Running Challenge



In this guide:

Start your first challenge today!

Your circle will thank you. 


How to Start Running Again?

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Running is a simple and effective way to improve cardiovascular fitness and overall health, and it can be done by people of all ages and abilities for leisure, as a form of transportation, or as a competitive sport.


Running can be done on a variety of surfaces, including roads, trails, tracks, and treadmills, and it can be done alone or with a group. Many people also run as a way to stay in shape or to compete in races or other running events.


Starting a running challenge is a great way to involve someone else who might like to build a running habit with you.

What Does Running do for Your Body?

There are many health benefits that you can gain from starting a new running challenge, including:

Improved cardiovascular health

Running can help to strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation. It can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Increased endurance

Regular running can help to improve endurance and stamina, allowing you to perform physical tasks for longer periods of time without getting tired.

Weight management

Running can help to burn calories and aid in weight loss. It can also help to increase muscle mass, which can help to boost metabolism.

Stronger bones

Running can help to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in the legs and spine.

Increased lifespan

Studies have shown that regular runners tend to live longer than non-runners, suggesting that running may have a protective effect against premature mortality.

Improved coordination

The act of running requires coordination and balance, which can help to improve these skills over time.

Stress relief & mental health

Running can help to reduce stress and improve mood by releasing endorphins, which are chemicals that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Running has been shown to improve mental health by reducing the risk of depression and anxiety and improving sleep quality.

Basics of Running

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When starting a new running challenge, it’s important to keep some key elements in mind to reduce your risk of injury and optimize your performance. 


There are several key actions that are involved in running, including:


Stride: This refers to the distance covered with each step while running. It is important to maintain a consistent and efficient stride to reduce the risk of injury and improve speed.

Arm swing: The movement of the arms while running helps to balance the body and maintain momentum. It is important to keep the arms relaxed and not too tense, and to swing them naturally in opposition to the legs.


Foot strike: This refers to the way in which the foot hits the ground while running. A proper foot strike should be gentle and land on the ball of the foot or the midfoot, rather than the heel.


Cadence: This is the number of steps taken per minute while running. A higher cadence can help to improve efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.


Posture: Good posture is important while running to help maintain balance and reduce the risk of injury. This includes keeping the head up, the shoulders relaxed, and the core engaged.

Diversify Your Running Challenge

Whether you’re running outdoors or using a treadmill, there are several different types of running that you can explore to keep your running challenge more interesting, including:

Distance running

Distance running involves covering long distances, typically measured in miles. It can include races such as marathons and half-marathons, as well as training runs for these events.


Sprinting involves short bursts of high-intensity running at maximum speed. It is often used in track and field events, such as the 100m and 200m races.

Hill running

Hill running involves running uphill or on hilly terrain, which can help to build strength and improve endurance.

Interval running

Interval running involves alternating between short bursts of high-intensity running and periods of rest or low-intensity running or walking. It is often used to improve speed and endurance.

Trail running

Trail running involves running on natural trails, such as those found in parks or forests. It can be more challenging than road running due to the uneven terrain and obstacles such as roots and rocks.


Jogging is a type of running that involves a slower pace than traditional running, and is often used as a form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise.

How to Start a Running Challenge


Set a goal

Having a specific goal in mind, such as running a certain distance or time, can help to motivate you to stick with your running habit.


Start slowly

If you are new to running, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time. This can help to reduce the risk of injury and make it easier to stick with the habit.


Choose a convenient time

Make sure to choose a time of day that is convenient for you to run, and try to stick to the same time each day to make the habit stick.


Track your progress

Keeping track of your runs, either through a running app or a simple log, can help you see how far you have come and motivate you to continue.


Find a route you enjoy

Choose a running route that you enjoy, whether it is through a scenic park or along a busy city street. This can help to make your runs more enjoyable and make it easier to stick with your habit.


Don't be too hard on yourself

It is okay to have off days or to miss a run. Don’t be too hard on yourself and try to get back on track as soon as possible.

Overcoming Setbacks to Running

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If you’re just starting out, you might encounter some setbacks which hold you back from reaching your goal. Here are a few strategies that may help you overcome common setbacks in your running challenge:


Set specific, achievable goals: Rather than setting a vague goal like “I want to run more,” try setting a specific goal, such as “I will run 3 times a week for 20 minutes.” 


This will give you something concrete to work towards and help you track your progress.

Find a running partner: Invite a friend to join your running challenge! This can help keep you motivated and accountable, and can also make your runs more enjoyable.


Use a running app: There are many apps that can help you track your runs and progress (like Map My Run), and some even offer training plans and social features (within the MasterHealth app) to help keep you motivated.


Reward yourself: After you’ve completed a run or reached a specific goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy, like a new piece of running gear or a healthy snack.


Be consistent: Try to run at the same time each day, as this can help you form a routine that you stick to, even when life gets in the way.


Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to create a running habit and can’t seem to overcome setbacks, consider seeking the help of a professional, such as a coach or therapist, who can help you develop strategies to overcome your challenges.

Common Questions About Running

Running can be beneficial for overall health, but it can also put stress on the knees, particularly if done excessively or with poor form. It is important to listen to your body and to be mindful of any pain or discomfort in the knees while running.


It is also a good idea to start with shorter runs and gradually increase the distance over time to help build up strength and reduce the risk of injury. If you have any existing knee conditions, it is important to consult with a doctor before starting a running routine.

Recovering after a running session is an important part of any running routine. Here are a few tips to help you recover after a running session:


Cool down: After running, it’s important to cool down by walking or jogging for a few minutes to help bring your heart rate and breathing back to normal.


Stretch: Stretching can help to prevent injury and improve flexibility. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat each stretch 2-3 times.


Hydrate: Drink water or a sports drink to rehydrate and replenish lost fluids.


Rest: Allow your body time to rest and recover. This can include getting enough sleep, rest days, and active recovery.


Nutrition: Eat a balanced meal including carbohydrates and protein to replenish the energy store and repair muscle tissue.


Massage or foam roll: It can help to reduce muscle soreness and improve circulation.


Ice bath: Soaking in an ice bath can help to reduce inflammation and soreness in the muscles.


Consider taking anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by your doctor if you have any injuries and remember that recovery time is essential for the body and mind. Listen to your body, and if you are feeling sore or tired, take it easy and rest.

Here are some of the best exercises to complement a running routine:


Strength training: Incorporating strength training exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts can help to build and maintain muscle strength, which can improve running performance and reduce the risk of injury.


Core exercises: Exercises such as planks, bird dogs, and Russian twists can help to strengthen the core muscles, which are important for maintaining good running posture and form.


Plyometrics: Exercises such as jump squats, box jumps, and bounding can help to improve running speed, power and explosiveness.


Yoga: Yoga can help to improve flexibility, balance, and core strength, which can all contribute to better running form and performance.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) : This type of cardio training will help to improve your cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness.


Cross-training: Cross-training activities such as swimming, cycling, or rowing can provide a great alternative to running, and can help to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.


It’s important to keep in mind that not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and it’s always best to consult with a doctor or a trainer before starting any new exercise routine.

Here are some tips to help prevent cramps while running:


Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after running to avoid dehydration, which can cause cramps. Take small sips and avoid chugging water, as this can upset your stomach.


Warm up properly: Do a proper warm-up routine before starting your run, including stretching and light exercises, to prevent muscle cramps.


Maintain a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet with adequate amounts of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium can help prevent cramps.


Gradually increase intensity: Avoid increasing your running intensity too quickly, which can put added stress on your muscles and lead to cramping.


Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body’s signals, and if you feel a cramp coming on, stop and stretch the affected muscle.


Consider electrolyte replacement: If you sweat excessively, consider replenishing electrolytes through sports drinks or electrolyte tablets.

Eating the right foods before your run can help provide the energy and nutrients your body needs to perform at its best.


Here are some good options for pre-run snacks:

  1. Bananas: They are high in carbohydrates and easy to digest, making them a popular choice for runners.
  2. Oatmeal: A bowl of oatmeal with some fruit and a drizzle of honey is a great option, as it provides slow-digesting carbohydrates for sustained energy.
  3. Energy bars: Energy bars can be a convenient option for those on the go, but be sure to choose one that is lower in sugar and high in protein.
  4. Toast with peanut butter: Whole grain tor gluten-free toast with a thin layer of peanut butter is a quick and easy snack that provides carbohydrates and protein.


It’s best to experiment with different options and see what works best for you, and to eat a light meal or snack about 30 minutes to an hour before running.

Ways to Support Your Running Habit

A running coach or personal trainer: They can provide you with customized training plans, guidance, and motivation.


Online running communities or forums: These can connect you with other runners who can provide support and encouragement. Join the MasterHealth community today and connect with others starting a running challenge!


Running clubs or groups: Many cities have running clubs or groups that offer organized runs and training programs. Joining one of these groups can provide a sense of community and accountability.


Apps and websites: Some fitness apps or websites offer training plans and tracking tools that can help you stay on track and monitor your progress.


Running journal: If you prefer a more low-tech approach, consider starting a running journal to track your runs and document your progress. You can also try setting up a rewards system for yourself to celebrate your achievements.


Community support: Don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends and family. They can be a great source of encouragement and motivation.

Start your first running challenge today!

Your group will thank you. 

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When you scan this QR code, you’ll be redirected to the correct app store on your Apple or Android phone. MasterHealth is a free download.