Ready, Set, Run: 31-Day March Running Challenge
By RACHEL GRICE
Lace up your shoes, runners! It's time for a little running challenge. Well, actually, not so little, as you'll be running at least eight miles each week for the month of March. While the challenge is meant for intermediate/advanced runners, beginners can get in on the challenge, too, by mixing up running and walking and following the given mileage for each day.
Here's your challenge, should you choose to accept it:
Sunday: Just run! Mix it up and have fun this day. Do something you wouldn't normally do. Play soccer or basketball--or even tag! As long as you're moving faster than walking, it counts.
Monday: Run one mile for time. Use each Monday to check in on your progress. This run isn't about sprinting the whole way; it's about learning to balance pacing yourself with pushing yourself. Keep a record of your four mile times this month and see if you've improved. It's only a month, so don't expect to shave minutes off your time, but even a few seconds is something to celebrate.
Tuesday: Run one mile of intervals . There are plenty of options for running intervals. Head for the hills, hop on a treadmill and change up speed or incline or use a track and stopwatch to alternate between running and walking. Beginners should skew towards more walking time (run one minute, walk four or run 30 seconds, walk two). More advanced runners can alternate between jogging and running (or running and sprinting). Just make sure you allow enough time to recover in between your sprints.
Wednesday: Run three miles. This one is pretty straightforward. Push yourself to go the distance today.
Thursday: Run one mile of intervals. Same objective as Tuesday, but try to switch up your interval workouts throughout the month. It'll help you from getting bored and ensure that you complete the challenge!
Friday: Run a one-mile easy run. Don't worry about time or terrain. Fit in one mile and really enjoy the run. Oftentimes, we get distracted by our stopwatch or the mile markers or what we have to do after the run. Relax and ease into this run.
Saturday: Choose your own adventure. Listen to your body (and your schedule) and run either one, three or five miles. If you're a new runner, stick to the one-mile option. As the weeks progress, you can switch to three if you're feeling up to it. And you don't have to run the same mileage every Saturday. Choose a three-mile beach run, a one-mile run through the hills or a fairly flat five-mile route. Again, get creative and have fun with it.
As with any fitness challenge, listen to your body, and don't try to go all out every day for 31 days straight. If you incorporate sprinting intervals on Tuesday, take an easy run on Wednesday. If you choose to run five miles on Saturday, make your Sunday "run" more of a social one than a training one.
It's important to push yourself towards improvement, but it's even more important to take care of yourself. In fact, not allowing your body time ample time to recover between intense workouts can hurt your progress, cause injury or lead to overtraining. The point is to get out there and have fun! Hopefully this challenge provides some motivation to run at least a little bit each day.
Readers – Are you going to take part in the March Running Challenge? Where do you like to run? What are some of your favorite runs or races you've ever completed? Share your running-related stories in the comments below so the rest of the Livestrong community can get inspired to run!
Rachel Grice is an editor for Livestrong.com and certified yoga instructor who loves running on the beach, watching USC Trojan football and drinking red wine. Previously, she worked for Men’s Health, FitPregnancy and People. Read more about her running adventures at thesoleofarunner.com.