight loss: 4 essential tips

Workout trends come and go, but running remains among the best exercises to burn calories and lose weight. Here’s how you can make running part of your lifestyle – and achieve your weight loss results.

Tip #1: Make running a regular habit
Running for weight loss only is effective if you do it often – about 4 days per week is best. The first step, though, is to make running a regular part of your life. Decide on the right time of day (morning, afternoon, evening) and block out the time in your calendar, just as you would for any other appointment.


Tip #2: Start slow
Especially if you are new to running, the key is to start slow, both in terms of speed and duration. Even just 20 minutes a day at first, with a combination of walking and running, can be helpful for beginners. After 1-2 weeks, build up to 30 minutes of continuous running at a medium pace. Once that feels comfortable, you’re ready to move on to the next level.

Tip #3: Not all running is equal
A common mistake is running for the same duration at the same intensity, week after week. Your body adjusts to this level of activity, and you won’t lose weight. Running to lose weight is most effective when you run at a higher intensity. Try sprint interval training, for example 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 3 minutes of active rest (i.e. moderate jogging). Repeat this 5-6 times. By running faster, you build more muscle and will keep burning calories even after your run is complete.

Tip #4: The secret is in the mix
To lose weight (and keep it off), the secret is to combine different types of running plus strength training. Your weekly plan should include a combination of long runs of at least 45 minutes to build endurance, sprint-interval workouts for ultimate fat-blasting, and strength training. Aim for two 15- to 20-minute strength training sessions per week.

The Bottom Line…
Running for weight loss requires some strategising and a well-rounded approach to be most effective. But if you stick with it and eat balanced meals, drink plenty of unsweetened fluids and get quality rest, you will look and feel better than ever.

Strength training for runners: a guide to getting started

If you love running, you may be tempted to get out on the road (or the treadmill) more to improve your strength and stamina. However, one of the most effective ways to increase your athletic performance is actually weight training. A regular gym session as part of your weekly fitness schedule can make you stronger, faster and possibly help to avoid injuries.

What’s the best strength training regime?
Weight exercises that target your core, lower back, glutes and leg muscles will improve your performance, and we recommend a balanced routine to maintain overall fitness. A gym workout can replace one of your runs or be a bonus to your weekly running plan.

The correct approach to strength training for runners
When working with weights or resistance training, you may be tempted to keep breaks between sets fairly short, say 30 seconds or a minute, to maintain the elevated heart rate and feeling of working hard you get when running.
However, unlike running, which uses energy aerobically, strength training’s energy relies on ATP-PC (adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine). This energy system concentrates on high intensity, powerful exercises and only lasts between 10 and 15 seconds. What’s more, ATP-PC levels need at least two to three minutes to reach optimum levels again so take your time between sets to recover.

High reps or high weights?
You’re already building muscle endurance when you’re running, so you will not see much improvement with low weight/high rep resistance training. Instead, aim for 6 to 10 repetitions at a weight that you can safely handle but feels heavy. By working out with heavier weights, you will maximise your strength gains – but don’t worry about “bulking up”, this just won’t happen.

Don’t forget your recovery days
You may be tempted to schedule a strength day on one of your non-running days. However, we recommend that you combine training on one day – a submaximal run in the morning coupled with strength training later in the day. This gives a good balance to your hard and soft workout days and allows your body to recover.


Enjoy the run!
With your increased strength, you’ll be able to achieve faster times and greater endurance on your runs. So don’t forget the gym session as part of your complete running workout routine.

A quick guide to running outdoors vs. on the treadmill

When running outdoors is not an option, is it worth running on the treadmill instead? Here’s what you need to know.

4 of the craziest ultra marathons

Ultra marathons are the ultimate test of endurance – physically and mentally. Whether you think they’re inspiring or just plain crazy, discover what some runners around the world are signing up for.

Meal prep basics for runners: 3 steps to success

Even if you follow the best training plan, it won’t be effective if you don’t fuel your body correctly. Discover the best food for runners and create the foundation for achieving your best performance.

A quick guide to running outdoors vs. on the treadmill

Many runners agree: you can’t beat that invigorating feeling of running outside in the fresh air. But sometimes, the weather or other factors make running outdoors impossible – even for the most devoted athletes. On the other hand, there are those who love the dependability of the treadmill. Whether it’s a necessity or if you’ve always been a fan, the good news is that a treadmill workout can be useful and effective, especially if you keep a few key things in mind.


The benefits of outdoor running
Running outside has a slight edge over a treadmill workout. The arguments for outdoor running are hard to beat:

  • It is psychologically uplifting. Spending time outside has a proven mood-boosting effect (which is also very motivating).
  • It stimulates a variety of muscles and is more challenging. You can run both uphill and downhill. Running on varied terrain builds more muscle and develops balance and coordination.
  • It burns more calories due to wind resistance (at least compared to running on treadmills without an incline. More on this below.)


Treadmills have advantages, too
While outdoor running has a lot to offer, there are also reasons to opt for a treadmill workout. Treadmill running is beneficial because:

  • The weather can’t stop you.
  • You can choose from different programs and track your progress.
  • There is less impact on your joints.


How to get a great treadmill workout
When using the treadmill, here’s how to ensure you get a quality workout:

  • Set the incline to at least 1%. This helps to mimic the conditions outdoors so you can burn more calories.
  • Think about speed. Whether running inside or outside, effectiveness comes down to a simple fact: the harder you work, the more calories you burn.
  • Make treadmills your speed-training tool. Think of treadmills as a convenient way to focus on speed training intervals. Experiment with the preset options or try out different speeds and inclines. Above all, challenge yourself.

Running has so many health benefits, the main thing is to have a running training plan that motivates you. Cultivating both exercise habits – treadmill and outdoor running – will give you the ultimate in flexibility, variety, and long-term fitness benefits.

4 of the craziest ultra marathons

Running a marathon is an epic athletic achievement by most people’s standards, requiring incredible discipline. And yet, there is a kind of extreme marathon that is even more gruelling: the ultra marathon, defined as any organised footrace greater than the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42km). Going even beyond the challenges in some popular obstacle course races, like the Tough Mudder, ultra marathon participants must cope with things like extreme temperatures, unforgiving terrain and mind-boggling elevation changes – for days.


Marathon des Sables
This ultra marathon or “expedition race” takes place in the Sahara Desert. Participants must complete 156 miles/254 km in 6 days. Consisting of various stages, each of which can be up to 86.2 km in one day, participants must carry their own supplies except water. They do this in temperatures of up to 120 degrees, with sandstorms and humidity to contend with as well. About 1,000 people participate each year.


Hardrock 100 Endurance Run
Calling itself “a test of runners against the mountains”, this ultra marathon held in southern Colorado consists of 100.5 miles on a loop course at high altitude over highly rugged terrain. The elevation change overall is 66,100 feet (over 20 km). Among the challenges participants deal with are altitude sickness, sub-zero temperatures and rapidly changing weather. The maximum time allowed for completion is 48 hours.


This 153-mile/250 km annual race from Athens to Sparta requires running for 36 hours. Here, speed is everything. Along the race there are 75 checkpoints. If you don’t meet certain time criteria, you’re disqualified.


The Barkley Marathon
Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe this trail race. Held in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee, participants cover 100 miles on a 20-mile (32 km) unmarked loop. The loop must be run 5 times at up to 12 hours per loop in a total of 60 hours. Except for water available at two points, there is no assistance. As if all this was not brutal enough, it also involves ascending and descending an elevation of 120,000 feet (which is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest – twice). There are also a few quirky twists: runners must find about 10 books along the way and tear out the page number corresponding to their race number to prove completion. Out of about 800 people, only 15 have completed this race.

Meal prep basics for runners: 3 steps to success

Luckily, finding the ideal runner’s diet does not have to be complicated. All it takes is an understanding of some basic principles, which you can then adapt according to your personal requirements. Follow these steps to make meal prep easy.

Step 1. Focus on whole foods
Eating whole foods means foods that do not contain any added sugar, salt and/or preservatives. Think vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and lean meats. The best whole foods for runners have a high nutrient density and include eggs, bananas, blueberries, walnuts, salmon, avocados, spinach, and oats, to name just a few. Foods like these should be the building blocks of all your meals and snacks.

Step 2. Balance your food groups
Your body needs the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats for optimal performance. Carbohydrates provide energy, proteins help build and repair muscle, while healthy fats help your body work better overall (assisting in the absorption of vitamins, for example). So how much of each do you need? This varies according to the intensity of your training. In general, the more intense your training is, the higher your carbohydrate intake should be. This is especially true in a marathon training diet, for example. Spread your protein intake throughout the day to stay satiated.

Step 3. Plan ahead
Once you understand these basics, you can create meals you enjoy. Stock your fridge accordingly and experiment. By planning ahead, you can avoid mindlessly grabbing an energy bar whenever hunger strikes. Meal prep does not have to be elaborate, however. Some excellent quick staples in a runner’s diet include smoothies, whole-grain muffins (which you can store in the freezer and take out as needed), or low-fat yogurt topped with fruit. Cook up something versatile like brown rice or quinoa. Store it in the fridge to add into leafy-green salads or eat it with a side of baked chicken breast for lunch or dinner over a few days.
A nutrient-rich runner’s diet will ensure your body always has the energy it needs. Of course, don’t forget to hydrate. And finally, listen to your body’s cues and be flexible. If you feel good overall, you’re on the right track. If something is off, continue to calibrate until you find what works for you.

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