All right Challengers — it’s time for a brand new month and a brand new challenge! As you may or may not have noticed from my Instagram, I have not been running much these days. And in fact, I’ve been feeling a little stagnant with my yoga/spin/weights routine and I’m really missing the satisfaction you get from running! It seems like the perfect time to pop in a running challenge as our free 30-day fitness challenge this month!
Now, I know not everybody is a fan of running, but I challenge you to give this one a shot. Whether you’re an active walker and feel like running a full mile is quite literally more than a mile away, or you are a seasoned runner looking to put a pep in your step, the 30-Day Running Challenge is here to help you run your first or fastest mile yet!
What is the 30-Day Free Running Challenge?
It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I originally created this program as a 30-Day Free Fitness Challenge in August of 2014. I love the plan so much, we used it as the core of our Basic Run Program at Gals Who Run. Essentially, it’s a progressive series of workouts that has you seamlessly transition from walking for 9 minutes straight to running 9 minutes straight over the course of 28 days. It’s AMAZING the results we get out of this format! People have taken minutes off their pace and set PRs. It’s so fun!
How to do the 30-Day Free Running Challenge
It’s fairly straightforward. On day one (in this case, January 31st), you will start by testing your current mile pace. That will give you your benchmark for the challenge. Then about 4 days a week for the next 28 days, you will perform a 30-40 minute workout with alternating intensities. You will gradually increase the intensity from walking to jogging. If you’re already a runner, you will start with easy jogging and alternate with harder/faster running for the defined interval times. Throughout the challenge, you will have longer intervals of higher intensity work and shorter periods of recovery. On day 30 (in this case March 1st), you will perform the same mile pace test. You will be amazed at the time you take off!
You will have other workouts thought-out the challenge:
- Interval Days: On these days, you will walk or run the designated interval time. For example on day 1, you will walk or jog for 9 minutes and then push yourself to jog or run harder for 1 minute. You will repeat the interval 2-3 times. As the challenge progresses, your walk/jog minutes decrease as you increase the amount of time you push yourself to jog or run harder. On these days, be sure to warm up for 5 easy minutes; complete the interval and then cool down for 5 easy minutes. Then end with good stretches for runners.
- Challenger’s Choice Days: Two days a week you get to play coach based on what your body needs. You can rest, stretch, cross-train or lift weights. The choice is your’s based on your schedule and what your body needs:
- Cross Training: This will keep your muscles moving and help with recovery, without any unnecessary high impact mileage. It will also help build your endurance. Good examples of cardio cross-training would be biking, swimming, elliptical or rowing machines.
- Strength Training: Lifting weights leads to stronger quadriceps, which creates stronger knees, decreasing your chance of injury. Try to dedicate at least one day a week to weight training.
- Stretching: Adding a yoga class to your schedule can also be important to improve your flexibility, also decreasing your chance of injury. Try to get in a full yoga class once per week in addition to your post run stretching.
- Optional Rest: If you’re not feeling any of the above, then take a rest day.
- Mandatory Rest Day: No matter how good you are feeing, it is essential that you take at least one full day per week to completely recover. Rest is just as essential as running when it comes to a good training plan (trust me, I learned the hard way).
- Mile Test Days: On January 31st and March 1st, you will warm up for 10 minutes with easy movement, complete your mile for time, and then recover with 10 minutes of easy movement.
Getting started on the 30-Day Free Running Challenge
- Like the Teresa Marie Wellness on FaceBook now and join the private coaching group for daily reminders and accountability.
- Get access to all the trackers by joining the community here*. If you have already signed up, then at the end of every month, you automatically receive a newsletter with all the links to the trackers. If it’s MIA, check your spam, especially if you have Gmail.
- Read the rest of this post for the details on how the challenge works, why it’s awesome and some form and safety tips.
- Mark your personal calendar, because your challenge starts Tuesday, January 31st!
*When you sign up for free access to the official tracker, you will also get my entire Clean & Colorful Jumpstart Guide and regular tips and strategies to living a cleaner and more colorful lifestyle. *Note: If you are currently subscribed to my newsletter and you get my weekly Clean & Colorful Conversation newsletters, you DO NOT need to register again for the tracker. It will be sent in the monthly newsletter on Thursday the 26th.
Why sign up for the 30-Day Free Running Challenge?
There is no better feeling than setting a goal, working towards it and achieving or exceeding your expectations. And running is just one of those happy sports that requires very little equipment and just about anybody can do it. It does not matter if you have run hundreds of miles or zero, all of us can improve in this area. This 30-Day free running challenge includes a series of progressive runs where you push your intensity throughout the month and you gradually increase speed and endurance. After 30 days, you should be able to run a complete mile without stopping or knock one out faster than ever before.
The 30-Day Free Running Challenge Fine Print:
- Always use proper running form and alignment to maximize results and prevent injury, be sure to review this 10-point checklist of good running form and be sure to sign up with Gals Who Run to get your 10 Tips to Injury Free Running.
- Be smart and mindful of your current level of fitness. You must respect the balance between pushing yourself for improvement but not so far that you hurt yourself.
- Follow the schedule in order to the best of your ability. The running, rest, and cross training days are all essential parts of the process to allow for strength and recovery at the same time and not have you run yourself into the ground.
- Use your tracker to record the pace of your intervals to measure your strength and speed gains as you improve. Some days you may feel strong, push yourself on those days. Other days you may not, don’t beat yourself up over it.
- Use a treadmill or pacing device to measure your speed and distance. It’s ok to mix up terrain on certain days and incorporate hills for an additional challenge, but it’s best to test your mile pace on the same flat ground. I love the Run Keeper app, and you can program in your intervals for her to coach you when to run/walk!
- Depending on your current level of fitness, this can be a hard challenge. Be smart, listen to your body and take a rest day when needed. As long as you’re progressively increasing your intensity with good form, you’ll get stronger and faster.
- Always speak with your doctor before you start any new exercise regimen.
Are you in? What are you goals? Get ready to CRUSH them!