Warm up, cool down
A gentle 5- to 10-minute warm up before a run loosens you up and gets the heart pumping. It also gets your breathing going and sends blood to the muscles where it’s needed. A loose rule of thumb: The further your run, the longer your warm-up should be. Cooling down is just as beneficial. If you stop dead immediately after an 8km run, there’s a chance blood will pool in your legs and you’ll feel faint. Finish the distance, slow down to a walk, then come to a rest gradually.
Keep it slow and steady
You’ll reap better benefits if you go slowly and steady in terms of adding mileage to your distance covered. Adding 10% each week to your run is a good rule of thumb. Remember that your body has to adapt to what you are putting it through. The same principle applies in the gym.
Leave some in the tank
Eight out of every 10 runs you do should be run at around a minute or so slower than your goal race time. If you’re breathing heavily, you’re going too fast. Your lungs and heart will adapt a lot quicker than your muscles, tendons and bones, as you up the length of your runs. Regular running at an easy pace gives your musculoskeletal system a chance to consolidate and catch up with any cardiovascular improvements you are making.