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Why Running Together is More Beneficial than Running Alone

Why Running Together is More Beneficial than Running Alone

Whether you’ve just got your first running shoes or are a seasoned road pounder, having running partners can do wonders for your running. And while the romanticism of the loneliness of the long distance runner might sound endearing, in time you’ll no doubt find a desire to have some company out there on the road.

But what exactly is a running community…and why should we all want to be part of one?

The Running Community

A loose term that could mean anytime you don’t run alone. It’s about finding a relationship with others, even over the course of one run, that benefits your motivation, goals, and desires for running.

Learning what works for you will also inform what kind of community approach will suit you. Here are some examples to get you started.

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Types of Running Clubs

Highly structured and regular running clubs sit at one end of the spectrum, as well as, the more traditional local athletics clubs, running together has been brought to the masses by organised running groups sponsored by Nike, Lululemon and others (Search for Nike+ or Lululemon Run Clubs for more info).

This way of running allows it to be the glue in an otherwise potentially diverse social group, and often they make space for runners of all experiences. At the other end of the spectrum are innovative online ways of connecting, such as the online communities built around technologies like MapMyRun and GPS watches and other running technology. These allow you to run remotely with others, creating a community across the world to remotely ‘run’ with.

But these are structured and organised approaches. A more informal attitude could be suggesting to a friend to go for a run on a whim, or running over the hill outside your kitchen window with your dog at your heels.

Equally, I know friends who have run marathons, who have been supported through a playlist we made for them as a way to offer encouragement along the route. Finding your way to be supported by running friends and non-running friends alike is a smart way to widen your running support.

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Black and white image of a single runner in the distance stretching his quads and standing on one leg
    Solitude and space are other reasons to go out for a run, but company helps progress like nothing else.

    Why Community Matters

    As with any activity, there are a number of reasons not to go ahead and stubbornly pursue it alone. Motivation is a big one; having someone by your side to push you on, offer advice and give perspective is huge.

    Part of this can even be giving you permission to not run so far or so hard, as they are able to see that, today, maybe a short jog and a long relax on the sofa is most beneficial.

    Making a commitment to run with someone can also act as a huge boost. It can lead us out onto the road on a day we might otherwise have preferred to stay in. Running pals motivate us to go out or keep going, and this support is crucial in making running into what you wish it to be for you. Being able to stick to and believe in steady, gradual progress is another reason to run together.

    I find pacing much harder when I’m on my own. Too often, I am tempted to run like the wind, only to tie myself up with cramp before I’ve hit half the distance I wanted to achieve. Running together helps you to monitor pace, cadence and breathing because there are people around you to refer to. Also, if you run regularly with the same people, you can all support and advise one another on how you are all progressing, and spot when you’re going too hard or slacking off!

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    And this peer advice is the last perk of running together.

    We are all wiser than we might think, and learning that we can offer this advice to others – and then learn from them – helps ground us in our running. It’s often said that we don’t know a subject truly until we’ve learned to teach it. Sharing our knowledge with our running partners, and receiving theirs, in turn, helps create a communal pool of knowledge that benefits everyone.

    Two runners in the distance jog around a field that has recently been ploughed
      A friend gets you out running whatever the season.

      How to Build your Community

      Whichever group suits you, I would encourage you all to start to run with others. Different communities will suit us at different times of your life and types of person, so don’t be disheartened if finding the right way takes a while. Just keep on running as you search!

      One thing we can all do to encourage the running community at large: smile at each other!

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      One of my absolute pet hates is running past another runner, smiling, and receiving nothing but their glare in return. Folks, however fast, far or well we are running, a little smile and generosity offered to someone else who is out there with you goes a long way to building a strong community.

      So next time you run, smile at all your running partners…it makes a huge difference.

      More by this author

      Tom Pritchard

      Copywriter, Proofreader and Storyteller

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      Last Updated on February 18, 2019

      8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

      8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

      When people think of cardio, usually a boring treadmill, elliptical machine, or other mundane activity comes to mind. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

      When you’re short on time or easily distracted, there are a variety of fat-burning cardio alternatives that will increase your body’s metabolism, boost weight loss, and keep you interested.

      Here’s a list of different types of cardio workouts:

      • Steady State (Burns less fat, but isn’t as demanding on the body)
      • Interval Training (Burns more fat)
      • HIIT
      • Spinning
      • Stairs
      • Weight Training (Supersets) short rest periods
      • Weight Training (Compound Sets) short rest periods
      • Machine Circuit Training

      And I’m going to talk about each of them in detail:

      1. Steady State

      Steady state cardio involves working at a low to moderate intensity — around 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, for a sustained period of time. This type of cardio doesn’t burn a huge number of calories, but it does burn a high percentage of fat tissue for fuel, and it isn’t too draining.

      An example of steady state cardio would be a long outdoor walk at a moderate pace. Interval training, on the other hand, is much more intense.

      2. Interval Training

      Similar to HIIT but with exercises that are slightly longer in duration, interval training alternates levels of intensity. For example, if you enjoy running, you would run or sprint for 30 seconds, then bring down your heart rate and walk for two minutes.

      Pick two intensities per interval, usually one at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and the other at 60 percent, and alternate between them. I find that 85% for 30 seconds and 60% for one minute, not only burns more calories but increases my energy level as well.

      Another example would be jumping rope. Jump rope for two minutes, rest for one minute. Begin again, this time jumping rope for one minute and resting for one minute. On the third and final round, jump rope for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. Repeat five sets of this routine.

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      3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

      Have a busy schedule? Fifteen minutes a few times a week is all you need. HIIT is an extremely popular workout because it can be done quickly, burn calories in a short amount of time, and can even be done in your home or during a lunch break at work. And the best part – You don’t need any equipment.

      With the use of your body weight, HIIT is typically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of active rest which means your heart rate remains elevated for the entire 15-minute workout.

      Check out this HIIT routine by Fitness Blender: 15 Minute HIIT Workout

      4. Spinning

      Spinning is a great way to get your heart up and keep it up in a 45-minute spin class. Our thighs and back are our largest muscles so they work the hardest.

      To get the most out of spinning, try to stay out of the saddle throughout an entire spin class. That way, you are forced to hold up your body weight which burns more calories and increases intensity.

      It’s also great for stabilizing and building strong core muscles, versus cycling outdoors, where most of the time you are sitting in the saddle and going for distance (steady-state cardio).

      5. Stairs

      One of my favorite places to get out of the gym for cardio and trim fat from my thighs and butt is the Santa Monica Stairs, near California’s most popular beach. Climbing 170 steps a few times builds the glutes, leans the thighs, strengthens the calves, and builds endurance.

      So, if the gym is not your scene and you love the outdoors, climbing stairs is a great alternative. Find a place with multiple steps, do six or seven rounds, and you’ve easily burned around 600 calories.

      6. Supersets

      A superset is two exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings, or different body parts such as the lower and upper body with little to no recovery between sets.

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      The superset may include two to five sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of each exercise or more.[1]

      So, if you love to workout with weight-training but aren’t really feeling cardio, supersets with no more than 30-second rest periods between exercises will keep your heart rate up. Not only will you build muscle, you will burn fat!

      For example, say you are doing a leg workout, five sets of exercises with high reps and low weight is all it takes to turn your weight-training into a cardio workout.

      Here’s one of my leg training workouts:

      i. Dumbbell Step-Ups on a secure bench or box (4×15, each leg)

      ii. Front Squat (4×15)

      iii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet (4×15)

      iv. Leg Extension (4×15)

      v. Leg Curl (4×15)

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        Photo Credit: Shape Magazine

        vi. Front Squat


          Photo Credit: Stack

          vii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet Squat

          viii. Leg Extension

          ix. Leg Curl

            Photo Credit: T Nation

            7. Compound Sets

            Compound exercises are exercises that recruit muscles in the entire body, such as pull-ups, squats, bench press, etc. However, a compound set simply means to “compound” the number of different exercises into a series of sets with little or no recovery between, similar to supersets.

              This may be accomplished by performing four to five exercises for the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups or total body exercises performed in succession such as full body extensions, followed by squat/cleans and complete the compound set of compound exercises with lunges with biceps curls.

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              Compound sets put stress on the body and are great for expending additional calories while strength-training.

              8. Machine Weight Training Circuit

              Like compound exercises, a machine circuit workout targets the entire body, upper body, lower body, or core. The difference is, with the use of machines instead of free weights, muscle strength is increased by by making your muscles work against weight.[2] By limiting rest periods between exercises to 30 seconds, your metabolism will go into over-drive!

              Machines also give you better control over the exercises, which decreases risk of injury.

              Here’s a machine circuit training example: Muscle and Strength Machine Workout

              The Bottom Line

              The above-mentioned workouts should be completed within 30 minutes, unless you’re taking a class which is typically 45 to 60 minutes, giving you time to get on with the rest of your day.

              By keeping your rest periods to a minimum between exercises, your heart rate will stay elevated and you will burn more calories, get lean, and have more energy.

              Don’t be a gym rat, spending unnecessary time doing lengthy workouts that give you minimum results. For efficient weight loss, perform these workouts three times a week and watch the fat melt away while achieving your fitness goals.

              More Resources About Weight Loss

              Featured photo credit: Spencer Dahl via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Mountain Life Fitness: Super sets, compound sets and giant sets
              [2] Better Health Channel: Resistance training – health benefits

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